Long-awaited N.W.T. mining road through national park gets thumbs up from review board (CBC News North – September 14, 2017)

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/north/

The much-anticipated all-season road to Canadian Zinc’s Prairie Creek mine passed its environmental assessment this week, more than five years after the Prairie Creek mine was approved in the heart of Nahanni National Park Reserve.

The Mackenzie Valley Review Board announced Tuesday it is recommending the project to the Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs for conditional approval. This week’s green light marks the end of a process that lasted more than three years. The nearby Nahanni Butte Dene Band grew impatient, and began construction on their own road to the mine.

However, the board’s support is contingent on the implementation of 16 measures it says will prevent “significant adverse impacts on the environment.” Among those measures: a road adapted for permafrost conditions, along with ongoing permafrost monitoring; wildlife monitoring that incorporates traditional knowledge; and the creation of an independent technical panel to ensure the road’s design protects people and the environment.

The company calls the board’s decision “an important milestone” for the Prairie Creek project. “Canadian Zinc is confident that the measures prescribed by the review board, many of which build on Canadian Zinc’s commitments made during the EA [environmental assessment], can be satisfactorily addressed,” said Alan Taylor, chief operating officer of Canadian Zinc.

The 180 km all-season road would connect the Prairie Creek Mine to the Liard Highway near Nahanni Butte, N.W.T, with about half of the proposed road running through the Nahanni National Park Reserve.

For the rest of this article: http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/north/nwt-mining-road-recommended-for-minister-approval-1.4290467

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