ANCHORAGE - A trial scheduled Monday in a lawsuit filed by Kivalina residents over pollution violations at the Red Dog Mine has been canceled.
The lawsuit was filed four years ago by six Kivalina residents who say the mine should have to pay tens of millions of dollars for violating the federal Clean Water Act.
Red Dog, the world's largest zinc mine, is 66 miles from the village.
Plaintiffs claimed that Teck Cominco Alaska Inc., the operator of the mine, discharged illegal amounts of pollution into the Wulik River - the same river they use for drinking water and subsistence fishing. The mine discharges treated wastewater from the mine into Red Dog Creek, which then flows into the Wulik.
At issue were total dissolved solids. The solids are produced by lime, which the mine uses to treat wastewater.
Plaintiff's attorney Luke Cole said Thursday he could not comment on the terms of the agreement because of a confidentiality agreement. He was planning on being in Kivalina on Friday to talk to about the proposed settlement with his clients.
U.S. District Court Judge John Sedwick, who was to preside over Monday's trail before it was removed from the court docket, had previously ruled that Teck Cominco is liable for some violations. Plaintiffs accused the mine of violating its federal water pollution discharge permit more than 2,400 times in the past decade.
Last year, Sedwick found that the company violated its discharge permit 618 times by putting too much wastewater into the creek.
NANA has said the permit issued by the Environmental Protection Agency is impossible to comply with.
The mine is a partnership between NANA Regional Corp. and Teck Cominco Alaska. It produces more than 1 million tons of zinc and lead concentrates annually using conventional open-pit mining, milling and flotation technologies.
Juneau Empire ©2013. All Rights Reserved.