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ABSTRACT: Red Dog Mineral Deposit, Northwest Alaska: Discovery, Delineation, and Implication for Other Mineral Resources Regionally

Thomas C. Mowatt, J. Dygas, C. Gibson

The Red Dog mineral deposit is located about 90 mi north of Kotzebue, AK. Mineralization consists of fine-grained to massive, variously stratiform-lens-vein-breccia filling sulfides and barite. Ore reserves approximate at least 85 million tons, with grades of 17.1% zinc, 5.0% lead, and 2.5 oz of silver per ton.

Red Dog is one of the largest deposits of zinc ever discovered worldwide. Concentrate shipments are to begin in 1990. Red Dog will then be the largest base metal mine in the world, estimated to contain at least 15 million tons of zinc. There are also indications of additional mineralization of similar character in the vicinity, as well as elsewhere

in the region, hence additional resources may be developed. Geologic terranes similar to the Red Dog environs persist to the north and east, and occurrences of base and precious metal mineralization have been reported at several locations, particularly within the National Petroleum Reserve in Alaska (e.g., Drenchwater, Kivliktort, Story Creek). These, as well as geochemical anomalies across the region, remain to be elucidated in terms of resource potential.

The history of events that led to recognition, delineation, and development affords an important example for similar future endeavors, in context of present and future concerns and policies regarding continuing need for mineral resources to meet the requirements of society.

AAPG Search and Discovery Article #90097©1990 Fifth Circum-Pacific Energy and Mineral Resources Conference, Honolulu, Hawaii, July 29-August 3, 1990