DOING SOME DIGGING – Mines are where you find them

Justin Trudeau is campaigning to stop a planned zinc mine in the Northwest Territories, according to an article in ...
Justin Trudeau is campaigning to stop a planned zinc mine in the Northwest Territories, according to an article in the May 15 issue of MCLEANS MAGAZINE. The son of the late Pierre Elliot Trudeau says the project would ruin the Nahanni River, which he calls " an absolutely magnificent, magical place."

The river has been designated a World Heritage Site by the United Nations and a Heritage River by the Canadian government. It is a place of indescribable wild beauty and deserves to be protected.

The project in question is the Prairie Creek deposit, which belongs to CANADIAN ZINC CORP. of Vancouver. It is located in the south Mackenzie Mountains about 43 km upstream from where Prairie Creek joins the Nahanni. This is the same deposit that Nelson Bunker Hunt and his brother William Hunt wanted to develop in the late-1970s, around the time when they were accused of trying to corner the world silver market.

The site has a 1,000-tons/day mill that was virtually complete in 1982 but never operated. Extensive underground development was carried out in Zone 3 on the 3,050- and 2,850-ft levels in preparation for mining. CanZinco estimates that the deposit contains a geological resource of at least 11.8 million tonnes grading 12.5% Zn, 10.1% Pb, 161 g/t Ag and 0.4% Cu. An executive summary of the scoping study is posted at

Trudeau is reported to have said he has nothing against mining, but just not there.

If we don't mine where the deposits are, where shall we mine? Mineralization occurs where it occurs, not where it is convenient. Many of us have heard managers at remote sites bemoan the fact that geologists don't find important deposits closer to town.

The protection of the environment is why Canadian mineral producers are among the most respected in the world. They have many technologies at their disposal to anticipate and prevent negative environmental impact. There is no reason to fear that mining the Prairie Creek deposit will automatically ruin the unique Nahanni River. But we must all be certain that every possible safeguard is implemented during final development.


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