Nico pact addresses mine impacts, benefits
North of 60 Mining News – February 2, 2019
Last updated 9/25/2020 at 1:54pm
Fortune Minerals Jan. 30 announced that it has entered into a socioeconomic agreement with the Northwest Territories government for the proposed Nico cobalt-gold-bismuth-copper project about 160 kilometers (100 miles) northwest of Yellowknife.
Signed at the Association for Mineral Exploration Roundup in Vancouver, British Columbia, the agreement formalizes objectives to maximize northern and indigenous employment, training, business opportunities, and education to benefit residents of the Northwest Territories. The pact also establishes measures to identify and mitigate socioeconomic impacts arising from development of the mine and related facilities at Nico, which is in the territory of the Tlicho First Nations.
"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," said Fortune Minerals President and CEO Robin Goad. "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."
The primary metal at Nico is cobalt, an essential ingredient to optimizing the performance of the rechargeable batteries used in electric vehicles, stationary power storage, smart phones, tablets, laptops and other portable electronic devices.
According to a feasibility study published in 2014, a mine at Nico would produce an average of 1,615 metric tons of battery-grade cobalt; 41,300 ounces of gold; 1,750 metric tons of bismuth; and 265 metric tons of copper annually over a span of 21 years.
Fortune has already received its environmental assessment approval and the major permits needed to build the mine and refinery and is working to secure financing for the development.
The socioeconomic agreement – signed by Fortune Minerals CEO Goad; Wally Schumann, minister of industry, tourism and investment, Northwest Territories; and Glen Abernethy, minister of health, Northwest Territories – marks another milestone toward the development of Nico.
"The Government of the Northwest Territories continues to work hard to improve the investment climate and support the responsible development of the NWT's natural resources," said Schumann. "The Nico project is important for our territory's future and I am happy to see this milestone reached with Fortune Minerals."