Most of the zinc concentrate for Teck Trail comes from Red Dog Mine in Alaska.
So it’s good news that Red Dog has increased zinc production and the company’s nearby exploration in Aktigiruq revealed a large and promising zinc deposit.
“It is also very positive news for Trail operations,” says Community Relations Leader Catherine Adair. “As Trail and Red Dog are closely integrated as part of Teck’s broader zinc business.”
The majority of the Trail plant’s concentrates come from the Red Dog Mine, which comprises approximately one third of Red Dog’s annual output, Adair added.
“Integration between mine and smelter provides a secure long term source of feed for Trail operations and provides a secure long term customer for Red Dog,” she told the Trail Times.
“Teck Trail Operations is one of the best supplied smelting/refining complexes in the world with this integrated supply from Teck’s Red Dog mine.”
Red Dog’s zinc production for 2017 is expected to be in the range of 525,000 to 550,000 tonnes, up from the most recent guidance range of 475,000 to 500,000 tonnes of zinc, according to Teck Resources’ news release.
The company stated, “The increase in production is due to changes in mine sequencing and improved metallurgical recoveries, enabling higher grade mill feed with a greater percentage of ore from the Qanaiyaq pit in the second half of the year.”
For a number of years, Teck’s regional exploration has focused on a significant high-grade zinc deposit, known as Aktigiruq.
Located 12 kilometres northwest of Red Dog Operations on a Teck-owned state claim, the Aktigiruq is identified as one of the top undeveloped zinc deposits in the world.
“The potential quantity and grade of the Aktigiruq exploration target is conceptual in nature,” Teck Resources stated. “There has been insufficient exploration to define a mineral resource and it is uncertain if further exploration will result in the target being delineated as a mineral resource.”
Teck continues to explore the Aktigiruq deposit with a 2017 helicopter supported drill program to test internal continuity and lateral extents of the deposit.
The $16 million 2017 program includes approximately 18,000 metres in 16 to 20 drill holes and is well underway with 10 holes and 9,862 metres drilled to the end of August 2017. No analytical results for the 2017 program have been received to date, but visual estimates are consistent with the model’s expectations and results of this program will be released once all assay results are returned.
“We are pleased with the significant improvements in recovery at our Red Dog Operations in the last few months and consequently production will now exceed previous guidance for the year by approximately 50,000 tonnes,” said Don Lindsay, President and CEO in a September report.
“As well, our exploration results at our nearby Aktigiruq deposit show its potential to be one of the best undeveloped zinc deposits in the world.”
According to Teck’s 2016 annual report, Trail operations attained annual production records for refined zinc and lead.
“We are one of the world’s largest producers of mined zinc, primarily from our Red Dog Operations in Alaska, as a co-product from the Antamina copper mine in northern Peru, and from our Pend Oreille mine in Washington state,” the company stated.
“Our metallurgical complex in Trail, B.C. is one of the world’s largest integrated zinc and lead smelting and refining operations. In total, we produced 661,600 tonnes of zinc in concentrate, while our Trail Operations produced a record 311,600 tonnes of refined zinc in 2016.”
In 2016, Teck’s zinc business unit accounted for 34 per cent of revenue and 26 per cent of gross profit before depreciation and amortization.