Fortune examines higher production rate in NICO feasibility
(7 months ago)
LONDON, ON: Fortune Minerals Limited (TSX: FT) (OTCQX: FTMDF) ("Fortune" or the "Company") (www.fortuneminerals.com) is pleased to announce a change in scope for the updated Feasibility Study in progress for its 100pc owned NICO Cobalt-Gold-Bismuth-Copper Project in Canada ("NICO Project").
Responding to positive feedback from potential strategic partners, Fortune is examining the feasibility of a 20 to 30% increase in the planned NICO production rate over the 4,650 metric tonnes ("t") of ore per day used in the previous 2014 Feasibility Study and produce between 1,700 and 2,000 t of cobalt units per year in a battery grade cobalt sulphate heptahydrate.
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Robin Goad, President and CEO of Fortune commented, "Transformative electrification of the automotive industry is accelerating as cost parity with internal combustion engines is being reached and as more governments announce future bans on gasoline and diesel-powered vehicles. Forecasts of electric vehicle adoption are increasing with estimates of up to 25% penetration of global vehicle sales by the mid 2020's. Fortune is increasing its planned cobalt production to in response to the growing cobalt supply chain bottleneck".
The NICO Project consists of a planned mine, mill and concentrator in the Northwest Territories and refinery near Saskatoon where concentrates will be processed to cobalt sulphate, gold, bismuth, and copper. NICO has already been assessed in a positive Feasibility Study in 2014, which is being updated by Hatch Ltd. ("Hatch"), P&E Mining Consultants Inc. ("P&E") and Micon International Limited ("Micon") using updated costs, commodity price and exchange rate estimates, and recent project improvements, including the examination of the proposed expanded production rate. NICO has received environmental assessment ("EA") approval and the major mine permits for the facilities in the Northwest Territories and EA approval for the refinery in Saskatchewan. NICO is attracting attention from potential partners that need reliable supplies of ethically procured cobalt with preference for a Canadian primary producer with supply chain transparency and custody control of metal from a vertically integrated project. Fortune has engaged PricewaterhouseCoopers Corporate Finance Inc. ("PwC") to arrange the project financing for the construction and operation of the project through a combination of strategic partnerships, debt and equity.
Highlights of Items Being Examined in the Updated Feasibility Study:
•Accelerating demand for lithium-ion batteries in electric vehicles and stationary storage;
•Examining a response to market demand with a 20 to 30% increase in the planned production rate and annual cobalt production of between 1,700 and 2,000 t per annum;
•Mineral Reserves being updated using higher cobalt prices and greater economies of scale from a higher production rate;
•Mine plan and schedule optimization to increase cobalt and gold production in early years of the mine life;
•Grade control and stockpiling strategy to better align bismuth output with market conditions as they evolve within a growing green economy;
•Additional metallurgical testwork completed to improve process for manganese removal from cobalt sulphate and indicating a potential cobalt recovery improvement;
•Improved copper cementation process;
•Design engineering and cost estimation proceeding for expanded production rate;
•Project Execution Plan being refined to construct the Northwest Territories facilities using existing winter roads and align mine operations with the timeline for availability of the government road to Whati;