NorZinc begins Prairie Creek drilling
Plans to collect data to support feasibility study for zinc mine North of 60 Mining News – June 17, 2022
Last updated 6/16/2022 at 1:28pm
NorZinc Ltd. June 13 announced that the Prairie Creek camp is open, and it has mobilized two drills for the start of a planned 5,300-meter drill program at the zinc mine project in Northwest Territories.
According to a 2021 calculation, Prairie Creek hosts 9.8 million metric tons of measured and indicated resources averaging 9.7% zinc, 8.8% lead, and 139 grams per metric ton silver; and 6.4 million metric tons of total inferred resources averaging 12.9% zinc, 6.7% lead, and 150 g/t silver.
Based on this resource, NorZinc published a preliminary economic assessment for an underground mine that will feed ore to a 2,400-metric-ton-per-day mill at Prairie Creek that would produce an average of 261 million pounds of zinc-equivalent annually over 20.3 years of mining.
This year's surface drilling is focused on gathering technical information to be included in an updated feasibility study for the operation outlined in the PEA.
Northtech Drilling out of Yellowknife, Northwest Territories, which will be undertaking this season's drill program, is mobilizing two rigs that will primarily test areas for further validation of the geotechnical structural controls that are part of the mining dilution volume estimates.
The company also plans to target areas with the potential to upgrade and expand the resource.
"We are very excited to be working with Northtech and their crews for this year's important drilling campaign," said NorZinc President and CEO Rohan Hazelton. "Stanley and Bryson Cochrane have a proven track record of successful drilling in northern conditions. We look forward to obtaining strong results that we will incorporate into our updated Feasibility Study to begin later this year."
Terrane Geoscience out of Nova Scotia will undertake televiewer logging, which uses an ultrasonic logging device to scan the borehole wall, to provide the additional data required to improve certainty of the dilution estimates.
Additional metallurgical sampling and testing is also planned to increase the accuracy of the quality of the concentrate and recovery forecasts over the first five years of planned production at Prairie Creek.
Drilling is slated to begin in the next few days and continue into October. An updated feasibility study that includes results from the 2022 program is expected to get underway during the fourth quarter and be finalized by mid-2023.
At the same time, NorZinc is preparing to begin construction of a winter road that will allow for overland delivery of equipment and supplies to the zinc mine project.
The company anticipates final approvals in the third quarter to begin construction of this winter road, which will mark the first stage of an all-season access road to Prairie Creek.