Canadian Zinc Corp. has reported the results an updated prefeasibility (PFS) study of redevelopment of its 100% owned Prairie Creek lead, zinc, silver underground mine approximately 500 km west of Yellowknife in Canada’s Northwest Territories. The study is based on optimization work completed over the past three years, including the results of a 2015 underground exploration program that increased total measured and indicated resources by 32%.
The updated PFS indicates Prairie Creek can produce an average of approximately 86 million lb/y zinc, 82 million lb/y lead, and 1.7 million oz/y silver in separate lead and zinc concentrates over a 17-year mine life. Preproduction capital costs, including a new all-season road, are estimated at C$244 million, including contingency, with a payback period of three years.
A mine was partially constructed at Prairie Creek in 1982 but was placed on care and maintenance due to declining metal prices. The current project benefits from an existing 1,000-mt/d mill and related infrastructure. Current mineral reserves total 7.6 million mt, grading 8.9% zinc, 8.3% lead and 128 g/mt silver.
Underground mining is expected produce 1,350 mt/d of ore. Mining will be primarily by long-hole open stoping, with mechanized drift-and-fill employed for the extraction of strata-bound ore.
Prairie Creek concentrates will be trucked out and supplies will be delivered to the property over a proposed new all-season road to connect the mine site to the Liard Highway. From there, concentrates will be trucked to the railhead at Fort Nelson, British Columbia, and then transported by rail to the port of Vancouver for shipment to smelters overseas.