Understanding the Toxics Release Inventory Report
Red Dog Operations ranks at the top of the U.S. EPA’s TRI report due to the quantity of rock and tailings we move, not because of pollution
Red Dog Operations moves ten million tons of rock each year — safely. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) requires Red Dog Operations to record the total weight of naturally occurring but potentially toxic minerals contained within the rock it moves.
- Moving mineralized rock from one place to another — regardless of whether the rock is processed as ore through the mill or removed as overburden from on top of the ore and transported to a designated and permitted stockpile — must be reported to EPA as a "release to the land."
- Naturally occurring minerals in the rock that must be reported include those that we recover – zinc, lead and silver. As the largest zinc mine in the world, Red Dog moves rock containing more zinc than any other operation in the United States.
- More than 99.95 percent of the total weight reported by Red Dog (517 million pounds reported in 2008 - most recent reporting year) is the waste rock and tailings that are safely managed each year at the mine in accordance with State and Federal permits.
As a consequence, Red Dog Operations ranks at the top of the Toxics Release Inventory (TRI) report because of the quantity of rock and tailings we move on our mine site on an annual basis.
The information published by the EPA is often incorrectly categorized in the media as pollution. This is simply not the case.
Our “releases” are safe and legally authorized for air, water and land disposal. Permits are issued by the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation, the Alaska Department of Natural Resources and the U.S. EPA.
"The large releases reported annually by metal mines in Alaska, including the releases reported for 2006, are due to the reporting of minerals that are listed as TRI chemicals – primarily zinc and lead – remaining in waste rock. This waste rock is disposed of in on-site impoundments. The more rock a mine processes, the more zinc and lead-containing waste rock is released. Teck Cominco’s Red Dog Mine, the world’s largest zinc mine, is no exception.”
— Brook Madrone, U.S. EPA Region 10 TRI Coordinator