Fortune Minerals announces improved flotation recoveries from Nico Pilot Plant



    Evaluation of Economic Impact Underway

    Issued Capital: 50,100,107

    LONDON, ON, Feb. 6 /CNW/ - Fortune Minerals Limited (TSX-FT) is pleased
to announce the results of the grinding and flotation components of its $4
million pilot plant being conducted at SGS Lakefield Research Limited (SGS
Lakefield) in Ontario for its wholly-owned NICO cobalt-gold-bismuth deposit in
the Northwest Territories (see Fortune news release of December 4, 2007). The
flotation recoveries for all three key products from the flotation component
of the pilot plant have significantly exceeded the recoveries used in the
Micon International Limited (Micon) 2007 full feasibility study for NICO (see
Fortune news release of January 16, 2007) and will have a significant positive
impact on project economics. As a result of these material improvements,
Fortune has retained Micon to prepare a report assessing the impacts of the
higher flotation recoveries on project economics for a number of metal prices,
currency exchange rates, and capital and operating cost sensitivity scenarios.
One of the scenarios will be at current metal prices and exchange rates, which
are approximately US$48/lb cobalt, US$900/oz gold, US$12/lb bismuth and a par
Canadian dollar relative to US$. Notably, the feasibility study used a base
case of US$16.50/lb cobalt, US$525/oz gold, US$4.50/lb bismuth and an exchange
rate of US$0.84 per Canadian dollar. This new report is expected to be
received in the next few weeks.
    "Higher recoveries mean higher metal production and lower operating costs
per unit of metal produced, both of which significantly improve the economics
of the project," said Robin Goad, Fortune's President and CEO. "Along with the
metals market, this is another strong demonstration of the increasing value we
are seeing in our NICO asset."
    The NICO pilot plant test is being conducted to provide a model for the
detailed engineering and development of the proposed process plant at NICO.
Approximately 180 tonnes of ore that was mined from two different levels of
the NICO deposit during the 2006 and 2007 underground test mining programs is
being processed at SGS Lakefield. The crushing, grinding and flotation
components of the pilot plant have been completed to produce gold-bearing
cobalt and bismuth concentrates. The hydrometallurgical parts of the pilot
plant, consisting of the recovery of cobalt metal, bismuth cement or metal,
and gold from these concentrates, are expected to be completed by May. These
results will be released as they become available.
    The crushing, grinding and flotation parts of the NICO pilot plant were
supervised by Klaus Konigsmann, P.Eng. of KVK Consulting Associates Inc., who
was part of the 2007 NICO feasibility team. Based on the results of the pilot
plant, Mr. Konigsmann has prepared revised recovery estimates for the NICO
underground and open pit mineral reserves shown in Table 1 below, with the
recoveries used in the 2007 feasibility study also shown for comparison.
Notably, recoveries for cobalt, bismuth, and gold with ore head grades greater
than 3.5 g/t are now estimated to be significantly higher than the recoveries
used in the 2007 feasibility study.

    
       Table 1 - Percentage of metal recovered in flotation concentrate
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                          2007
                                          Feasi-      New Model
                                          bility      from Pilot
                                          Study, %    Plant, %   Concentrate
                     Metal                Recovery    Recovery   Grades %
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Underground      Cobalt                  85          90         3.5
    Ores             --------------------------------------------------------
    (As:Co           Bismuth                 65          70          45
    Ratio 5.55/1)    --------------------------------------------------------
                     Gold                    74          81
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Open Pit Ores    Cobalt                  83          90         2.7
    (As:Co           --------------------------------------------------------
     Ratio 9.67/1)   Bismuth                 58          70          45
                     --------------------------------------------------------
                     Gold ((greater than)
                     4.5 g/t)                74          81
                     --------------------------------------------------------
                     Gold (3.5-4.5 g/t)      72          75
                     --------------------------------------------------------
                     Gold (2.5-3.5 g/t)      70          70
                     --------------------------------------------------------
                     Gold (1.5-2.5 g/t)      66          65
                     --------------------------------------------------------
                     Gold (0.5-1.5 g/t)      60          60
                     --------------------------------------------------------
                     Gold ((less than)
                     0.5 g/t)                50          56
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------

    The NICO pilot plant was conducted using two samples of ores composited to
simulate:

        1) a blend of open pit and underground ores that will be mined during
           the first two years of the NICO mine life; and,
        2) the average grade of open pit ores after year 3.

    Results of flotation from these samples, which demonstrated an
arsenic/cobalt ratio of approximately 4:1, are shown in Tables 2 and 3 below.
The difference in flotation recoveries reported in Table 1 for underground and
open pit average grades reflects the adjustment made for differences in the
feed ore grades between the samples tested in the pilot plant and the reserve
grades as shown in Table 4.


             Table 2 - Actual Recovery for simulated Underground
                      and Open Pit blend in Pilot Plant
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Product       Weight          Analyses         Average Recovery (Min-Max)
                  -----------------------------------------------------------
                     %      Co,%    Bi,%     Au,     Co,%     Bi,%    Au,%
                                             g/t
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Feed           100.0    0.10    0.18    2.71
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Cobalt Conc.     2.4    3.65     0.6      18      88               16
                                                   (86-90)
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Bismuth Conc    0.30    0.83      45     493               73      53
                                                            (72-76)
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Tailings        97.3    0.01   0.035    0.88
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Gold Recovery in this table is by flotation only. However, the bulk
    cleaner scavenger tailings contain 12% of the gold on average. The gold
    recovered by cyanidation of the bulk cleaner tailings is not included in
    the gold recovery tabulated above.


             Table 3 - Production: Actual Recovery for simulated
                         Open Pit ore in Pilot Plant
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Product       Weight          Analyses         Average Recovery (Min-Max)
                  -----------------------------------------------------------
                     %      Co,%    Bi,%     Au,     Co,%     Bi,%    Au,%
                                             g/t
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Feed           100.0    0.11    0.26    0.91
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Cobalt Conc.    2.63     3.7     0.7       4      89               11
                                                   (88-90)
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Bismuth Conc    0.39    0.46      49     110               74      47
                                   (43-52)                  (66-76)
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Tailings        97.0   0.011   0.052    0.39
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Bulk Cleaner Scavenger tailings contain roughly 12% of the gold; however
    gold content of this product stream is low and - when less than 1 g/t Au
    and depending on the price of gold - would only be recovered for ores
    with higher head grades.


         Table 4 - NICO deposit Proven and Probable Mineral Reserves
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
                   Tonnes      Au g/t       Bi %        Co %    As/Co Ratio
                 ------------------------------------------------------------
    Open Pit     20,613,000     0.85        0.16        0.13        9.67
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Underground   1,204,000     5.07        0.19        0.14        5.55
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    As arsenic/cobalt ratio increases, the cobalt concentrate grade
    decreases; and is a critical parameter for generation of the model as
    demonstrated by Table 1.
    

    Details of the NICO Proven and Probable Mineral Reserves can be seen in
the January 16, 2007 news release announcing the results of the Micon full
feasibility study for NICO and also in Fortune's Annual Information Form
available on the Sedar Website (www.sedar.com). The reserves were estimated by
Micon and P&E Mining Consultants Inc. with Mr. Terrence Hennessey, P.Geo and
Mr. Eugene Puritch, P.Eng. as the Qualified Persons for NI 43-101.

    Other results achieved in the crushing, grinding and flotation components
of the NICO pilot plant are as follows:

    
    -  Grinding and flotation circuits could be returned to steady state
       operation quickly following upset;
    -  Rod Mill Work Index was higher than earlier test work had indicated;
    -  Ball Mill Work Index was equal to what had been predicted;
    -  A finer primary grind was used (K80 of 55-60 microns instead of
       74 microns) and will increase the power consumption for plant design;
    -  Flotation results were achieved without the addition of pH controlling
       agents;
    -  The majority of the pilot plant runs were conducted using re-cycled
       tailings thickener overflow as the process water, confirming the
       validity of the plant design using a high percentage of re-cycled
       process water;
    -  Tailings settled well;
    -  Flotation times and cell volumes in the pilot plant were balanced, and
       basic volume data have been obtained for cell selection in the NICO
       process plant.
    

    Fortune has an experienced team of metallurgists and engineers that has
been working on the metallurgical treatment of NICO ores for many years. The
pilot plant and process engineering for the proposed NICO plant is being
supervised by Michael Samuels, B.Eng., Fortune's Manager of Process
Development. Fortune also has an owner's team of independent consultants that
has been assembled in support of the pilot plant study with Klaus Konigsmann,
P.Eng. supervising flotation and Al Hayden, P.Eng. and Joe Ferron, Ph.D.
overseeing hydrometallurgical processing. In addition, the SGS Lakefield team
is being led by Alex Mezei, P.Eng. (the Qualified Person for the pilot plant
for NI 43-101) and Dan Imeson, M.Sc.
    NICO, located in the Northwest Territories, approximately 160km northwest
of Yellowknife, is targeted for production in 2010. The feasibility study
identified reserves of 21.8 million tonnes containing 61 million pounds of
cobalt, 760,000 ounces of gold and 77 million pounds of bismuth within a
larger lower grade resource. NICO will be mined using a combination of open
pit and underground mining with a process plant to produce cobalt cathode,
gold doré, and bismuth cement or metal. Fortune has purchased the Golden Giant
mill at Hemlo Ontario for dismantling and relocation to NICO (see News release
November 5, 2007). Fortune has also submitted its applications for permitting
of the NICO mine to the Wek' eezhii Land and Water Board.

    About Fortune Minerals

    Fortune Minerals is a diversified natural resource company with seven
mineral deposits and a number of exploration projects, all located in Canada.
They include the Mount Klappan anthracite coal deposits in British Columbia,
and the NICO cobalt-gold-bismuth deposit, the Sue-Dianne copper-silver deposit
and other base and precious metals exploration projects in the Northwest
Territories. Fortune Minerals is focussed on outstanding performance and
growth of shareholder value through assembly and development of high quality
mineral resource projects.

    This press release contains forward-looking information. This
forward-looking information includes, or may be based upon, estimates,
forecasts, and statements as to management's expectations with respect to,
among other things, the size and quality of the Company's mineral resources,
progress in development of mineral properties, demand and market outlook for
metals and future metal prices. Forward-looking information is based on the
opinions and estimates of management at the date the information is given, and
is subject to a variety of risks and uncertainties and other factors that
could cause actual events or results to differ materially from those projected
in the forward-looking information. These factors include the inherent risks
involved in the exploration and development of mineral properties,
uncertainties with respect to the receipt or timing of required permits and
regulatory approvals, the uncertainties involved in interpreting drilling
results and other geological data, fluctuating metal prices, the possibility
of project cost overruns or unanticipated costs and expenses, uncertainties
relating to the availability and costs of financing needed in the future and
other factors. Mineral resources that are not mineral reserves do not have
demonstrated economic viability. Inferred mineral resources are considered too
speculative geologically to have economic considerations applied to them that
would enable them to be categorized as mineral reserves. There is no certainty
that mineral resources will be converted into mineral reserves. The
forward-looking information contained herein is given as of the date hereof
and the Company assumes no responsibility to update or revise such information
to reflect new events or circumstances, except as required by law.





For further information:

For further information: Fortune Minerals Limited, Robin Goad,
President, Tel.: (519) 858-8188, Fax: (519) 858-8155,
info@fortuneminerals.com, www.fortuneminerals.com; Greg Taylor, Investor &
Public Relations, Tel: (905) 337-7673, Cell: (416) 605-5120, Fax: (905)
844-6532, gtaylor@fortuneminerals.com


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