Tlicho all-season road near NICO project approved

LONDON, ON. — Fortune Minerals reports that the  governments of Canada and the Northwest Territories have accepted the environmental assessment approval for the modified Tlicho all-season road. The modifications were developed with the Tlicho government through a consultation process managed by the Mackenzie Valley Environmental Impact Review Board. The Tlicho government also approved the board’s recommendation with modifications.

The Tlicho Road involves the construction and operation of a permanent 97-km highway, extending north from Highway 3 to the Community of Whati in the Northwest Territorries. Fortune’s 100% owned NICO cobalt-gold-bismuth-copper project is located 50 km north of Whati and the company has already received environmental assessment approval to construct a spur road from Whati to the mine site. Construction of the NICO mine and concentrator is planned using the existing winter ice road, but all-season road access is required for mine operations in order to transport metal concentrates from the property to a refinery for downstream processing. NICO is a primary cobalt asset and Fortune says its one of the few projects outside of the Congo that can be developed to support near-term growing demand for cobalt in lithium-ion batteries needed to power electric vehicles, portable electronic devices and stationary storage cells.

Robin Goad, Fortune’s president and CEO said the company was pleased by the announcement. “This road will contribute to the socio-economic growth of the Northwest Territories, reduce the cost of living in Whati, enable families to be more connected, and allow governments to provide services more effectively,” Goad said. “It is also an important enabler for the NICO project and a catalyst for other exploration, mining and hydro opportunities on Tlicho lands in this highly prospective geological area.”

The federal government has announced that it will provide up to 25% of the construction costs for the road through the P3 Canada Fund. The territorial government has approved funding for 75% cost of the road, using a private public partnership (P3) funding structure. Three international consortia have already been shortlisted to provide proposals to fund, construct, operate and maintain the road and be repaid by the territorial government with interest. The winning bid is expected to be announced shortly.

For more information about the NICO project, go to Fortune Minerals‘ website.