Fortune Minerals updates Mount Klappan coal project feasibility study with lower Canadian dollar



    
    Project economics materially enhanced

    Issued Capital: 55,550,107
    

    LONDON, ON, Jan. 8 /CNW/ - Fortune Minerals Limited (TSX-FT) ("Fortune
Minerals" or the "Company") is pleased to announce significantly improved
economics for the Lost Fox deposit at its 100% owned Mount Klappan anthracite
coal project in northwest British Columbia as a result of the current lower
Canadian dollar. The Lost Fox deposit (*)bankable (definitive) feasibility study
originally produced by Marston & Marston Inc. ("Marston") in August 2005, was
recently updated in July 2008 by Marston using an exchange rate of C$1.00 =
US$0.97 as the base case (see Fortune Minerals news release dated August 7,
2008). Since completion of this feasibility study update, the value of the
Canadian dollar has steadily declined to approximately C$1.00 = US$0.83.
Because production costs for the mine would be incurred primarily in Canadian
currency, whereas revenues would be derived from sale of products in U.S.
dollars, Fortune requested Marston to prepare a further update based on
current exchange rates. Marston has done so and results of its update show
that the cash costs per tonne of coal sold would be significantly lower and
project economics would be materially enhanced.
    The impact of the decline in the Canadian dollar relative to the U.S.
dollar from US$0.97 to US$0.83, increases the base case Pre-Tax Internal Rate
of Return (IRR) from 28.9% to 40.9% and the base case 8% discounted Pre-Tax
Net Present Value (NPV) from C$702.7 million to C$1.281 billion. The base case
cash cost per tonne of coal FOB vessel at the loading port also decreases from
US$103.59 to US$88.64 (C$106.79). However, capital costs for the first three
years of the project would increase from C$617 million to C$655 million to
reflect the cost of equipment purchased in U.S. currency.
    Lost Fox is one of four deposit areas within the Mount Klappan project
and the Marston feasibility study and its updates assess only the initial pit
in the Lost Fox deposit area. The feasibility study assessed the economics of
an open pit coal mine and process plant to produce 3 million tonnes of clean
coal products per year, consisting of a premium 10% ash ultra-low volatile
pulverized coal injection (PCI) product used to manufacture steel. The PCI
product would be transported by truck from the site to an upgraded port
facility in Stewart, British Columbia for loading and delivery to overseas
steel customers. Alternative transportation methods from the mine to the ports
of Stewart and Prince Rupert were also investigated.
    Fortune Minerals has retained CIBC World Markets Inc. to act as the
Company's financial advisor in pursuing strategic alternatives for the
advancement of Mount Klappan (see Fortune Minerals news release dated July 2,
2008). CIBC World Markets has been assisting Fortune in identifying potential
strategic partners and evaluating potential transactions for the project while
Fortune pursues a strategy of independent development of its 100% owned NICO
Cobalt-Gold-Bismuth-copper deposit in the Northwest Territories. The CIBC
engagement is still in progress.
    ((*)A bankable feasibility study is a comprehensive engineering and
economic analysis of a project (typically prepared to +/- 15% precision) that
is used by financial institutions to determine the credit worthiness of a
proposed development and project financing.)

    GENERAL INFORMATION

    The Mount Klappan project consists of 15,000 hectares of contiguous coal
licenses located 150 km northeast of the port of Stewart and 330 km northeast
of the port of Prince Rupert in northwest British Columbia. The property
straddles the BC Railway right-of-way, which provides road access to the site
from Highway 37. The Canadian National Railway Company operates on the portion
of the right-of-way between Prince George and Minaret, 150 km south of the
proposed mine site.
    The Mount Klappan project contains very large resources of high quality
anthracite, a hard coal with the highest rank, carbon and energy content and
lowest moisture and volatile content of all coals. Unique properties make
anthracite ideal for use in a broad range of metallurgical and thermal
applications, including metallurgical processing, blend coals for blast
furnace coke replacement, and charge carbon, sinter and PCI coals used in the
manufacture of steel. Only about 1% of world coal reserves are anthracite
grade, making the Mount Klappan coal a relatively uncommon premium product.
Notably, the two largest producers of anthracite products in the world, China
and Vietnam, have curtailed exports in order to satisfy their domestic
requirements, creating an attractive development opportunity for Mount
Klappan.

    COAL RE

SOURCES AND RESERVES The resources for the Mount Klappan project are identified in four distinct deposit areas referred to as Lost Fox, Hobbit-Broatch, Summit and Nass. Collectively, these contain Measured resources of 107.9 million tonnes, Indicated resources of 123 million tonnes, plus 2.572 billion tonnes in the Inferred and Speculative classes (see Fortune Minerals news release, dated June 22, 2004). The in-situ and PCI product coal reserves were estimated for the initial open pit mine at the Lost Fox deposit as part of the 2005 and 2008 Marston feasibility studies and are presented in the table below. MINERAL RESERVES FOR THE LOST FOX DEPOSIT AREA ------------------------------------------------------------------------- IN-SITU COAL RESERVES (Mt) 10% ASH PRODUCT RESERVES (Mt) ------------------------------------------------------------------------- PROVEN PROBABLE TOTAL PROVEN PROBABLE TOTAL ------------------------------------------------------------------------- 85.6 16.1 101.7 51.6 9.2 60.8 ------------------------------------------------------------------------- The Mount Klappan mineral resource and mineral reserve estimates were prepared in 2002 and 2005, respectively by Marston in compliance with National Instrument 43-101. Richard Marston, P.E. is the Qualified Person responsible for the estimates. Further information can be obtained regarding the Mount Klappan mineral resource and mineral reserve estimates is available in the Company's disclosures under the Company's profile on the SEDAR website at www.sedar.com. UPDATED ECONOMIC ANALYSIS The base case economic analysis assumes a price of US$175 / tonne for premium PCI coal for the first 5 years, and then US$150 / tonne for the remainder of the 20-year mine life at a C$1.00 = US$0.83 exchange rate. A summary of the base case economics updated from the current exchange rate is shown in the table below. Updated coal price sensitivity analysis to coal price increments of US$10 and 25 / tonne were also prepared and are presented in the second table below. -------------------------------------------------------- UPDATED BASE CASE ECONOMICS -------------------------------------------------------- PRE-TAX AFTER-TAX -------------------------------------------------------- IRR 40.9% 31.2% -------------------------------------------------------- NPV (8% DISCOUNT) C$ 1,281 M C$ 596 M -------------------------------------------------------- CAPITAL (1ST 3 YEARS) C$ 655 M -------------------------------------------------------- ------------------------------------------------------------------------- UPDATED ECONOMICS AT COAL PRICE SENSITIVITIES ------------------------------------------------------------------------- FOBT PRE-TAX PRE-TAX NPV AFTER-TAX AFTER-TAX NPV CASH COST / PRICE IRR (8%) DISCOUNT IRR (8%) DISCOUNT TONNE ------------------------------------------------------------------------- US$ 110 7.8% (C$8,234 M) 4.2% ($118,634 M) US$ 84.77 ------------------------------------------------------------------------- US$ 120 14.8% C$280,312 M 10.5% $83,394 M US$ 85.17 ------------------------------------------------------------------------- US$ 130 20.6% C$534,966 M 15.3% $256,124 M US$ 87.14 ------------------------------------------------------------------------- US$ 140 26.0% C$789,864 M 19.9% $427,883 M US$ 88.72 ------------------------------------------------------------------------- US$ 150 31.3% C$1,052,059 M 24.2% $599,291 M US$ 90.00 ------------------------------------------------------------------------- US$ 175 43.6% C$1,689,984 M 33.9% $1,012,859 M US$ 93.55 ------------------------------------------------------------------------- US$ 200 55.9% C$2,345,840 M 43.2% $1,435,972 M US$ 96.63 ------------------------------------------------------------------------- US$ 225 67.8% C$2,990,744 M 52.1% $1,851,898 M US$ 99.94 ------------------------------------------------------------------------- US$ 250 79.3% C$3,636,111 M 60.8% $2,268,217 M US$ 103.22 ------------------------------------------------------------------------- US$ 275 90.7% C$4,281,148 M 69.1% $2,683,856 M US$ 106.50 ------------------------------------------------------------------------- US$ 300 101.9% C$4,098,312 M 76.9% $3,095,488 M US$ 109.90 ------------------------------------------------------------------------- Note: The cash cost per tonne of coal includes government production royalties, which escalate with higher revenues resulting from increased coal price sensitivity. With the present volatility in global capital markets and commodity prices, Fortune Minerals is pleased to report that recent economic modelling for the Lost Fox deposit at Mount Klappan continues to show a positive rate of return at low coal prices, and very robust economics at higher coal price sensitivities up to US$300 / tonne that were realized in 2008. With global shortages of good quality metallurgical coal, and particularly anthracite, Mount Klappan continues to be a very attractive development asset. About Fortune Minerals Fortune Minerals is a diversified natural resource company with several 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 coal and future metal and coal 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 and coal 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
- or - Lindsay Simmons, IR Coordinator, Tel.: (519) 858-8188, Fax: (519)
858-8155, info@fortuneminerals.com, www.fortuneminerals.com; Renmark Financial
Communications: Dan Symons, Account Manager - or - Rea Unson, Junior Account
Manager, Tel. (514) 939-3989, Fax. (514) 939-3717,
dsymons@renmarkfinancial.com or runson@renmarkfinancial.com,
www.renmarkfinancial.com


Custom Packages

Browse our custom packages or build your own to meet your unique communications needs.

Start today.

CNW Membership

Fill out a CNW membership form or contact us at 1 (877) 269-7890

Learn about CNW services

Request more information about CNW products and services or call us at 1 (877) 269-7890