Issued Capital: 150,526,976
LONDON, ON, Feb. 11, 2014 /PRNewswire/ - Fortune Minerals Limited (TSX: FT) (OTCQX: FTMDF) ("Fortune" or the "Company") (www.fortuneminerals.com) is pleased to announce that the Honourable Ken Cheveldayoff, Minister of Environment for the Province of Saskatchewan, has accepted the Environmental Assessment Branch's recommendation and approved the Company's proposed Saskatchewan Metals Processing Plant ("SMPP"), subject to certain conditions. Today's announcement by the Saskatchewan Government states, "The proposal was assessed to be both environmentally and technically sound, providing both environmental safeguards and outlining company plans to ensure Saskatchewan's air, water, and natural resources are protected throughout the duration of the project and after."
The SMPP is a hydrometallurgical refinery planned near Langham, Saskatchewan (27 kilometres northwest of Saskatoon) in the Rural Municipality of Corman Park. With a capital cost estimated to be in excess of $200 million, this plant is expected to bring 200 jobs during construction, create approximately 100 long-term direct jobs for the region, and produce new business opportunities to support the facility. The SMPP will process metal concentrates from the Company's proposed NICO mine and mill in the Northwest Territories ("NT"). The combined facilities will be an important vertically integrated and reliable Canadian source of cobalt and bismuth metals and chemicals with a highly liquid gold co-product, and copper.
"Saskatchewan has a rigorous environmental review process and we are pleased to have received approval to advance our project," said Robin Goad, President and Chief Executive Officer of Fortune. "This is an important milestone toward bringing this state of the art metals processing facility to Saskatchewan. We intend to work closely with the communities near our site to earn their support and demonstrate the benefits of the project."
With this approval, Fortune is now completing the process of rezoning its land with the Rural Municipality of Corman Park. The Company is also continuing its dialogue with nearby communities to explain the opportunities of the refinery and exchange information about the project with residents. The Company will host a meeting at the Affinity Community Hall in Langham on February 19th. The Company has undertaken extensive studies to develop a facility that can deliver significant economic and social benefits to the area while minimizing its environmental footprint.
Dr. Richard Schryer, Director of Regulatory and Environmental Affairs for Fortune, said "The SMPP is a unique and technologically advanced hydrometallurgical facility that will contribute to Canada's and Saskatchewan's proven expertise in mining and processing." Schryer, who is based in Saskatoon, also commented, "Extensive test work and piloting has been drawn on to design this facility, which incorporates the most up-to-date metallurgical and environmental technologies."
The approval for the SMPP includes conditions, several of which reflect Fortune's prior commitments made through the environmental assessment process. They include among other conditions, establishment of an independent community based monitoring program, submission of an annual monitoring report to Saskatchewan Environment, providing effective dust control for all components of the project, and submission of a detailed quantitative and qualitative analysis of the process residue that will be stored at the site.
Community Monitoring Program
With the introduction of metals refining to the Saskatoon area, Fortune has proposed the creation of an independent community monitoring program to give residents in the area confidence that the new facility is meeting or exceeding all environmental standards. The Company will commit to fund this independent body, which will have the freedom to hire its own expert consultants to review the Company's monitoring plans prior to and during commercial operations. Appropriate consultants will report to the committee and make recommendations to the Environmental Protection Branch and Fortune.
"We recognize that Fortune and metals processing are new in this region and that people who live in the area need to know that their land, air and water supply will not be adversely affected," said Mike Romaniuk, Fortune's Vice President, Operations and Chief Operating Officer. "Just as we've looked for innovative technology to treat metals at our facility, we want to bring creative approaches to our community relationships. By providing funding to set up an independent committee, we hope to establish that our company and our operations can be trusted to deliver the levels of safety and environmental responsibility that we have promised."
About the SMPP
The SMPP lands are adjacent to the Canadian National Railway, which will be used to deliver 180 tonnes per day of bulk concentrate from the NICO mine over its expected minimum 20-year lifespan. The Company is also exploring other potential sources of concentrate that could be processed at the SMPP and is also investigating opportunities for entering the recycling business.
Once operational, the SMPP would have approximate average annual production of:
- 40,500 ounces of gold (contained in doré);
- 1,600 tonnes of cobalt (contained in cobalt sulphate heptahydrate), needed to manufacture lithium ion and nickel metal hydride batteries used in portable electronic devices and electric vehicles;
- Additional cobalt products can be produced to meet changes in market conditions;
- 1,700 tonnes of bismuth (contained in ingots, needles and an oxide compound), a non-toxic, environmentally safe replacement for lead with a broad range of industrial and commercial uses, including pharmaceuticals, cosmetics, electronics, pigments and alloys; and
- 250 tonnes of copper (contained in a metal precipitate by-product that will be sold to smelters).
Current information about the proposed project can be found in the media backgrounder, entitled, "Saskatchewan Metals Processing Plant" - click here to read.
The NICO deposit is located approximately 160 km northwest of Yellowknife and recently received its environmental assessment approval in the NT. The deposit will be mined primarily by open pit methods with underground ores also contributing mill feed during the first two years from the existing underground workings that were established from previous test mining programs. The ores will be processed at the rate of 4,650 tonnes per day in a concentrator at the site, using simple flotation to produce a bulk concentrate for shipment to the SMPP. More than $110 million of work has already been invested to advance the project, including completion of Front-End Engineering and Design and feasibility studies, underground test mining, and pilot plant tests to verify the process methods and products the Company plans to produce.
Fortune continues to work with Deloitte Corporate Finance Inc. to complete project financing agreements for the NICO project. The Company has already announced a strategic investment by Procon Resources Inc. in 2013 to provide interim financing to advance work on the project, and negotiations are ongoing to secure final project financing for the development.
The disclosure of scientific and technical information contained in this press release has been approved by Robin Goad, M.Sc., P.Geo., President and Chief Executive Officer of the Company, who is a "qualified person" under National Instrument 43-101.
About Fortune Minerals
Fortune is a diversified resource company with several mineral deposits and a number of exploration projects, all located in Canada. The Company is focused on the development of the Arctos Anthracite Project in British Columbia and the NICO gold-cobalt-bismuth-copper project in the NT and Saskatchewan. In addition, the Company owns the Sue-Dianne copper-silver-gold deposit and other exploration projects in the NT. Fortune is focused on outstanding performance and growth of shareholder value through assembly and development of high quality mineral resource projects.
This press release contains forward-looking information. This forward-looking information includes statements with respect to, among other things, the proposed development of the NICO project and the SMPP, the permitting process for the NICO project and the SMPP, the anticipated production from the SMPP, the number of jobs expected to be created by the SMPP capital cost of and the possibility that the SMPP may be able to source materials from other projects. Forward-looking information is based on the opinions and estimates of management as well as certain assumptions at the date the information is given (including, in respect of the forward-looking information contained in this press release, assumptions regarding the Company's ability to arrange necessary financing for the NICO project and the SMPP, obtain all necessary permits for the NICO project and the SMPP and assumptions regarding the capital costs of the SMPP, the production from the SMPP, and the number of jobs to be created by the SMPP. However, such forward-looking information is subject to a variety of risks and uncertainties and other factors that could cause actual events or results to differ materially from those projected in the forward-looking information. These factors include the inherent risks involved in the exploration and development of mineral properties, the risk that the Company may not be able to arrange the necessary financing to construct and operate the NICO mine or the SMPP, uncertainties with respect to the receipt or timing of required permits for the development of the NICO project or the SMPP, the possibility of delays in the commencement of production from the NICO project or construction of the SMPP, the risk of cost overruns, the risk that the Company may not be able to source materials for the SMPP from other projects and other factors. Readers are cautioned to not place undue reliance on forward-looking information because it is possible that predictions, forecasts, projections and other forms of forward-looking information will not be achieved by the Company. The forward-looking information contained herein is made as of the date hereof and the Company assumes no responsibility to update or revise it to reflect new events or circumstances, except as required by law.
SOURCE Fortune Minerals Limited