Strong returns from the Red Dog mine are helping NANA Regional Corp. overcome oil and gas industry losses. NANA CEO Wayne Westlake said in an interview that the Northwest Alaska zinc mine is outpacing production forecasts at a time when zinc prices are high.
The open-pit Red Dog mine sits about 90 miles north of Kotzebue, the largest community in the region. NANA, the Alaska Native regional corporation for the area, owns the mine that is operated by Vancouver-based Teck Resources Ltd.
Teck expects production from Red Dog to be between 525,000 and 550,000 metric tonnes this year, according to a September release from the company. Output in that range would be about 10 percent above prior production forecasts.
The uptick in production is the result of changes to mine sequencing and advancements in metallurgical recoveries, Teck states. It also comes at a time when zinc prices are more than double what they were less than two years ago.
Zinc sold on spot markets for between 80 cents and about $1 per pound for several years before dipping to 70 cents per pound in early 2016. Since, the corrosion-resistant metal commonly used in steel coatings has steadily increased in value to its current spot price of about $1.45 per pound.
For an owner of one of the largest zinc mines on Earth, like NANA, the production bump and price spike add up to a big deal.It’s also a positive equation for the other 11 Alaska Native regional corporations and the roughly 200 Native village corporations that share in the mine’s revenues.
For the rest of this article: http://www.alaskajournal.com/2017-10-25/zinc-prices-help-nana-rebound-oil-crash#.WfG5jVtSzIU