ANCHORAGE, Alaska — Red Dog Mine is breaking ground on a new deposit, which could guarantee jobs and money for nearby villages.
The new deposit is called Aqqaluk, and without it there is really no future for the mine.
There are two main deposits of zinc ore at Red Dog Mine; the current one has provided enough material to keep workers busy for the past 20 years, but it's running out.
"We don't have very much left to mine. Without moving into the Aqqaluk deposit, we were looking at a shutdown in October of this year," said Rosie Barr with NANA Regional Corp., which owns the land the mine is on.
Aqqaluk is an untouched section of earth just yards away, and it could guarantee enough ore for another 20 years.
Mine operator Teck Cominco is now moving equipment in to break ground immediately.
"It's huge. The mood in the NANA region right now is of elation. There's a lot of people just walking around saying, ‘Have you heard? Red Dog's going to stay open for another 20 years.' It's very positive; it's a very joyous time for people in our region," Barr said.