The Company congratulates the Northwest Territories, federal and Tlicho governments on this important infrastructure initiative and key enabler for the NICO development
Fortune Minerals Limited (TSX: FT) (OTCQB: FTMDF) (“Fortune” or the “Company”) (www.fortuneminerals.com) is pleased to report that the Tlicho all-season road linking the community of Whati to the national highway system will open to the public on November 30, 2021 (see November 3, 2021 Joint Government News Release). This initiative of the Northwest Territories (“NWT”), federal and Tlicho governments will provide year-round access to the previously isolated community of Whati reducing the cost of living, improving the delivery of services, and facilitating economic development in tourism, mineral exploration and development, and potential hydro power projects. The road is a key enabler for Fortune’s NICO Cobalt-Gold-Bismuth-Copper Project (“NICO Project”). After completion of the Company’s planned spur road to the mine, metal concentrates can be trucked to the railway at Enterprise or Hay River for delivery to Fortune’s planned refinery in southern Canada.
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“I would like to congratulate the Tlicho people on realizing a 40-year vision to establish this essential road link to the community of Whati, which will also make the winter ice roads extending north to Gameti and Wekweeti more reliable with climate change. It is gratifying to see three levels of government working with industry to complete important infrastructure to improve the lives of generations of Northerners,” stated Robin Goad, President and CEO of Fortune Minerals Limited.
The Tlicho Highway is a 97-kilometre, two-lane gravel all-season road to Whati constructed by North Star Infrastructure under a 28-year, $400 million design-build-operate-maintain contract with the Government of the NWT. The capital costs include up to $53 million in federal government contributions through the Canada Infrastructure Fund.
Fortune plans to construct a 50-kilometre spur road from Whati to the mine site which was approved with the environmental assessment for the mine. The Company has also completed an Access Agreement with the Tlicho Government setting out the terms and conditions for construction of this road. With the Tlicho Highway now in place, some previously planned facilities for the mine can be eliminated, reducing capital cost escalation and construction timelines and mitigating supply chain risks during construction.
The NICO Project is a planned vertically integrated Critical Minerals development comprised of a mine and concentrator in the NWT and a hydrometallurgical refinery at a site expected to be located in Alberta or Saskatchewan, producing cobalt sulphate, gold, bismuth ingots and oxide, and copper cement. The NICO Project is one of the most advanced cobalt development assets outside of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (“DRC”) to meet the growing demand in lithium-ion batteries powering electric vehicles, portable electronics and stationary storage cells. A new vertically integrated Canadian supplier of cobalt sulphate will also reduce the geographic concentration of production and policy risks associated with DRC and Chinese domination of the supply chain. The unique metal assemblage of the 33.1 million tonne NICO Deposit includes primary cobalt, a 1.1 million ounce in-situ gold co-product, 12% of global bismuth reserves, and copper as a minor by-product.
For more detailed information about the NICO Mineral Reserves and certain technical information in this news release, please refer to the Technical Report on the NICO Project, entitled "Technical Report on the Feasibility Study for the NICO-Gold-Cobalt-Bismuth-Copper Project, Northwest Territories, Canada", dated April 2, 2014 and prepared by Micon International Limited which has been filed on SEDAR and is available under the Company's profile at www.sedar.com. The disclosure of scientific and technical information contained in this news release has been approved by Robin Goad, M.Sc., P.Geo., President and Chief Executive Officer of Fortune who is a "Qualified Person" under National Instrument 43-101.
About Fortune Minerals:
Fortune is a Canadian mining company focused on developing the NICO Cobalt-Gold-Bismuth-Copper Project in the NWT. The Company has an option to purchase lands in Saskatchewan where it may build the hydrometallurgical plant to process NICO metal concentrates and is also evaluating other brownfield locations with existing facilities to reduce project capital and operating costs. In addition, Fortune owns the satellite Sue-Dianne Copper-Silver-Gold Deposit located 25 km north of the NICO Project mine site and is a potential future source of incremental mill feed to extend the life of the NICO mill and concentrator.
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This press release contains forward-looking information and forward-looking statements within the meaning of applicable securities legislation. This forward-looking information includes statements with respect to, among other things, the Company’s plans to develop the NICO Project and the potential for the Sue-Dianne property to provide incremental mill feed to the NICO Project. 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 secure a site in southern Canada for the construction of a NICO Project refinery; the Company’s ability to arrange the necessary financing to continue operations and develop the NICO Project; the receipt of all necessary regulatory approvals for the construction and operation of the NICO Project and the related hydrometallurgical refinery and the timing thereof; growth in the demand for cobalt; the time required to construct the NICO Project; and the economic environment in which the Company will operate in the future, including the price of gold, cobalt and other by-product metals, anticipated costs and the volumes of metals to be produced at the NICO Project). 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 risks that the Company may not be able to secure a site for the construction of a refinery, the Company may not be able to finance and develop NICO on favourable terms or at all, uncertainties with respect to the receipt or timing of required permits, approvals and agreements for the development of the NICO Project, including the related hydrometallurgical refinery, the construction of the NICO Project may take longer than anticipated, the Company may not be able to secure offtake agreements for the metals to be produced at the NICO Project, the Sue-Dianne Property may not be developed to the point where it can provide mill feed to the NICO Project, the inherent risks involved in the exploration and development of mineral properties and in the mining industry in general, the market for products that use cobalt or bismuth may not grow to the extent anticipated, the future supply of cobalt and bismuth may not be as limited as anticipated, the risk of decreases in the market prices of cobalt, bismuth and other metals to be produced by the NICO Project, discrepancies between actual and estimated Mineral Resources or between actual and estimated metallurgical recoveries, uncertainties associated with estimating Mineral Resources and Reserves and the risk that even if such Mineral Resources prove accurate the risk that such Mineral Resources may not be converted into Mineral Reserves once economic conditions are applied, the Company’s production of cobalt, bismuth and other metals may be less than anticipated and other operational and development risks, market risks and regulatory risks. 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.