NorZinc (TSX: NZC) completed the first phase of the all-season road to the Prairie Creek mine, marking the first time in over 40 years that there has been land access to the mine site. The road is 170 km long, from Liard Highway 7 to the Prairie Creek mine on traditional Dene territory in the Northwest Territories.
Land access will support the resupply of necessities to the mine and the transportation of concentrate to the highway. When complete, the road will have a single lane, 5.0 metres wide.
The first phase road crosses the Laird River near Nahanni Butte. In the summer, a barge will be used to cross the river, but in the winter, an ice road will be built.
Phase one construction included a mulched trail followed by typical and non-typical winter road construction. Building the first phase allowed access to the final route to complete various geotechnical studies ahead of building phase two. The studies included ground penetrating radar, test pitting, and borehole drilling. The drilling is to be substantially complete by the end of April.
As the all-season road has been under construction, NorZinc has been engaged with federal and territorial regulators on the management plans for the second phase, to complete the fully operational, year-round road access to the mine.
Based on the 2021 preliminary economic assessment, the Prairie Creek zinc-silver-lead mine will have a 20-year life with a mining rate of 2,400 t/d. The project has a measured and indicated resource of 9.8 million tonnes averaging 9.7% zinc, 139 g/t silver, and 8.8% lead (22.7% zinc-equivalent). The inferred portion is 6.4 million tonnes at 12.9% zinc, 150 g/t silver, and 6.7% lead (24.1% zinc-equivalent). An 8% zinc-equivalent grade was used in these calculations.
The technical report is available on www.NorZinc.com.