Search NNSL


NNSL Photo/Graphic

Subscriber pages

buttonspacer News Desk
buttonspacer Columnists
buttonspacer Editorial
buttonspacer Readers comment
buttonspacer Tenders

Court News and Legal Links
Home page text size buttonsbigger textsmall textText size
Power corp explores energy options
NTPC aims to examine power supply at mine

April Hudson
Northern News Services
Thursday, March 2, 2017

The Northwest Territories Power Corporation (NTPC) is looking into the possibility of supplying the Prairie Creek mine site with liquid natural gas as a possible energy source.

In mid-February, the power corporation signed a memorandum of understanding with Canadian Zinc Corporation. That memorandum means the power corporation will look at how it can supply the mine with a primary electrical energy source, according to a Feb. 14 news release from Canadian Zinc.

The power corporation will also take a look at the possibility of installing generating facilities and other necessary infrastructure.

In an e-mail, power corp. spokesperson Pam Coulter said the power corporation will first be coming up with a business plan.

"In order to generate and supply power to any new large customer, NTPC determines the cost of providing that power by developing a business plan," she stated. "(That) will determine whether (we) proceed to a study."

In an interview with the Deh Cho Drum, Taylor said Canadian Zinc and NTPC will also be taking a look at gas fields near Fort Liard.

"It would be a shame to drive diesel trucks past wellheads that are capped and have gas in them," he said.

"One of the things we're working on with NTPC as well is to see if we can take advantage of that gas field and develop it for the Northwest Territories."

The power corporation is in the midst of producing a business case analysis for a possible liquid natural gas plant in Fort Simpson. According to the Feb. 14 news release, liquid natural gas would be delivered to Prairie Creek Mine along the same route as would be used to supply Fort Simpson and surrounding communities.

Alan Taylor, the chief operating officer for Canadian Zinc, stated in the news release that using liquid natural gas as an alternative energy source would reduce the mine's dependency

on diesel fuel, which could lower the cost

of powering the mine.

Prairie Creek Mine, in the words of Canadian Zinc chairman and chief executive officer John Kearney, is "on the cusp of development."

Canadian Zinc is in the midst of wrapping up a definitive feasibility study on the mine. The study is expected to be complete by mid-2017.

The study follows a prefeasibility report that was completed in 2016. That report provided Canadian Zinc with recommendations for further study. It also showed that an engineering and design phase could be used to obtain fixed pricing from construction contractors, according to information released by Canadian Zinc on Jan. 24.

Canadian Zinc has also hired a company to undertake project development plans for the mine site, and has appointed financial advisers to arrange debt financing for the mine.

Taylor said the feasibility study aims to provide so much detail and accuracy that Canadian Zinc can use it to potentially raise financing to get Prairie Creek Mine into production.

Aside from the study, the company is still waiting on approval for an all-season road into the mine.

"On the backs of that, hopefully you raise the financing that can support construction of the mine site, but even when you secure financing, you don't go into production overnight," he explained.

"It's going to take a couple of years still."

E-mailWe welcome your opinions. Click here to e-mail a letter to the editor.