Fortune Minerals announces second round of underground test mining underway at Nico project

    Issued Capital: 38,936,407

    LONDON, ON, March 27 /CNW/ - Fortune Minerals Limited (TSX-FT) is pleased
to announce that it has started a second $10 million program of underground
test mining at its 91%-owned NICO gold-cobalt-bismuth deposit in the Northwest
Territories. The 2007 test mining program will assess the mining conditions
and continuity of grade in the gold-rich, higher-grade, lower parts of the
NICO deposit, approximately 200 metres beneath the surface. The mining
contractor retained to conduct this work is KeTe Whii - Procon, a
joint-venture between Procon Mining and Tunnelling of Burnaby British Columbia
and the Tlicho, Yellowknife and Lutsel K'e Dene First Nations.
    NICO was recently assessed in a positive full feasibility study that
showed an attractive rate of return for the development using base case metal
price assumptions and very attractive economics at current prices (see News
Release, dated January 17, 2007). Fortune has already purchased the Golden
Giant mill and surface facilities at Hemlo, Ontario for dismantling and
relocation to NICO, which is located 160 km northwest of the City of
Yellowknife and 22 km west of the Snare hydro complex. The Company is
preparing its applications for submission in April to begin an Environmental
Assessment and secure the requisite permits to develop the mine.
    Fortune conducted its first underground test mining program at NICO in
2006 to test the ore zone located about 150 metres below surface. This program
consisted of establishing an access portal and driving 900 metres of 5 by
5 metre decline ramp at minus 15 percent gradient to intersect mineralization
in the central part of the NICO deposit. Approximately 60,000 tonnes of waste
rock and ore was mined during this program, which successfully assessed
conditions for larger scale mining operations. Approximately 250 tonnes of ore
was also selectively bagged during this program and is being trucked to SGS
Lakefield Research Ltd. in Ontario for pilot plant testing later this year.
    The 2007 underground test mining program commenced earlier this month
with dewatering of the current mine workings. Mining operations have now begun
to deepen and extend the ramp another 325 metres at minus 15 percent gradient
to a depth of 200 metres below surface where 300 metres of lateral development
work will be conducted to intersect the lower ore zone. In addition, a
193- metre raise will be driven to surface for ventilation and emergency
access. Approximately 3,600 tonnes of ore will be mined from the lower ore
zone to confirm the continuity of grade and its mining characteristics. The
approximately 33,000 tonnes of waste rock mined will be used as aggregate for
construction of roads and site infrastructure.
    NICO is planned to be developed using a combination of both underground
and open pit mining with processing at the site to produce gold doré, cobalt
cathode (99.8% purity) and a high-grade bismuth concentrate. Upon completion
of the 2007 test mining program, most of the underground development will have
been completed to support future underground mining operations after receipt
of the requisite permits.
    Fortune has also purchased a new 25-person trailer camp, which was
transported to the NICO site last week and is being installed by Tlicho
Logistics. The new camp and ancillary buildings are expected to be completed
in the next two weeks. Fuel, explosives and equipment are also being
transported to the site over the winter road. The 2007 underground test mining
program is expected to be completed in September of this year. Robin Goad,
P.Geo., and Garett Macdonald, P.Eng., are the Qualified Persons responsible
for this release for the purposes of National Instrument 43-101.

    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 is the managing partner of Formosa Environmental
Aggregates Ltd., an industrial mineral company developing the Greenock high
calcium limestone quarry in Ontario. 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, 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,,; Greg Taylor, Investor &
Public Relations, Tel: (416) 605-5120, Fax: (905) 844-6532,

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