Fortune Minerals prepares for NICO constructionWek'eezhii Land and Water Board allows company to conduct early construction staging activities in advance of full mine permits
Northern News Services
Published Saturday, February 1, 2014
Fortune Minerals Inc. received the go-ahead last week to prepare land on its NICO gold-cobalt-bismuth-copper project, located 50 kilometres north of Whati, for potential future development.
Fortune Minerals Inc.'s director of regulatory and environmental affairs, Rick Schryer, collects cattails at the NICO site for the development of a demonstration wetland for water treatment last summer. The company was approved last week to prepare land on its NICO gold-cobalt-bismuth-copper project, located 50 kilometres north of Whati, for potential future construction. - photo courtesy of Fortune Minerals
The Wek'eezhii Land and Water Board approved a staging (interim) land use permit for the proposed mine site. The permit allows Fortune to conduct site preparation activities, such as expanding existing staging areas and storing large equipment, prior to the issuance of the full mine permits, which the company anticipates will be received in a few months, according to Troy Nazarewicz, Fortune's investor relations manager.
Pending financing and permits, the company will be prepared to begin construction of the mine and concentrator, Nazarewicz said.
Meanwhile, Fortune is working to complete financing following a strategic investment last year by Procon Resources Inc. to provide interim financing to advance work on the project. Negotiations with Procon are ongoing regarding final project financing for the development, Nazarewicz said.
Procon, based in Burnaby, B.C., is majority-owned by Beijing-based China CAMC Engineering Co., Ltd., a subsidiary of China National Machinery Industry Corporation. Procon has a regional office in Yellowknife.
"In the event that we are successful bringing in financing, we'd like to start the work as soon as possible, so this interim permit allows us to do that," Nazarewicz said. "We're optimistic. We brought in Procon Resources as a strategic investor in mid-2013 and they basically provided financing to allow us to continue NICO moving forward."
More than $110 million of work has been invested to advance the project, including completion of front-end engineering and design and feasibility studies, underground test mining, and pilot plant tests.
The proposed NICO mine would involve primarily open pit mines, with underground ores also contributing mill feed during the first two years from the existing underground workings established from previous test mining programs. Ores are to be processed in an on-site concentrator.
The NICO project is located 50 km north of the Tlicho community of Whati and 160 km northwest of the City of Yellowknife.
Fortune Minerals closed at 37 cents on the Toronto Stock Exchange on Jan. 29.