We live an Iñupiaq way of life in the NANA region, meaning we rely heavily on subsistence resources like caribou, fish and the bounty of the sea for our diet. As an Iñupiaq corporation, we understand this reliance and dependence on the land. Both NANA and our partners at Teck recognize we have a fundamental responsibility to protect the region’s natural resources for generations to come. Both NANA and Teck work together to protect subsistence at the mine. With a 54 percent shareholder hire rate, Teck's NANA shareholder employees are on the forefront of protecting our subsistence resources. But, other mechanisms are also in place to ensure the effective monitoring and testing of the foods that make our people strong.
An independent Subsistence Committee of residents from Noatak and Kivalina meets regularly with NANA and mine representatives to review all subsistence-related issues. The committee was established prior to the start of Red Dog Mine operations in 1989. This committee plays an important role in guiding subsistence protection activities at the mine.
One of the committee’s first tasks was to select a route for the 52 mile road from the mine site to the port that considered the caribou migration, fish spawning areas and waterfowl nesting sites.
The committee also directs a regional caribou-monitoring program. During migration,the committee is empowered to request closure of the haul road to reduce potential risks to the herd. Shipping schedules are carefully planned to minimize possible effects on traditional whale and seal hunts. Discussions are held annually between mine representatives and whaling crews, and schedules are agreed to that meet the needs of all parties.
Investing in Protection
Since 2000, Red Dog Mine has invested $111 million to improve and enhance the environmental performance of the mine. This included launching an aggressive program to reduce fugitive emissions of ore concentrate dust along the haul road from the mine to the port site. Approximately $4.3 million was spent to study the biological impact of ore concentrate dust and $3.8 million was spent on steel covered, self-dumping trailers to more safely transport the concentrate.
Red Dog Mine voluntarily initiated the DeLong Mountain Regional Transportation System (DMTS) Fugitive Dust Risk Assessment with the oversight of the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC). The six-year study evaluated the potential for risk to human and environmental health from exposure to metals in fugitive dust in areas surrounding the DMTS road, DMTS port and the mine and determined that subsistence foods surrounding the mine are safe to eat without restriction.