Fortune Minerals agrees to fund study of gold-copper project in NWT

Fortune Minerals (TSE:FT), the Ontario company behind a huge anthracite coal project in BC, has signed a cooperation agreement with a native group for its NICO gold–bismuth-copper project in the Northwest Territories, Canada.

“The signing of this agreement expands on our existing long-term relationship with the Tlicho Government and the Tlicho people”, said Fortune Minerals President Robin Goad.  “The agreement lays the foundation for discussions on fundamental topics of interest such as the possible environmental and cultural impacts of the NICO Project on Tlicho owned lands.”

Under the agreement, which is similar to an MOU, the company agrees to pay for a study that will examine the project’s potential impacts on the environment and the Tlicho people.

Stock in Fortune Minerals was down 4.35% near the end of trading on Wednesday.

The NICO project is located 160 km northwest of Yellowknife, NWT. The 31 million-tonne deposit would be a combination open-pit and underground mine. Ore would be processed at 4,650 tonnes per day over an 18-year mine life.

CBC reports the mine still needs to have a road built to extract the ore. A road was allowed under a previous environmental assessment by the Mackenzie Valley Environmental Review Board, but the Tlicho disagreed, saying the inclusion of the road did not respect the band’s moratorium on development.

Fortune recently signed a joint venture agreement with POSCO, the third largest steelmaker, whereby POSCO will pay 20% of the capital costs in developing Fortune’s Mount Klappan anthracite coal deposit, located in northwest British Columbia.  In exchange, POSCO will receive 20% of the mine’s production.

Mount Klappan is Canada’s only known deposit of anthracite — a high-carbon coal used in steelmaking and as a blended coal for coke production — and one of the world’s largest undeveloped deposits of metallurgical coal. There are 2.8 billion tonnes of coal spread over four areas, including 231 million tonnes in the measured and indicated category.