Regulatory Matters and Permitting

(Information in the Current Regulatory Processess Section is posted in reverse chronological order)

Current Regulatory Processes

All Season Road EA

On April 16, 2014, CZN applied to the Mackenzie Valley Land and Water Board ("MVLWB") and Parks Canada for permits to construct, maintain and operate an All Season Road from the Mine to the Liard Highway, and to build and operate an airstrip connected to the road. CZN has proposed to develop the Project in two phases. Phase 1 would include All Season Road construction from the Mine to the already permitted Tetcela Transfer Station, approximately half way to the Highway. This will enable the haul of concentrates over the mountainous section year-round, and greatly reduce haul requirements over the winter period. An airstrip would also be built in Phase 1. Phase 2 would include completion of the All Season Road to the Nahanni Butte access road which connects to the Highway, and with operation of a barge on the Liard River, would allow mineral concentrates to be transported to the market year-round. The All Season Road would use a similar alignment as the already permitted winter road, although some minor realignments will also be considered.

The MVLWB referred the applications to the Mackenzie Valley Environmental Impact Review Board ("MVRB" or "Review Board") on May 22, 2014 for environmental assessment ("EA") EA1415-001. CZN produced a draft Terms of Reference ("ToR") for a Developer's Assessment Report ("DAR") on June 4, 2014. Community meetings to consider the scope of the EA were subsequently held in Nahanni Butte, Fort Liard and Fort Simpson over the period June 9-11, 2014 and a technical scoping meeting was held in Yellowknife on July 8, 2014. The MVRB collated scoping meeting comments, and issued their version of the draft ToR for comment on July 31, 2014. At that time, the MVRB produced a final ToR on September 12, 2014. At that time the MVRB also issued a draft Workplan which defines the proposed schedule for the EA subsequent to CZN's completion, and the MVRB's acceptance, of a DAR.

Canadian Zinc submitted its’ DAR on April 23, 2015 and the MVRB responded on May 22, 2015 with an Adequacy Review which required that CZN submit further detail on a number of items in the ToR.  CZN submitted the bulk of an Addendum to the DAR on October 2, 2015 which was followed by the remaining detail in early December 2015. The MVRB issued a Reasons for Decision on December 21, 2015 which concluded the EA could proceed with the review however a number of items still required additional information.

On April 11, 2016, Canadian Zinc submitted an Addendum to the DAR to complete responses to MVRB requests and on April 20, 2016, the MVRB deemed CZN had met the requirements in order to continue the environmental assessment process. CZN submitted its responses to the Information Requests on May 10, 2016 leading up to a Technical Session.

Technical Sessions took place in Yellowknife from June 13, 2016 to June 16, 2016. The purpose of the Technical Session was for all parties and regulators to discuss issues face-to-face in order to gain a better understanding of the All Season Road Project and its potential environmental impacts.

Additional Technical Sessions on cultural impacts were also held in the local communities of Nahanni Butte and Fort Simpson on July 4 and 5, 2016. The purpose of these sessions was to gather information from land and resource users in the two Dehcho communities about the potential impacts and to discuss possible mitigations of the proposed All Season Road. The Company submitted comments on the cultural impact reports.

The June Technical Sessions generated a list of commitments and undertakings. In July 2016, CZN completed a field work program along the road corridor to gather additional base line data on vegetation, wildlife and stream crossings that were deemed necessary to respond to some of the undertakings. On August 18, 2016, Canadian Zinc completed submitting its responses to the undertakings from the June Technical Session. Canadian Zinc was subsequently asked to submit some additional information and did so on September 6, 2016.

In September 2016, the Company received the second round of Information Requests from parties registered in the regulatory process. CZN submitted its responses to the second round of Information Requests on October 24, 2016. This was followed by the risk assessment stage. After a number of submissions, the Risk Assessment Phase was deemed complete by the Review Board in February 2017 and the Environmental Assessment process subsequently entered into the Hearing Phase.

As part of the preparatory process within the Hearing Phase, various registered parties submitted Technical Reports. Community Hearings were held in Nahanni Butte on April 24, 2017 and in Fort Simpson on April 25, 2017. Formal (Technical) Hearings were held in Fort Simpson April 26-April 28, 2017. These more formal Hearings involved review by all registered parties through a series of presentations followed by questions. With the Hearings completed, the next step is the filing of closing arguments by all parties, including CZN, by June 5, 2017 followed subsequently by the closing of the public record.

The Review Board is required to determine whether the proposed road development is likely to cause a significant adverse impact on the environment or to be a cause of significant public concern.

In September 2017, the Review Board issued its Report of Environmental Assessment and Reasons for Decision for Canadian Zinc’s Prairie Creek All Season Road Project for the Prairie Creek Mine (the “EA Report”) and submitted the EA Report to the Honourable Carolyn Bennett, Federal Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs.

The Review Board recommended the approval of the Prairie Creek All Season Road be made subject to implementation of the measures described in the Report, which it considers are necessary to prevent significant adverse impacts on the environment and local people.

The EA Report has been forwarded to the Federal Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs, with a recommendation that the development be approved, subject to the measures described in the Report and Canadian Zinc is awaiting Ministerial approval.

The Review Board has concluded that an environmental impact review of this proposed development is not necessary and that the proposed All Season Road Project should proceed to the regulatory phase. The regulatory phase, conducted by the Mackenzie Valley Land and Water Board with input from territorial and federal agencies, will be the next permitting stage in which the road permit is issued by the Water Board and Canadian Zinc looks forward to timely completion of the permitting process. This permit may include the recommended measures included in the EA Report.

The full text of the Report of Environmental Assessment and Reasons for Decision , together with all proceedings, transcripts, technical reports and detailed information on the environmental assessment of the Prairie Creek Mine All Season Road EA1415-01[2014] are available on the website registry of the Review Board at http://reviewboard.ca/registry/project.php?project_id=680, under the file of Canadian Zinc Corporation.

In January 2018, the Minister of Crown Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada, invoked a two-month extension to the timeline for the Minister’s decision on the Report of Environmental Assessment for the Prairie Creek All Season Road, originally due by February 12, 2018, to allow the federal and territorial governments to complete aboriginal consultations.

In connection with such consultations, on January 19, 2018, Indian and Northern Affairs Canada (“INAC”) provided Canadian Zinc with five information requests, identifying specific issues raised by Indigenous groups that need further clarity through proponent engagement, so the Responsible Ministers can be confident that the Crown has discharged its legal duty to meaningfully consult with potentially impacted Indigenous groups.

INAC has requested Canadian Zinc to engage the Nahanni Butte Dene Band, Liidlii Kue First Nation and the Dehcho First Nations, as recommended by the Review Board, to gain an understanding of the Indigenous groups’ concerns, discuss and determine how the Indigenous groups will be included in monitoring and discuss the Indigenous groups’ requests for support to participate in implementation of the measures recommended by the Review Board and the commitments made by Canadian Zinc in the environmental assessment process.

Canadian Zinc is cooperating with the request from INAC and is engaging with Indigenous groups to discuss the implementation of various measures recommended by the Review Board, the sharing and incorporation of Dene traditional knowledge and values into project design and the inclusion of the Indigenous groups in environmental and wildlife monitoring of the All Season Road.

The issue of the information requests has the effect of stopping the clock on the five-month time limit for the Responsible Ministers to make a decision on the Report of Environmental Assessment. The time limit, extended by an additional two months, will resume only after the Company has provided an adequate response to the information requested.

Canadian Zinc had expected that implementation of the measures which had been recommended by the Review Board would be addressed and resolved during the permitting phase with the Mackenzie Valley Land and Water Board (the “Water Board”) and Parks Canada, as in previous applications; however, INAC has indicated that the Responsible Ministers require these issues clarified at this stage and not deferred to post-environmental assessment processes. As such, the engagement requested is not an unexpected requirement but rather one brought forward to the current stage of the process.

Once the environmental assessment report is approved by the Minister, the permitting process enters the regulatory phase, conducted by the Mackenzie Valley Land and Water Board with input from territorial and federal agencies, in which road permits are issued by the Water Board and by Parks Canada. These permits will incorporate the recommended mitigation measures included in the EA Report.

Other Permitting Activities 

The Company has made application to the Water Board for a number of amendments to existing Licences and Land Use Permits (“LUP”). Four applications are currently underway awaiting decision by the Water Board:

  • Amendment to Water Licence MV2008L2-0002 to extend the term of the Licence for the life of mine.
  • Amendment to Water Licence MV2001L2-0003 to amend the Zinc compliance levels to reflect the levels prescribed in the federal Metal Mining Effluent Regulations.
  • Extension for two years to Winter Road LUP MV2012F0007, which had an original term which expired in January 2018.
  • Request for clarification of use of the alignment of the All Season Road, where it deviates from the winter road alignment, under Winter Road LUP MV2012F0007, submitted at the same time with the application for the two-year extension.

Note: All related documents have been posted on the public registry of the MVLWB and has been distributed to interested parties as part of the regulatory process.

Issued Permits

Extensive time and effort has been expended in permitting processes, and numerous Environmental Assessments have been carried out for various activities involving exploration and development.

A brief summary of the status of the operating permit process and each active permit follows with a link to the Mackenzie Valley Environmental Impact and Review Board ("MVEIRB" or "MVRB") and/or the Mackenzie Valley Land and Water Board ("MVLWB") websites for a comprehensive list of documentation on the public registry relating to the particular permits. 

Permitting Status Overview

Permit

Agency

Number

Comments

Operating Permits

Type "A" Mine Water Licence

Mine Land Use Permit

Liard Transfer Facility LUP

MVLWB

MVLWB

MVLWB

MV2008L2-0002

MV2008D0014

MV2008T0012

Permit issued

Permit issued

Permit issued

Winter Road Operating LUP

MVLWB

MV2012F0007

Two-year extension requested

Winter Road Operating Water Licence

MVLWB

MV2012L1-0005

Permit issued

Winter Road Operating LUP

Parks Canada

Parks2012-L001

Permit issued

Winter Road Operating Water Licence

Parks Canada

 Parks2012_W001

Permit issued

Tetcela Transfer Facility LUP

Parks Canada

Parks2012-L001

Permit issued

Explosives Plant

Natural Resources Canada

n/a

Application pending

Quarry permit - Mine

AANDC

n/a

Application pending

Quarry permit - Road

AANDC

n/a

Application pending

Bridge Crossings (2) NWPA

Transport Canada

n/a

Not required

Exploration Phase Permits

Underground Decline LUP

MVLWB

MV2012C0008

Issued

Underground Decline Water Licence

MVLWB

MV2001L2-0003

Amended and extended

Road Land Use Permit

MVLWB

MV2003F0028

Issued

Road Land Use Permit

Parks Canada

2009-L02

Issued and extended

–Road Water Licence

Parks Canada

2009-W02

Issued

–Phase 4 Drilling LUP

MVLWB

MV2013C0002

Issued

 

Public Registry MVEIRB

Public Registry MVLWB MV2013C0002