Red Devil Mine (map) is an abandoned cinnabar mine and mercury production facility in southwest Alaska that is the subject of a number of major environmental restoration projects.
In 2009 BLM as lead agency, in coordination with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation, began a Remedial Investigation and Feasibility Study (RI/FS) of the Red Devil Mine site. The purpose was to better understand contaminants left by past mining activity and how those contaminants interact with soil, water and sedment to create potential risk to humans and the environment. The RI/FS is being conducted under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liabilities Act, or CERCLA.
BLM has established an Administrative Record (AR) for the RI/FS. The hard copy AR may be viewed at the Anchorage Field Office Public Room, or accessed online.
Red Devil Mine is located on the south bank of the Kuskokwim River, 1.5 miles upstream from the village of Red Devil and 8 miles downstream from Sleetmute. The mine is accessed from the Kuskokwim River or by aircraft via Red Devil airstrip.
The lands encompassing Red Devil Mine are selected for conveyance to The Kuskokwim Corporation (surface estate) and the Calista Corporation (subsurface estate) as part of the Sleetmute Village Townsite selection under the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act.
Mining occurred at the site from 1933 until 1971, yielding approximately 35,000 2.5-quart flasks of mercury. Operating under the 1872 mining laws, mine operators conducted extensive underground and surface mining, and disposed of mine tailings and processing wastes at the site. By the mid 1980s, the mine’s block of unpatented federal mine claims were declared “Abandoned and Void” and the site had fallen into ruin.
BLM began addressing hazardous materials and physical safety hazards at the site in 1987. Initial efforts focused on removing the remaining processing chemicals, PCBs in transformers, and backfilling open mine shafts and adits.
In 2002 the derelict mine buildings and mercury production facilities were demolished and buried in onsite landfills. From 2003 through 2006, BLM cleaned up spilled fuel from the mine’s aboveground storage tanks. With funds provided under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, the petroleum cleanup advanced into final stages during 2009-2010.