The Prairie Creek project is a zinc, silver, and lead deposit located in the Northwest Territories. There are four types of zinc-lead-copper-silver resources on the property including quartz veins, stratabound sulphides, stockwork, and Mississippi Valley type. The most significant type of mineralization is the quartz vein-type, which contains the majority of the currently defined Mineral Resources.
In the early 1980’s, the mine was developed and fully permitted but a decline in metal prices resulted in suspension of activity prior to commencement of production. Much of the previous infrastructure is still on site and will be utilized and upgraded where possible.
Based on a Feasibility Study released in 2017, the Prairie Creek mine is proposed as an underground operation, mining an average of 1,600 tpd over a 15 year mine life. Average annual production is projected to be approximately 65,000 tonnes of zinc concentrate and 72,000 tonnes of lead concentrate containing approximately 95 Mlbs of zinc, 105 Mlbs of lead and 2.1 Mozs of silver. Recoveries are estimated to be 83% for zinc, 88% for lead and 87% for silver.
The August 2017 Proven and Probable Mineral Reserve at Prairie Creek consists of 8.1 Mt at 124.2 g/t silver, 8.1% lead and 8.6% zinc (6%-12% ZnEq cut-off).
As part of NorZinc’s mine enhancement program at Prairie Creek, they have launched a surface exploration drill program and resource update. The drill program will be focused in the area immediately to the north of the current reserve envelope and is expected to begin in mid-October an end in December 2020. Results are expected in January 2021.
NorZinc continues to consider multiple development financing opportunities and currently anticipates financing the activities throughout 2020 and into the second half of 2021 from non-bank sources. These will be focused on design enhancements for the increase in production throughput and exploration, leading to a potential increase in reserves. The main development funding beyond 2021 is expected to be sourced largely from the debt and silver streaming markets.