Officials at Fortune Minerals have announced approval of their NICO gold-cobalt-bismuth-copper mine and mill in the Northwest Territories from Tlicho government authorities, the regional minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Canadian regulators.
This acceptance of the Mackenzie Valley Review Board’s Environmental Assessment in Q1 2013 allows Fortune to complete water licensing and land use applications to secure development permits, according to the company. Site preparations are under way and ahead of 2014 construction.
Fortune CEO Robin Goad hailed a “permitting milestone” contributing to “the momentum for our two key Canadian mining assets,” he said. “We are closer to our goal of transitioning to a multi-asset producer.”
NICO will begin as an open-pit operation with underground ores contributing mill feed through 2015 from previously established underground workings. The ores will be processed onsite, using flotation for concentrate for shipment to a refinery and additional processing to create high-value metal products. The deposit contains proven and probable reserves totaling 33 million metric tons (mt) containing 1,085,000 gold oz, 82 million cobalt lb, 102 million bismuth lb—representing 15% of global bismuth reserves—and 27 million copper lb.
At planned mill throughput of 4,650 ore mt/d, the reserves will sustain operations for 19.8 years, according to Fortune. More than $110 million has been invested in the NICO project, including front-end engineering and design, feasibility studies, test mining, and pilot tests to verify processing. NICO lies 50 km north of the Tlicho community of Whati.