NORTHWEST TERRITORIES – Fortune Minerals of London, ON, has filed its developers assessment report (DAR) with the Mackenzie Valley Review Board (MVRB)for the environmental assessment for its NICO gold-cobalt-bismuth-copper project. The report is the result of many years of comprehensive environmental, socio-economic and engineering work at the project.
The NICO project is located 160 km northwest of Yellowknife and 50 km north of the Tlicho community of Whati. The 31-million-tonne deposit will be developed using a combination of open pit and underground mining methods with ores processed at the rate of 4,650 t/d in a concentrator at the site over an 18-year mine life. The mill will produce approximately 180 tonnes of bulk concentrate per day for shipment south to the company’s proposed hydrometallurgical refinery near Saskatoon and further processing to high value metal products.
Other facilities that are planned at the site include a camp to accommodate employees working on a rotation basis, ancillary buildings and a 27 km all-season access road that will join the site to the proposed Tlicho Road connecting nearby communities with the highway to Yellowknife.
Since the original project design was proposed in 2008 and after consultation with the Tlicho people, Fortune has made significant improvement to minimize or eliminate environmental impacts during construction, operation and closure of the mine.
- Elimination of the mine rock management area in favour of a co-disposal facility (CDF) where mine rock and tailings will be stored together. This significantly reduces the footprint of the project and its visual impacts, and also allows for more efficient management of water to mitigate water quality impacts.
- The water management system has been optimized in terms of internal recycling within the plant, thickening of the tailings, and incorporating a high level of reclaim water from the CDF back to the concentrator. This new design has resulted in water withdrawal that is only about 10% of the volume initially predicted in the Class A Water License application, and in significantly reduced effluent discharge volumes.
- The process plant at the mine site will now produce a concentrate for shipment to the proposed hydrometallurgical refinery near Saskatoon. This relocation will result in a considerable reduction in the quantity of process chemicals that would otherwise have been shipped to and used at the mine site.
Fortune Minerals is confident that changes to the biophysical environment from the NICO development will not result in significant adverse residual impacts to valued components of aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems, such as water quality, fish and fish habitat, traditional use plants, caribou, and other wildlife. Consequently, the NICO project is not predicted to have significant adverse impacts on the traditional and non-traditional use of these ecological components.
An environmental assessment is also underway in Saskatchewan to permit the refinery.
Fortune Minerals plans to be a significant, reliable North American-based supplier of 99.8% cobalt cathode, 99.5% bismuth cathode and 99.99% bismuth ingot, gold doré, and byproduct production of copper cathode and nickel precipitate.
More details are available at www.FortuneMinerals.com.