Fortune Minerals Limited (TSX: FT) (OTCQX: FTMDF) is pleased to announce receipt of a Tlicho Land Access Agreement for the Company’s NICO gold-cobalt-bismuth-copper project in the Northwest Territories. This is one of the first permits issued under the Tlicho Government’s new Land Use Plan Law that came into effect on June 1, 2013, ending the moratorium on development on Tlicho owned lands. This permit will allow the Company to complete geotechnical and other work needed for detailed engineering for the NICO Project Access Road this summer. Subject to receipt of final permits and financing, Fortune plans to commence site preparations at NICO this summer, including construction of laydown areas to receive equipment and materials this winter required for construction in 2014.
The Tlicho Land Use Plan Law was initiated by the Tlicho Government following completion of the Tlicho Land Claim and Self Government Agreement signed with the federal and Northwest Territories governments in 2005. In addition to the establishment of self-government, this agreement gave the Tlicho Government fee simple ownership of approximately 39,000 square kilometres of lands surrounding the NICO project. These lands represent one of the largest single blocks of privately owned lands in Canada (approximately half the size of New Brunswick) and host significant mineral potential. The Land Use Plan Law sets a framework for development on Tlicho lands, including consideration of transportation corridors, utility and hydropower corridors, and mineral and other development. Existing mining leases and mineral claims, such as NICO, have been grandfathered into the Tlicho Agreement.
In a letter to Fortune, Tlicho Grand Chief Eddie Erasmus commented, “Your company is a significant investor in mineral resources surrounded by Tlicho fee simple lands. We are confident that our Land Use Plan Law will provide guidance to your company with respect to the various requests for access through our lands for the scheduling of mine development.”
The NICO gold-cobalt-bismuth-copper project comprises a proposed underground and open pit mine and mill in the NT that will produce a bulk concentrate for shipment to a refinery and processing to high value metal products. The Mackenzie Valley Review Board completed its environmental assessment report in January of this year and recommended approval of the mine and mill. The report and recommendation has been submitted to the Tlicho Government and the Minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development for their approval and signature. The proposed mine is located 50 km north of the Tlicho community of Whati and 160 km northwest of the City of Yellowknife.
Fortune continues to work with Deloitte & Touche Corporate Finance Canada to attract one or more strategic partners to provide the project financing for the NICO project. NICO is planned to become a Canadian-based producer of cobalt with 15% of global bismuth reserves and a significant gold co-product and presents an attractive opportunity for prospective partners to secure a reliable source of supply of these metals. Discussions are ongoing with several parties interested in participating in the development of the NICO project.
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 vertically integrated NICO gold-cobalt-bismuth-copper project that is comprised of a mine and mill in the NT that will produce a bulk concentrate for shipment to a refinery for processing to high value metal products. 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.
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