Water Management Plan
One of the main purposes of a Water Licence is to regulate the discharge of water to the environment via the application of licence terms and conditions and the establishment of water quality criteria. CZN has proposed an innovative water management plan that includes real-time water flow monitoring of the Prairie Creek stream, and discharge of treated mine water and treated process water according to a "load-based approach". In this approach the discharge of water is varied according to the actual flow volumes in the receiving stream at the time in order to meet water quality objectives in the stream and ensure there is no significant negative impact on the receiving environment.
The load-based discharge approach is a variation from the traditional regulatory discharge compliance approach where fixed water quality concentrations in the discharge are specified. CZN has proposed this variation to take into account the wide range of seasonal flows in the Prairie Creek stream and to accommodate the projected volumes of treated mine water flows into the Prairie Creek stream from the Prairie Creek mining operation. CZN believes that the proposed load-based approach can be effectively and efficiently regulated under the Water Licence but, because the proposed approach is a variation from the traditional approach, AANDC is seeking assurances with respect to such regulation.
With regard to water quality criteria to be included in the Licence, CZN has proposed site specific water quality objectives that have been derived from studies carried out under a framework process for establishing Site Specific Water Quality Objectives and the terms of reference for Site Specific Ecological Risk Assessments, discussed with AANDC and presented to the Mackenzie Valley Environmental Impact Review Board prior to the conclusion of the Environmental Assessment in 2011. CZN's proposed water quality objectives also take into account the proposed implementation of additional water storage capacity at the site and enhanced process water treatment.
The Review Board, in its Report of Environmental Assessment and Reasons for Decision, issued in December 2011, concluded that, with the implementation of the framework process for deriving site specific water quality objectives, significant adverse impacts to water quality are not likely. The Review Board did not provide a recommendation on effluent quality criteria because it is the responsibility of the Water Board and recognized that the Water Board will decide the limits to protect water quality that are appropriate for this project and setting.
In June 2008, Canadian Zinc applied to the Mackenzie Valley Land and Water Board for a Type "A" Water Licence and three Land Use Permits ("LUP") to establish mining operations at the Prairie Creek Mine site in the Northwest Territories.
The application was referred to environmental assessment by the Mackenzie Valley Environmental Review Board ("MVERB"), which is responsible under the Mackenzie Valley Resource Management Act for carrying out the environmental assessment and review process in the Mackenzie Valley. The proposed plan to develop the Prairie Creek Mine passed through the various stages of the EA, including a Written Hearing on the terms of reference, scoping sessions, submittal of a Developers Assessment Report, two formal Information Requests and two Technical Sessions, a Community Hearing and a two-day Public Hearing, followed by Closing Submissions.
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