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NWT awards contract to build Tlicho Road

 

Last updated 2/22/2019 at 5:56am

Fortune Minerals Ltd.

Fortune Minerals proposed NICO Mine in Northwest Territories would produce battery-grade cobalt, gold, bismuth and copper.

Fortune Minerals Ltd. Feb. 14 reported that the Government of the Northwest Territories has signed an agreement with North Star Infrastructure GP to construct the Tlicho All-Season Road.

Following an existing winter route, the 97-kilometer (60 miles) Tlicho Road will extend from Highway 3 to Whati, a Northwest Territories community about 50 kilometers (30 miles) south of Fortune's proposed Nico cobalt-gold-bismuth-copper mine.

As part of its proposed development, Fortune plans to construct a spur road to connect with the Tlicho Road in order to enable concentrates produced from Nico to be transported south for processing to value added products.

The end products from the concentrates to be shipped from Nico include cobalt chemicals needed to manufacture lithium-ion rechargeable batteries to power electric vehicles, portable electronic devices and stationary cells to make electricity use more efficient.

According to 2014 feasibility study, mineral reserves at Nico will support a 21-year mine that would average 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 per year.

Fortune Minerals has already received its environmental assessment approval and the major permits needed to build the mine, including a 50-kilometer (30 miles) spur road to Whati.

The Tlicho Road, a two-lane gravel highway, is expected to cost C$213.8 million to build.

The Canadian federal government is providing up to 25 percent of these costs through the P3 Canada Fund and the territorial government is funding the balance through a private public partnership structure.

This partnership is with North Star, a consortium consisting of Kiewit Canada Development Corp. and the Tlicho Government, along with Design-Build partners Peter Kiewit Sons ULC, Hatch Corporation, and Thurber Engineering Ltd.

North Star will design, finance, construct, operate and maintain the Tlicho Road for a total contract value ofc $411.8 million over a 28-year period. The Tlicho government, which represents the Tlicho First Nations people of Northwest Territories, has invested approximately C$16 million to purchase a 20 percent equity interest in North Star.

–SHANE LASLEY

 

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