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 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


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Prairie Creek Mine Infrastructure

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

  • 1,000 tonne 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 of the 930 mL decline. The planned program will be completed on four, 50-metre sections and will comprise approximately 6,000 metres of diamond drill coring over 21 holes. The purpose of this drill program is to convert some of the inferred resources into indicated resources that will subsequently be incorporated into a new mine plan to support a longer mine life.

By the end of the program in July 2015, drilling totaled 5,484 metres of diamoind core drilling in 21 holes. 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 will be 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.

Technical Reports

A Technical Report (the "Report") dated June 15, 2012, was prepared by AMC Consultants, with J. Morton Shannon, P.Geo., Dinara Nussipakynova, P.Geo., Barrie Hancock, P.Eng. and Byard MacLean, P.Eng. as the Qualified Persons, all independent of Canadian Zinc.

The 2012 Report indicates that the Prairie Creek Property host Measured and Indicated Resources of 5.43 million tonnes grading 10.8% Zn, 10.2% Pb, 160 g/t Ag and 0.31% Cu, which includes a reserve of 5.22 million tonnes averaging 9.4% Zn, 9.5% Pb, 151 g/t Ag. In addition, the Report confirms a large Inferred Resource of 6.24 million tonnes grading 14.5% Zn, 11.5% Pb, 229 g/t Ag and 0.57% Cu and additional exploration potential. The Report has been filed on SEDAR and may be viewed under the Company's profile at www.sedar.com, or on the Company's website at www.canadianzinc.com.

In March 2015, Canadian Zinc updated the Prairie Creek Mineral Resource estimate based on additional drilling completed between 2012 and 2014 and new engineering parameters. Measured and Indicated Resources now total 6.59 million tonnes averaging 10.2% Zn, 9.5% Pb and 147 g/t Ag; while Inferred Resources are 7.09 million tonnes averaging 11.7% Zn, 9.6% Pb and 177 g/t silver. Proven and Probable Reserves remain unchanged.


The Comapny 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. For more detail on these applications please refer to our Permitting/ Permits section on this website.