Rezoning for planned Nico refinery denied
North of 60 Mining News – April 1, 2019
Last updated 9/25/2020 at 2:32pm
Fortune Minerals Ltd. March 26 reported that the Rural Municipality of Corman Park near the town of Langham, Saskatchewan has rejected the company's application for rezoning required to construct and operate a facility to process metal concentrates from the company's planned NICO cobalt-gold-bismuth-copper mine in the Northwest Territories.
Fortune acquired 478 acres of Corman Park lands for this refinery after consulting with the Saskatchewan Ministry of Economy and the Saskatoon Regional Economic Development Authority, who were hopeful that the planned facility would be located in Saskatchewan.
The Saskatchewan Ministry of Environment approved the environmental requisite for building the refinery in 2014.
"The proposal was assessed to be both environmentally and technically sound, providing both environmental safeguards and outlining company plans to ensure Saskatchewan's air, water, and natural resources are protected throughout the duration of the project and after," the ministry wrote of the proposed project.
Before construction of the refinery could begin, however, these lands needed to be rezoned from agriculture to M2 rural industrial.
Fortune is disappointed that Langham has decided not to approve the rezoning at Corman Park and the economic opportunities that the proposed facility would bring to the area.
It would take 80 to 90 full-time employees to operate the plant, which would result in roughly C$9 million in annual payroll. When you include the indirect jobs, contracting opportunities during construction and operating expenses, this refinery could have meant around C$1 billion of opportunity over the initial 21-year life of the Nico Mine.
At the same time, the refinery would have produced an 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.
Over the past several months, Fortune has been working on alternate plans in the event that the request to rezone the land was denied.
The company said that the Saskatchewan government continues to support its plans for the refinery and other locations in the province are being considered.
Fortune is also evaluating a lower cost start-up option of selling metal concentrates and gold doré directly from the proposed mine to defer construction of a refinery.
The company is also considering its options for the property it owns in Corman Park.