LONDON, ONT. — Fortune Minerals recently announced it has signed a community benefits agreement (CBA) with the Government of the Northwest Territories (GNWT) in relation to the development of the proposed NICO Cobalt-Gold-Bismuth-Copper Project.
The agreement is intended to secure northern and Indigenous employment, training, business opportunities and education, said a statement. It also contains measures to “identify and mitigate socio-economic impacts” arising from development of the mine and related facilities in Tlicho Territory, located approximately 160 kilometres northwest of Yellowknife.
The NICO Project is a primary cobalt deposit that also contains more than a million ounces of gold and approximately 12 per cent of global bismuth reserves. It is one of the few deposits outside of the Congo that can be developed to meet demand for cobalt in lithium-ion batteries to power electric vehicles, portable electronic devices and stationary cells, the statement indicated.
The agreement was signed at the AME Cordilleran Roundup, a global exploration and mining conference in Vancouver, by Robin Goad, president and CEO of Fortune, GNWT Minister of Industry, Tourism and Investment Wally Schumann and GNWT Minister of Health Glen Abernethy.
Goad commented in the release, “Formalizing our contribution to the livelihoods and quality of life of residents of the communities in which we operate is a key objective of our company. The NICO Project will contribute energy and eco-metals to support the growing green economy and enable the Northwest Territories to further capitalize on its significant mineral resource endowment.”
Last November it was announced that North Star Infrastructure was selected as the preferred proponent to fund, construct, operate and maintain the new Tlicho All-Season Road.
The Tlicho Road will be a permanent 97-kilometre highway, extending north from Highway 3 to the community of Whati, site of the NICO mine.
North Star Infrastructure is a consortium of Kiewit Canada Development Corporation, Peter Kiewit and Sons, Hatch Corporation and Thurber Engineering Ltd. Road construction is anticipated to begin in the fall of 2019.