IMGP0027Prairie Creek Mine and Airstrip

The Prairie Creek Mine is an advanced-staged zinc-lead-silver property located in the Northwest Territories of Canada. The Mine and related infrastructure are surrounded by the Nahanni National Park Reserve, which was expanded in 2009 to completely surround the site of the Prairie Creek Mine, however at the same time of the Park expansion,  the Government of Canada provided legislative assurance that upon successful permitting, CZN would have the rights to operate and access the Prairie Creek Mine. CZN has signed a Memorandum of Understanding ("MOU") with Parks Canada in July 2008 and a continuation of that MOU in March 2012 and in November 2015 in which both Parks Canada and CZN support a balanced approach to resource development and conservation.

CZN has also signed two Impact Benefit Agreements ("IBA") with two First Nations Bands providing strong local support for the Project's development. In January 2011, CZN signed an IBA with the Nahanni Butte Dene Band, situated approximately 100 kilometres southeast of the Prairie Creek Mine. The Nahanni Butte Dene Band are the traditional stakeholders of the land around the Prairie Creek Mine. Later in 2011, CZN signed an IBA with the Liidlii Kue First Nation of Fort Simpson, NWT, located approximately 250 kilometres east of the Project. CZN also signed a Socio-Economic Agreement with the Government of the Northwest Territories later in 2011. All of these agreements are in place to provide economic benefits and opportunities to the residents of the region and can be further reviewed in the Agreements/ Support page.

Regional Northwest Territories Map

PC Regional Location Dec2012Regional Map Showing Prairie Creek Mine, surrounded by,
but excluded from the Nahanni National Park Reserve


DSC 0288
Prairie Creek Mine Infrastructure

The Prairie Creek Mine has the majority of the required infrastructure in place which includes:

  • 1,000 ton per day Mill
  • 5 kilometres of underground workings and related equipment
  • Heavy duty and light duty surface fleet
  • 3 exploration Diamond Drills and related drilling supplies
  • 1,000 metre Airstrip  
  • 180-kilometres Access Road
  • 50 kilometres of exploration roads
  • Fully equipped Administration & Warehouse buildings
  • 120-man accommodations
  • 6.8 million litre fuel Tank Farm
  • 450,000 cubic metre capacity engineered Water Storage Pond
  • 200-year storm-protective Dyke system along Prairie Creek Mine Site
  • Modern Satellite and Repeater Tower communication equipment 

Drilling Programs

In 2006 and 2007, the Company carried out major drilling and development programs at Prairie Creek including driving a new 600 metre underground decline which enabled a significant underground exploration and infill drilling program to occur. This $18.7 million investment over the two year drilling program confirmed a Measured & Indicated resource classification for a minimum 10 year mine life with the significant possibility of extending the life of the mine.

Surface diamond drilling campaigns were initiated in 2010 and continue through 2013 with the purpose of expanding the known resource and confirming a further 1.5 kilometre extension of the Mineralized Quartz Vein structure along with further property exploration.

In March 2015, Canadian Zinc began an exploration diamond drill program from underground drill stations located at the end of the 930 mL decline. The program was completed on four, 50-metre sections and included approximately 5,500 metres of diamond drill coring in 21 holes. The purpose of this drill program was to test for new areas of mineralization proximal to the existing resources and to convert some of the Infered resources into Indicated resources, which were subsequently incoporated into a new mine plan to support a longer mine life. 

The results of the program were very positive in that all of the holes intersected the Massive Quartz Vein structure and/or the Stockwork mineralization with some very excellent grades and widths. It is apparent that the objectives of testing for new areas of mineralization in proximity to the existing underground workings and increasing the projected life of the mine by converting part of the current Inferred Resource to an Indicated category were met.

In September 2015, CZN announced an upgrade to the Mineral Resources at the Prairie Creek Project. Measured and Indicated Resources increased to 8.70 million tonnes averaging 9.5% Zn, 8.9% Pb and 136 g/t Ag while Inferred Resources remained relatively unchanged at 7.0 million tonnes averaging 11.3% Zn, 7.7% Pb and 166 g/t Ag. These Measured and Indicated Resources were subsequently converted into Proven and Probable Reserves measuring 7.6 million tonnes with an average grade of 8.93% Zn, 8.33% Pb and 127.58 g/t Ag.

Technical Reports

A Technical Report dated March 31, 2016, was prepared by AMC Consultants, with G. Z. Mosher, P.Geo., H. A. Smith, P.Eng., H. Ghaffari, P. Eng., J. Huang, P.Eng., and T. A. Morrisson, P.Eng., as the Qualified Persons, all independent of Canadian Zinc. The March 31, 2016 Technical Report was subsequently amended and revised to correct an error in the life-of-mine economic model and filed with SEDAR on September 30, 2016 .

The September 30, 2016 Techical Report (the "2016 PFS") indicates that the Prairie Creek Property hosts Measured and Indicated Resources of 8.70 million tonnes grading 9.5% Zn, 8.9% Pb, and 136 g/t Ag, which includes a reserve of 7.60 million tonnes averaging 8.93% Zn, 8.33% Pb, and 127.58 g/t Ag. In addition, the Report confirms a large Inferred Resource of 7.05 million tonnes grading 11.3% Zn, 7.7% Pb and 166 g/t Ag and additional exploration potential. The 2016 PFS indicates average annual production of approximately 60,000 tonnes of zinc concentrate and 55,000 tonnes of lead concentrate, containing approximately 86 million pounds of zinc, 82 million pounds of lead and 1.7 million ounces of silver. The 2016 PFS indicates average annual earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization ("EBITDA") of $64 million per year and cumulative EBITDA earnings of $1.0 billion over an initial mine life of 17 years, using Base Case metal price forecasts of US$1.00 per pound for both zinc and lead and US$19.00 per ounce for silver. Pre-production Capital Costs, including provision for a new all season road, are estimated at $244 million, including contingency, with payback of five years from first revenueThe Report has been filed on SEDAR and may be viewed under the Company's profile at www.sedar.com, or by clicking below.

To view the complete March 31, 2016 (revised Sept 30, 2016) Technical Report please click on the image below.

715025 Canadian Zinc Prairie Creek NI 43-101 March 2016<br />(revised Sept 2016)NI 43-101 March 2016 (revised Sept 30, 2016)


The Company has successfully progressed through numerous Environmental Assessments for permitting relating to exploration programs that led up to the recently completed, five-year, regulatory process to secure operating permits. As a result, the Company has an extensive environmental database that forms a sound environmental basis for the operation of the project. CZN holds permits for the exploration, development and operation of the Prairie Creek Mine, and the Company is presently engaged in Environmental Assessment for the all season road. For more detail on these applications please refer to our Permitting/ Permits section on this website.