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CPAWS concerned about news on Prairie Creek Mine

Yellowknife – In response to news released on December 8th that the Mackenzie Valley Review Board is recommending that the federal government approve operations for the Prairie Creek Mine, located on the border of Nahanni National Park Reserve, CPAWS has issued the following statement from Kris Brekke, Executive Director of CPAWS’ Northwest Territories chapter.

“From the outset we have expressed our concern that if a development located upstream of a National Park and UNESCO World Heritage site is to proceed, it needs to be regulated to the highest environmental standard.  It is questionable whether the review board has provided the incentive for Canadian Zinc to operate in a manner that would reduce environmental impacts during the course of the development.

“The review board has based its decision on an assumption that Canadian Zinc will fulfill a list of an unprecedented 25 pages of commitments made during the environmental assessment.  The report provides only suggestions as to how the project could be improved. Furthermore, dissenting views raised within the board identify that there is no mandatory framework for the commitments to be undertaken.   This scenario doesn’t provide a high level of certainty that impacts, specifically to water around the mine site and downstream in the Nahanni watershed and Mackenzie River will be avoided. 

“It appears that the review board has passed the responsibility to the Minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development and other regulatory authorities to ensure that Canadian Zinc will in fact be held accountable for their commitments. Until these decisions are made it remains unclear if the ecological integrity of the Nahanni and surrounding watershed will be maintained.”

CPAWS will be considering further action on this matter in the coming days.


Read CPAWS' letter to the Honourable John Duncan, Minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development.

Read the decision from the Mackenzie Valley Review Board.


For interviews, contact Ellen Adelberg (cell) 613-292-2875

CPAWS is Canada’s voice for wilderness. Since 1963, CPAWS has played a lead role in creating over two-thirds of Canada’s protected areas. Read more at: