ANCHORAGE -

A Canada-based company that operates a mine near Kivalina has agreed to terms laid out in 2008, settling a lawsuit over its plans for wastewater disposal.

The Red Dog Mine says it’s cheaper to pay an $8 million fine stipulated in the suit, filed by five Kivalina residents, over its planned discharges into Red Dog Creek.

Millie Hawley, the tribal president in Kivalina, says it’s important to protect local waterways from any environmental effects of the mine’s discharges.

“The Mulik River, it's been our source for fish and drinking water, and I'm still concerned about the discharge coming from the Red Dog mine,” Hawley said.

Mine spokesperson Wayne Hall says the alternative would involve building a pipeline above or below ground from the mine, some 52 miles to the Chukchi Sea. The above-ground option would cost an estimated $261 million.

“We originally looked at a below-ground pipeline and determined that it wasn't feasible because of ground movement, primarily due to permafrost conditions, the normal freeze, thaw-off cycle, which could cause rupturing of the line,” Hall said.

Hall says extensive monitoring of the creek is continuing, and thus far the Environmental Protection Agency and the state Department of Environmental Conservation do not object to the mine’s current handling of the situation.