NorZinc’s Prairie Creek targets 261Mlb/y of zinc-equivalent

22nd October 2021 By: Mariaan Webb - Creamer Media Deputy Editor Online

TSX-listed NorZinc is starting on an updated definitive feasibility study for its Prairie Creek project, in the Northwest Territories, Canada, having completed a positive preliminary economic assessment (PEA).

The PEA incorporates an updated mineral resource estimate of 9.8-million tonnes at 22.7% zinc-equivalent, providing an economic assessment for a 2 400 t/d mine plan with a 20.3-year mine life.

The study delivered an aftertax net present value of $299-million and an aftertax internal rate of return of 17.7%, based on an initial capital expenditure of $368-million. Base case metal prices of $1.20/lb zinc, $1.05/lb lead and $24/oz silver are used.

Prairie Creek will produce an average of 261-million pounds of zinc-equivalent, including 2.6-million ounces a year of silver production. The project has a payback of 4.8 years.

"While the PEA considers historical data with a reinterpreted mineral resource, it outlines a solid base-case for management as we continue on the planned path towards financing and development of the Prairie Creek project,” commented CEO Rohan Hazelton.

NorZinc has identified multiple opportunities for further operational and economic optimisation, which will be investigated in the updated feasibility study, particularly in relation to input costs.

The fundamentals for zinc, our primary product, are strong and are enhanced by the recent addition of zinc to Canada's Critical Mineral List which highlights the minerals critical to the building of a clean and digitized economy. Silver is also expected to continue to play a significant role in the development and financing of the project as the market demand for silver streams is high, said Hazelton.