LONDON, July 29 -- Teck Resources Ltd. (TCK) Wednesday said it began mining its controversial Aqqaluk zinc deposit in Alaska in mid-May and expects it will eventually be granted an environmental permit for the mine.
However, Teck cautioned that Aqqaluk's mining timeline and costs could be affected by a pending environmental appeal and future ones.
Teck is hoping Aqqaluk will reach full capacity by 2011 as mining at its neighboring Red Dog deposit, one of the world's biggest zinc mines, winds down.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency gave Teck approval to mine Aqqaluk in January, but had to stay some provisions after environmental and tribal groups in Alaska appealed.
Teck Wednesday said in its second quarter results that the Aqqaluk mine is discharging water in accordance with limits in the EPA's environmental impact statement.
The miner said it is in talks with the Alaskan government and EPA to have the EPA reinstate the discharge limitations allowed by the permit under appeal.
"We believe that the regulatory process has been appropriate and robust and that a permit with appropriate effluent limitations will ultimately be issued," the company said in a statement.
Red Dog produced 137,900 metric tons of zinc and 31,300 tons of lead in the second quarter.
Teck's zinc operations produced 167,000 tons of zinc in concentrate in the second quarter, down 3.5%. It also produced 71,000 tons of refined zinc, up 18% on the year as its Trail operations ran at full capacity.