NorZinc signs environmental agreement with First Nation partners in NWT

NorZinc Ltd. (TSX: NZC; OTC: NORZF) has signed an environmental agreement (EA) with the Naha Dehe Dene Band (NDDB) and Liidlii Kue First […]
The Prairie Creek silver-zinc-lead mine project. Credit: NorZinc

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NorZinc Ltd. (TSX: NZC; OTC: NORZF) has signed an environmental agreement (EA) with the Naha Dehe Dene Band (NDDB) and Liidlii Kue First Nation (LKFN) Band covering the company's flagship Prairie Creek project in Northwest Territories as well as the all-season access road on these local communities' traditional territory.

The NDDB of Nahanni Butte is the nearest community to Prairie Creek, located approximately 90 km southeast of the zinc-silver-lead mine. The mine and access road routes are all within NDDB's traditional territory. The LKFN of Fort Simpson are the largest community within the Dehcho region. Fort Simpson is located about 185 km east of the mine site. The access road also crosses the LKFN traditional territory.

The new agreement builds on the impact benefit agreements (IBAs) that NorZinc currently has with both NDDB and LKFN for the Prairie Creek mine, the NDDB traditional land use agreement, and the LKFN road benefit agreement, establishing the framework for a long-term, mutually beneficial and co-operative working partnership.

The EA formalizes the company's commitment towards protecting the environment and sacred, traditional lands upon which the project will be developed while providing for environmental monitoring, review and oversights through the life of the project, NorZinc stated in a media release, adding that this agreement combined with the IBAs provides assurance that Prairie Creek has strong local First Nations support as the company continues advancing the project.

"We are very pleased to have entered into this agreement with NDDB and LFKN, which reflects our commitment to respect and prioritize the environmental well-being of their traditional and sacred lands that will be home to one of Canada's next, largest and highest grade critical mineral zinc, silver and lead mine," Rohan Hazelton, president and CEO of NorZinc, commented.

According to NorZinc, the Prairie Creek project will have a significant economic impact on the local communities as well as the NWT and federal government, bringing in total revenue over its lifetime of $8 billion with direct territorial and federal government benefits of over $1 billion. Benefits to the local First Nations include $5 million a year in direct transfer benefits, $100 million over the life of the mine, $330 million in business contracts and $65 million in guaranteed employment. There is expected to be 600 jobs over three years of construction and more than 350 jobs during the operating period.

Based on the results of a 2021 preliminary economic assessment, Prairie Creek will have a 20-year mine based on a throughout rate of 2,400 t/d with average annual payable zinc-equivalent production of 261 million lb. (122 million lb. of zinc, 101 million lb. of lead and 2.6 million oz. of silver). It has an after-tax net present value (at 8% discount) of US$299 million and internal rate of return of 17.7%. The payback period is 4.8 years.

Additional details from the PEA are available on www.NorZinc.com.

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