TORONTO (miningweekly.com) – The Wek'èezhìi Land and Water Board has approved a staging (interim) land use permit for TSX-listed project developer Fortune Minerals’ Nico gold/cobalt/bismuth/copper mine, in the Northwest Territories.
The permit allows Fortune to conduct land-based early works at the site, including staging equipment and site preparation activities before the full mine permits are received around mid-year.
Fortune on Thursday said that subject to receiving financing and the full mine permits, the company would be well-positioned to start construction of the mine and concentrator.
"This is an additional milestone towards Fortune's goal of developing the Nico mine, which together with planned legacy road and power infrastructure, would contribute positively to local communities and the economy of the Northwest Territories,” Fortune’s director of regulatory and environmental affairs, Dr Rick Schryer, said.
Fortune noted that it continued to work with Deloitte Corporate Finance to complete project-financing agreements for the project. The company had last year already announced a strategic investment by Procon Resources to provide interim financing to advance work on the project, and negotiations were ongoing to secure final project financing for the development.
POWER SYSTEM PLAN
Fortune also said that it was supporting the Northwest Territories power system plan announced recently by the Northwest Territories government. The objectives of this plan were to improve electrical affordability and reliability to communities, industry and new mineral developments, while also creating jobs and achieving energy self-sufficiency.
The plan would play a critical role in establishing a single interconnected power grid between the Snare/Yellowknife grid, north of Great Slave Lake, and the Talston grid, south of the lake, where there was surplus hydro power, thereby reducing the region’s dependency on higher-cost diesel-generated electricity.
The new planned supplemental power generation from cleaner and lower cost liquid natural gas and renewable-energy initiatives, the establishment of an expanded public sector-owned transmission network between communities, and a hub and spur connectivity strategy for resource projects to connect into the grid would also form part of the plan.
The new regional grid would also have the potential to interconnect with Saskatchewan, or Alberta, to stabilise the system and tie into the North American grid.
With surplus power now expected to be available from a consolidated Northwest Territories electrical grid, Fortune said it was working with the NT Power Corporation (NTPC) to connect the Nico project into the Snare/Yellowknife grid, which was located about 22 km from the proposed mine site.
The company had already received attractive indicative pricing from NTPC and was working with it on a connection study that would allow Fortune to enter into a long-term contract with firm power rates.
This study was expected to be complete later this month.
"The provision of more reliable, lower-cost electricity will enhance the economics of the Nico project, while also improving the quality of life in northern communities - a win-win for all stakeholders,” Fortune president and CEO Robin Goad said.