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 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 Indigenous 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, NT, 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 maximum economic benefits and opportunities to the residents of the region and can be further reviewed in the Agreements/ Support page.

PC Regional Location Dec2012Regional Map showing the 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 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 gravel airstrip  
  • 180 kilometre access road
  • 50 kilometres of exploration roads
  • Fully equipped administration and 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 subsequently carried out in 2010 and continued 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 Inferred 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 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 entitled “Prairie Creek Property Feasibility Study NI 43-101 Technical Report” effective September 28, 2017, which provides the results of the recently completed 2017 Feasibility Study, was prepared by AMC Mining Consultants (Canada) (“AMC”), with contributions by Ausenco Engineering Canada Inc. (“Ausenco”), Global Mineral Resource Services Ltd., Allnorth Consultants Limited and F. Wright Consulting Inc., in accordance with National Instrument 43-101 and is available below and under the Company’s profile on SEDAR at www.sedar.com.

The September 28, 2017 Technical Report indicates that the Prairie Creek Mine 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 8.1 million tonnes averaging 8.6% Zn, 8.1% Pb, and 124 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 2017 Technical Report indicates average annual production during the first 10 years of operation of approximately 64,800 tonnes of zinc concentrate and 71,600 tonnes of lead concentrate, containing approximately 95 million pounds of zinc, 105 million pounds of lead and 2.1 million ounces of silver. The 2017 Technical Report indicates average annual earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization ("EBITDA") of $81 million per year and cumulative EBITDA earnings of $1,294 million over the projected mine life of 15 years, using Base Case metal price forecasts of US$1.10 per pound for zinc, US$1.00 per pound for lead and US$19.00 per ounce for silver. Pre-production Capital Costs, including provision for a new All Season Road, are estimated at $279 million, including contingency, with payback of 4.6 years from first revenue.

To view the complete September 28, 2017 Technical Report please click on the image below.

Prairie Creek Property Feasibility Study NI 43-101 Technical ReportPrairie Creek Property Feasibility Study NI 43-101 Technical Report
(20.2MB PDF)


The Company has successfully completed six Environmental Assessments on the Prairie Creek Project and the Company holds all the necessary permits for the exploration, development and operation of the Prairie Creek Mine. Most recently, CZN received the recommendation of the Mackenzie Valley Environmental Impact Review Board for approval of an All Season Road for the Prairie Creek Mine, subject to a number of measures. This recommendation is awaiting approval by the Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs.

As a result, the Company has an extensive environmental database that forms a sound environmental basis for the operation of the Project. For more detail on these applications please refer to our Permitting/ Permits section on this website.