Major permitting completed for the mine and concentrator in the Northwest Territories
Issued Capital: 188,158,720
LONDON, ON, June 20, 2014 /CNW/ - Fortune Minerals Limited (TSX: FT) (OTCQX: FTMDF) ("Fortune" or the "Company") (www.fortuneminerals.com) announces that the Wek'èezhìi Land and Water Board in Canada's Northwest Territories ("NT") has issued the Land Use Permit and approved the Type A Water License required to construct and operate the NICO gold-cobalt-bismuth-copper mine and concentrator on the Company's mining leases located 160 km northwest of Yellowknife and 50 km north of the Tlicho community of Whati. These are the primary permits required to develop the NICO project following completion of the Company's environmental assessment ("EA") for the project in 2013 (see News Release, dated July 19, 2013). The Company can now commence construction of the mine upon receipt of project financing and after making the initial closure bond payments to the Government of the Northwest Territories ("GNWT"). Fortune continues to work with Deloitte Corporate Finance Canada Inc. to secure project financing and negotiations are advancing with a strategic partner and its banks.
On June 18, 2014 Fortune was issued the Land Use Permit and the Type A Water License was recommended to the Honourable J. Michael Miltenberger, GNWT Minister of Environment and Natural Resources, for final approval and signature under the Mackenzie Valley Resource Management Act. These permits were issued following a rigorous regulatory process that involved review and input from the Tłįchǫ Government, Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada, Environment Canada, and the GNWT. The process considered the Measures outlined by the Mackenzie Valley Impact Review Board in their earlier EA of the project as well as conditions required pursuant to the Tłįchǫ Land Settlement and Self Government Agreement, and the transition of powers from the federal government to the GNWT following devolution.
Dr. Richard Schryer, Director of Regulatory and Environmental Affairs for Fortune commented, "With these permits now in hand, Fortune can commence construction of NICO. The Company is continuing to work collaboratively with the Tłįchǫ people, local communities and governments to make this a successful project that contributes positively to the economy and social fabric of the Northwest Territories. We are particularly proud that NICO will be a catalyst for important legacy infrastructure development, including the proposed Tlicho Road and an expanded electrical grid that will also service nearby communities."
Robin Goad, President and Chief Executive Officer of Fortune commented, "We are very pleased to be in a position to construct the NICO mine and concentrator upon receipt of financing. This positions the Company for organic growth after entering into an agreement to purchase the Revenue Silver Mine in Colorado." (see News Release, dated May 9, 2014). He also said, "It is very gratifying to see NICO advance from an in-house exploration success to become a shovel-ready development asset after the expenditure of more than $110 million over many years to validate the project and reduce risks from its development. I want to congratulate all of our team members who contributed to achieving the critical milestones as we transition into the project execution and construction phase of the development."
The NICO Project consists of a proposed open pit and underground mine and mill in the NT that will produce a bulk concentrate for shipment to the planned Saskatchewan Metals Processing Plant ("SMPP") near Saskatoon for further processing to high value metal and chemical products. NICO is positioned to become a reliable, fully vertically integrated North American producer of gold, bismuth metals & chemicals, cobalt chemicals, and by-product copper. As a North American project, NICO is expected to command significant interest from manufacturers that have concerns about the concentration of supply for both cobalt and bismuth in just two countries. More than 60% of cobalt mine production is currently sourced from the politically unstable Democratic Republic of the Congo and 43% of refinery production is from China. Bismuth is principally sourced from China, which accounts for approximately 80% of mine production and most of the refining. NICO will also benefit by selling into the North American and European Union markets where it has advantages from lower transportation costs and exemptions from paying excise duties and tariffs under the North American Free Trade Agreement ("NAFTA").
The SMPP will produce cobalt sulphate heptahydrate, a chemical needed to manufacture lithium ion and nickel metal hydride rechargeable batteries that are experiencing significant demand growth in portable electronic devices and electric vehicles. Fortune recently received a report from Commodities Research Unit ("CRU") in the United Kingdom that confirmed the opportunity of producing cobalt sulphate for the rechargeable battery industry, its potential for growth, and the premiums that are realized in various jurisdictions for the cobalt contained in sulphate over cobalt metal. The SMPP will also produce bismuth ingots and needles as well as bismuth oxide that have important uses in the automotive and pharmaceutical industries. Bismuth is experiencing significant demand growth as an environmentally safe and non-toxic replacement for lead in a number of important products where lead has been banned by legislation or reduced from policies governing the use of toxic metals. These include solders, brasses, steels and other alloys used in potable drinking water sources, electronics, cosmetics, greases, ceramic glazes, pigments and other products where there are environmental and / or health concerns.
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 Fortune Minerals Limited, who is a "Qualified Person" under National Instrument 43-101.
About Fortune Minerals
Fortune is a diversified North American mining and development company. It is the Operator of the Revenue silver-gold-lead-zinc mine in Colorado, U.S.A. Fortune is also developing the vertically integrated NICO gold-cobalt-bismuth-copper mine and mill in the NT, the proposed refinery in Saskatchewan, and the Arctos anthracite metallurgical coal project in British Columbia. The Company also 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, development and operation 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 Company's expectations with respect to the anticipated development of, and construction at, the NICO project and the SMPP, the anticipated production from the NICO project and the SMPP, arranging financing for the NICO project and the SMPP, the anticipated expansion of the NT electrical grid and the connection of the NICO project thereto and the proposed acquisition of the majority interest in the Revenue Silver Mine ("RSM")not currently owned by the Company. 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 project and acquisition financing and connect the NICO project to the NT electrical grid). 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 inherent volatility of metal prices, the risk that the Company may not be able to arrange the necessary financing to construct and operate the NICO mine or the SMPP or to complete the acqusition of the RSM, uncertainties with respect to the receipt or timing of all applicable permits for the development of the NICO project and the SMPP, the risk that the expansion of the NT electrical grid may not proceed as expected, the risk that the Company may not be able to arrange for the connection of the NICO project to the NT electrical grid in a timely fashion or on positive commercial terms 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