Fortune Minerals is updating the 2014 feasibility study for its NICO cobalt-gold-bismuth-copper project 160 km northwest of Yellowknife. Hatch, P&E Mining Consultants and Micon International have been engaged to produce the new study.
Four scenarios are contemplated:
Meanwhile, Fortune has made a number of improvements to the cobalt process that could reduce the capital cost of the refinery by up to C$200 million. Some of those changes are increasing the autoclave temperature and pressure, recirculation of autoclave leach liquor, treating the autoclave discharge to remove manganese as well as iron and arsenic, a redesigned copper cement circuit, and production of cobalt sulphate as the end project instead of cobalt sulphate.
Changes to the bismuth process and other improvements are also on the table. Bismuth concentrate would be leached with ferric chloride as before, but the electro-winning circuit would be dropped from the plans. Instead a bismuth oxychloride would be precipitated and smelted to a purity of 99.995% ingots. Mining will be by open pit rather than underground. Any underground mining of the gold rich deeper ores would be practiced only if conditions warrant.
(This article first appeared in the Canadian Mining Journal)