(Based on findings from the Red Dog Mine in Alaska)
A study done by the National Park Service in Alaska illustrates the dangers of the Kennecott South Haul Road. The Red Dog Mine in Alaska has a 51 mile haul road, and heavy metal pollution from Fugitive Dust flying off mining trucks has severely polluted the frozen tundra over a mile away from the road. Despite damning evidence of the pollution, nothing has been done, and plans for a second mine are currently being approved.
Below are maps from the NPS study, indicating the extent of pollution at the Red Dog Mine, as well as a projected pollution map for the proposed south road. In Alaska they were dealing with Lead and Zinc, and the problem of sulfuric acid drainage was non-existent because of very little precipitation and permafrost; in the U.P. we will be looking at Uranium dust, Sulfuric Acid, Zinc, Nickel, etc.
“Anchorage, Alaska – Today, Alaska Community Action on Toxics released newly discovered information concerning high levels of lead and zinc contamination at the Red Dog Mine port site. A monitoring program conducted at the Red Dog mine’s port site in the mid-1990s found lead levels in soils as high as 36,000 parts per million (“ppm”) and zinc levels as high as 180,000 ppm, far in excess of state cleanup standards of 1,000 ppm for lead and 8,100 ppm for zinc. Although the monitoring program was conducted at the request of the Alaska Industrial Development and Export Authority (AIDEA), this information was never released to the public.”
Projected Pollution if the U.P. were covered by permafrost. In actuality, the corridor of pollution would likely be much larger because the U.P. is covered with flowing water.
“The Red Dog Mine Haul Road traverses 24 miles of National Park Service (NPS) lands in Cape Krusenstern National Monument (CAKR), Alaska. Ore trucks use the road to transport 1.1 million dry tons of lead-zinc concentrate annually from the mine to a port site on the Chukchi Sea. In the summer of 2000, moss and soil samples were collected from six transects perpendicular to the haul road in CAKR. Laboratory analyses were performed on the moss Hylocomium splendens, soil parent material, road dust, and substrate from materials sites. Analysis revealed a strong road-related gradient in heavy metal deposition. H. splendens was highly enriched in lead (Pb > 400 mg/kg), zinc (Zn > 1800 mg/kg), and cadmium (Cd > 12 mg/kg) near the haul road. Concentrations decreased rapidly with distance from the road, but remained elevated at transect endpoints 1000 m – 1600 m from the road (Pb >30 mg/kg, Zn >165 mg/kg, Cd >0.6 mg/kg). Samples collected on the downwind (north) side of the road had generally higher concentrations of heavy metals than those collected on the upwind (south) side.”