(Information in the Current Regulatory Processess Section is posted in reverse chronological order)
Current Regulatory Processes
All Season Road EA
On April 16, 2014, NorZinc applied to the Mackenzie Valley Land and Water Board ("MVLWB") and Parks Canada for permits to construct, maintain and operate an All Season Road from the Mine to the Liard Highway, and to build and operate an airstrip connected to the road.
The MVLWB referred the applications to the Mackenzie Valley Environmental Impact Review Board ("MVRB" or "Review Board") on May 22, 2014 for environmental assessment ("EA") EA1415-001.
Following various technical meetings, information requests, community hearings and technical reports, the Review Board, in September 2017, issued its Report of Environmental Assessment and Reasons for Decision for the Prairie Creek All Season Road Project for the Prairie Creek Mine (the “EA Report”) and submitted the EA Report to the Honourable Carolyn Bennett, Federal Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs, with a recommendation that the development be approved, subject to the measures described in the Report.
The Review Board recommended the approval of the Prairie Creek All Season Road ("ASR") be made subject to implementation of the measures described in the Report, which it considers are necessary to prevent significant adverse impacts on the environment and local people.
In January 2018, the Minister of Crown Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada, invoked a two-month extension to the timeline for the Minister’s decision on the Report of Environmental Assessment for the ASR, originally due by February 12, 2018, to allow the federal and territorial governments to complete aboriginal consultations.
In connection with such consultations, on January 19, 2018, Indian and Northern Affairs Canada (“INAC”) provided NorZinc with five information requests, identifying specific issues raised by Indigenous groups that need further clarity through proponent engagement, so the Responsible Ministers can be confident that the Crown has discharged its legal duty to meaningfully consult with potentially impacted Indigenous groups.
INAC requested NorZinc to engage the Nahanni Butte Dene Band ("NDDB"), Liidlii Kue First Nation ("LKFN") and the Dehcho First Nations, as recommended by the Review Board, to gain an understanding of the Indigenous groups’ concerns, discuss and determine how the Indigenous groups will be included in monitoring and discuss the Indigenous groups’ requests for support to participate in implementation of the measures recommended by the Review Board and the commitments made by NorZinc in the environmental assessment process.
NorZinc cooperated with the request from INAC and engaged with Indigenous groups to discuss the implementation of various measures recommended by the Review Board, the sharing and incorporation of Dene traditional knowledge and values into project design and the inclusion of the Indigenous groups in environmental and wildlife monitoring of the All Season Road.
On June 11, 2018, the Company submitted its formal replies to the Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs to address all five information requests related to the implementation plans for various mitigation measures and proponent commitments contained in the EA Report. As requested in the Minister’s information requests, the Company continued working with the local Dene communities to address the implementation of various measures recommended by the Review Board. Key concerns which the Company and local Dene communities are addressing collaboratively include (a) sharing and incorporation of Dene knowledge and values into project design, (b) ensuring the Dene communities will be partners in environmental, wildlife and cultural monitoring of the All Season Road, and (c) addressing the Dene communities’ requests for support to participate in implementation of the measures recommended by the Review Board and the commitments made by the Company in the environmental assessment process.
On July 23, 2018, the Company received a letter confirming the positive decision of the Federal Minister of the Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada to resume the decision phase for The Company's Prairie Creek All Season Road Environmental Assessment. On October 9, 2018, the Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations, on behalf of the Responsible Ministers, issued a decision adopting the Review Board’s recommendation that the ASR be approved.
The Environmental Assessment (“EA”) of the ASR was completed in 2018. With the Company’s submission of the requested Post-EA Information Package in February 2019, subsequently deemed complete in March 2019, the ASR permits entered the final permitting stage jointly with the Water Board and Parks Canada (jointly “MVLWB & Parks”), with a permit expected in Q3 2019. The MVLWB issued permits for the ASR on November 14, 2019 and Parks Canada issued its permits November 22, 2019. The ASR permits incorporate the recommended mitigation measures included in the EA Report.
NorZinc plans to construct the road over a period of three years. Prior to construction activities, the Company plans to conduct field investigations and prepare site plans (including detailed road design) and award construction contracts. Dependent on the permitting and financing timeline, construction of the All Season Road is planned to commence from a winter road in early 2020 and continue into 2022, in parallel with continuous and ongoing site construction and mine development.
In January 2019, the Company signed a Traditional Land Use Agreement (“TLUA”) with the NDDB for the construction and operation of the ASR. The Company is also finalizing negotiations for a Road Benefit Agreement (“RBA”) with the LKFN.
As part of the EA Report engagement, the NDDB and LKFN entered into an agreement with the Company which provides for the negotiation of an Environmental Management Agreement (“EMA”). The EMA is intended to be a formal mechanism, tested in other projects, to, in addition to regulatory instruments, provide for Indigenous participation in environmental management, and to ensure that the mitigative measures and environmental protection commitments in the EA Report are appropriately implemented.
The full text of the Report of Environmental Assessment and Reasons for Decision, together with all proceedings, transcripts, technical reports and detailed information on the environmental assessment of the Prairie Creek Mine All Season Road EA1415-01 are available on the website registry of the Review Board at http://reviewboard.ca/registry/project.php?project_id=680, under the file of Canadian Zinc Corporation.