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Fortune tests five Nico expansion targets

That could extend cobalt-copper-bismuth-gold mineralization North of 60 Mining News – September 24, 2021

Fortune Minerals Ltd. Sept. 23 announced the start of a 3,000-meter resource expansion and exploration drill program at its Nico cobalt-copper-bismuth-gold project in Canada's Northwest Territories.

Nico hosts 33.1 million metric tons of proven and probable reserves averaging 0.11% (82 million pounds) cobalt, 0.14% (110 million lb) bismuth, 0.04% (27 million lb) copper, and 1.03 grams per metric ton (1.1 million ounces) gold.

This unique mix of critical, precious, and base metals makes Nico an intriguing project to provide a North American supply of the cobalt and copper needed for electric vehicles and renewable energy; bismuth used in thin-film solar panels; and gold to provide extra cash and act as a natural hedge to the base and critical metals.

Having received environmental assessment approval and the major mine permits for the facilities in Northwest Territories, Nico is one of the most advanced cobalt development assets outside of the Democratic Republic of Congo. As such, this northern Canada project has the potential to help mitigate supply chain and policy risks from the geographic concentration of production in the DRC and China.

According to a 2020 plan, a mine at Nico and an associated refinery in a Canadian province such as Saskatchewan would produce an average of 1,800 metric tons of battery-grade cobalt sulfate; 1,700 metric tons of bismuth; 300 metric tons of copper; and 47,000 oz of gold annually over an initial 14 years of mining.

Work in recent years indicates that the mineralization extends well beyond the deposit.

A geophysical survey carried out last fall identified a number of coincident magnetic, gravity, magnetotelluric, chargeability, and resistivity anomalies, including some with previous drilling that encountered significant gold and cobalt intersections.

East extension of Nico – Fortune plans to drill four holes to test for an extension of Nico below volcanic cover. The company says a fence of holes drilled at the east end of the Nico deposit in 1997 were terminated short of the rock type that hosts the deposit. A fault has also been identified in this area that has likely displaced the east continuation of the deposit. Geophysics has identified coincident magnetic, chargeability, and resistivity anomalies extending several hundred meters east of the presently defined terminus of the deposit, indicating the potential expansion in this area.

Ralph zone – A narrow zone of cobalt-gold-bismuth mineralization similar to the Nico deposit is exposed at the surface roughly 600 meters east of the known deposit. This zone was tested by four holes drilled in 1997, two of which identified significant alteration, including a three-meter interval averaging 1.1 g/t gold. With the primary focus on Nico at the time, no further drilling was completed at Ralph. This zone is associated with a strong magnetic feature that extends the east end of the Nico deposit. There is also a partly coincident chargeability high that extends to the east of the known showing and has not been tested. Fortune plans to drill two holes at Ralph zone.

Peanut Lake zone – A strong magnetic anomaly more than 500 meters in diameter with coincident gravity and partly coincident chargeability high anomalies at Peanut Lake is yet to be explained. Five holes were drilled to test the north rim of the magnetic feature in 1997, three of which intersected significant grades. Highlighted intercepts from these holes include three meters averaging 1.76 g/t gold and 0.113% cobalt; three meters averaging 1.82 g/t gold; three meters averaging 1.105 g/t gold and 0.355% cobalt; and three meters averaging 1.16 g/t gold and 0.06% cobalt. The peak chargeability high was not tested. Three holes are planned to test the strike continuation of these cobalt-gold intersections, including the chargeability high.

Road Cut – Road construction carried out at Nico in 2019 unearthed altered bedrock and boulders with sulfide mineralization similar to the Nico deposit about 800 meters southwest of the 1997 Peanut Lake drill holes. Grab samples collected from this newly exposed mineralization returned up to 1.6% copper. The area is otherwise covered by overburden and wetlands. Despite the presence of significant sulfide mineralization, there was little geophysical response identified in the 2020 geophysical survey, except a moderate chargeability high feature located 300 meters north of where the Road Cut sulfides are encountered. Three holes are planned to test the extent of the sulfides and identify the chargeability anomaly.

Magnetic Anomaly A – Fortune is also planning to drill one hole to test a strong, partly coincident magnetic and chargeability anomalies identified approximately 800 meters northeast of the Nico deposit. A surface copper showing at this target is associated with a unique cordierite alteration that is sometimes associated with base metal deposits. Two holes were previously drilled to test the peak of Magnetic Anomaly A in 1997, one of which intersected low-grade copper, plus two meters averaging 1.8 g/t gold and 0.115% cobalt. Fortune says neither of these holes tested the chargeability peak.

Drilling is expected to begin at the end of this week.

Author Bio

Shane Lasley, Publisher

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Over his more than 16 years of covering mining and mineral exploration, Shane has become renowned for his ability to report on the sector in a way that is technically sound enough to inform industry insiders while being easy to understand by a wider audience.


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