Fortune Minerals Limited (TSX: FT) (OTCQX: FTMDF) is taking voluntary steps to assist the British Columbia and Tahltan Governments in peacefully resolving a disturbance that has been occurring at the Company’s Arctos Anthracite metallurgical coal project site in Northwestern BC.
While all of Fortune’s activities at the project site are focused on gathering necessary information that will be used in a BC environmental assessment process, and are duly authorized by permits issued by the BC Government, the Company has faced disruptive and damaging protests. The Company remains 100% committed to developing the project and Fortune will voluntarily cease its summer field program activities and withdraw from the project site for several months to allow the Tahltan and BC Governments to continue their talks.
“It is our sincere hope that this show of good faith by Fortune will help bring resolution to issues at and near our Arctos project site including any protests,” said Robin Goad, President and CEO of Fortune. “While the Company has made the decision to give the time and space needed for discussions, there is still a full commitment on the part of both Fortune and its partner to move forward with the environmental assessment and the project”.
Fortune’s work to date at the Arctos project site has involved a limited amount of drilling to gather geochemical and geotechnical information that will be used in the environmental assessment process. That process considers environmental, social, heritage and economic values, including Traditional Knowledge, so that the merits and impacts of a proposed project can be considered, with a goal of making an informed decision on whether a proposed project should proceed. The process also provides interested parties with extensive opportunities to express their views in a legally appropriate way. Representatives of First Nations in the proximity of a project sit as integral members of a working group that provides input and advice throughout the entire environmental assessment process.
Fortune takes this action in good faith and in recognition of the BC Government statement of September 17, 2013, and on the clear understanding that the Arctos Anthracite Project will not be part of any protected areas. Development of the Arctos project is consistent with the 2000 Cassiar-Iskut-Stikine Land Resource Management Plan. While the LRMP, which was developed by the BC Government with extensive local input, including Tahltan people, set aside 26% of 5.2 million hectares as “Protected Area”, it also identified “substantial resources of high grade metallurgical coal” at the Arctos Anthracite Project area as appropriate for mining.
About the Arctos Project
The Arctos Project is one of the world’s premier metallurgical coal developments with very large resources and reserves of high rank anthracite coal in northwest BC. Anthracite is the highest quality coal and is used in steel making, metals processing and other specialized products such as carbon filters for water purification. The project is an international collaboration between Fortune (80%) and POSCAN (20%), the Canadian subsidiary of South Korea’s POSCO, one of the world’s largest steel producers. Substantial work totaling more than $100 million has already been completed on the project to conduct resource delineation, engineering, feasibility and environmental studies as well as test mining and processing at the site for trial cargos of products to potential customers in North America, Asia and Europe.
The Arctos Project is located 330 km northeast of the Port of Prince Rupert and straddles the existing BC Railway right-of-way that was constructed by the BC Government in the 1970’s and was substantially completed to the site. This existing brownfield transportation corridor is planned to be completed with rail to the current terminus of track, 150 km south of the proposed mine where the Canadian National Railway is operating. The railway provides a simple and scalable transportation solution to the Ridley Coal Terminal in Prince Rupert for export of metallurgical coal products to overseas steel manufacturers and metal processors.
A positive feasibility study for the Arctos Project was completed in 2012 by Marston & Marston Inc., a division of Golder Associates Inc. This study indicates a 25-year mine life, expected to contribute 500 direct jobs and 1,000 jobs in supporting activities and generate more than $10 billion in revenues and $900 million in combined federal and provincial taxes. There is good potential to extend the mine life from the very large mineral resource base currently recognized on the Arctos licenses.
The disclosure of scientific and technical information contained in this news release has been approved by Robin Goad, M.Sc., P.Geo., President and CEO 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 BC and the vertically integrated NICO gold-cobalt-bismuth-copper project that is comprised of a mine and mill in the Northwest Territories 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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