The Mackenzie Valley Land and Water Board has recommended the federal government approve a critical water licence for Canadian Zinc’s Prairie Creek Mine.

The site is surrounded by Nahanni National Park Reserve.

Canadian Zinc is also waiting for Parks Canada to approve a land use permit.

Frank Moretti, band manager for the Nahanni Butte Dene Band, said the community is excited.

"We are a small community. We will definitely benefit through employment and training and so forth over the life of the mine," he said. "Given they're going to operate a mine on our land our community band members will have first pick at any jobs available.

A spokesperson for the company says it still needs about $200 million to start up.

The company expects to employ up to 220 people over 12 years.