Fortune Minerals moving to peacefully resolve Arctos coal disturbance
Following blockades of its Arctos Anthracite project by British Columbia's Tahltan First Nation, Vancouver-based Fortune Minerals Ltd. released a statement Monday saying that the company is moving to peacefully resolve the 'disturbance'.
LONDON, ON, Sept. 23, 2013 /CNW/ – Fortune Minerals Limited (TSX: FT) (OTCQX: FTMDF) ("Fortune" or the "Company") (www.fortuneminerals.com) is taking voluntary steps to assist the British Columbia ("BC") 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, (http://www2.news.gov.bc.ca/news_releases_2013-2017/2013ARR0044-001414.htm), 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 ("LRMP"). 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.
Current information on the proposed project and site can be found in the Media Backgrounder titled Arctos Anthracite Project. Click here to read (http://40rhel5streamview01.newswire.ca/media/2013/09/23/20130923-706938-31231-473b9fdf-0204-4446-80b2-9546f7dd3e31.pdf)