Fortune Minerals commences NICO Pilot Plant

    Grades confirmed and Pilot Plant phase Initiated

    Issued Capital: 49,546,407

    LONDON, ON, Dec. 4 /CNW Telbec/ - Fortune Minerals Limited (TSX-FT)
announces the start-up on November 21, 2007 of its $3.8 million pilot plant 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 September 11, 2007). The purpose of this pilot plant is to
confirm the operating parameters and products that will be produced in the
proposed process plant for NICO. A total of 180 tonnes of ore that was mined
from the NICO deposit during the 2006 and 2007 underground test mining
programs will be processed. Fortune is pleased to report that the bulk sample
was delivered to SGS Lakefield, that crushing and sampling of the ores has
confirmed the grades that were predicted from the mining phase, and that the
pilot plant is in progress. The NICO pilot plant is expected to be completed
in May 2008, and results for each phase of the test will be released as they
become available.
    The underground test mining programs conducted at NICO produced
approximately 6,000 tonnes of ore from two levels of the deposit and
100,000 tonnes of "waste" development rock from the access ramp and raises.
Two composite samples were produced from the ore in order to simulate average
operating conditions for the mine. They include; 1) a 140 tonne sample with
grades representing a blend of underground and open pit ores indicative of the
first two years of production from the mine, and 2) a 40 tonne sample
representing average open pit ore indicative of the grades that will be
produced in years 3 to 15 of the mine. Assays of the two composites, totalling
180 tonnes, show very good correlation between the grades that were targeted
from production samples collected during test mining and the actual grades
that were achieved from sampling the composites at SGS Lakefield (see table).

    Composite   Phase  Bulk Sample Target            Actual Lakefield Assays
                       Co (%)     Bi (%)  Au (g/t)   Co (%)  Bi (%)  Au (g/t)
    140 tonnes  OP+UG  0.13-0.14  0.17    2-3        0.14    0.19    2.80
    40 tonnes   OP     0.13       0.16    0.5-1      0.12    0.27    0.86
    Op = Open pit; UG = Underground;
    Co = Cobalt; Bi = Bismuth; Au = Gold

    In addition to the two main composite bulk samples, a number of
sub-composites were also prepared to represent the variability of ore grades
expected during mine operations and will be used to test this variability.
These sub-composites also had excellent grade correlation with those that had
been predicted from field samples during the test mining phase.
    Fortune has received preliminary results of bench scale flotation tests
of the bulk sample and also from 10-hour pilot plant runs for the flotation
phase of the NICO pilot plant. These preliminary results indicate that the
flotation grades and recoveries that had been predicted from the mini-pilot
plant of NICO ores conducted two years ago and bench scale testing are likely
to be attained. The mini-pilot plant and the results of earlier bench scale
metallurgical testing were used for modelling process grades and recoveries in
the positive full feasibility report prepared by Micon International Limited.
Met-Chem Canada Inc. and Fortune's independent metallurgical consultants
earlier this year (see News Release dated January 16, 2007). The flotation
component of the NICO pilot plant is continuing and will be completed by
    Gold-bearing cobalt and bismuth concentrates produced during the
flotation stage of the NICO pilot plant this year will be used to complete the
hydrometallurgical components of the test in January through May 2008. These
scheduled hydrometallurgical components include: cyanide recovery of gold from
bismuth and recovery of bismuth by ferric chloride leaching and cementation
onto iron (February); pressure acid leaching, ion exchange purification and
electro-winning of cobalt to cathode (March-April); and cyanidation of the
cleaner float tails and autoclave residue (April-May). A primary consideration
for the schedule and sample delivery was the availability of the pilot-scale
autoclave at SGS Lakefield, which Fortune has locked in commencing for March
and April of 2008.
    Fortune is also pleased to report that it has retained Aker Kvaerner E&C,
a division of Aker Kvaerner Canada Inc. (Aker Kvaerner) to prepare a METSIM(R)
model for the processing of NICO ores based on the flow sheet published in the
2007 full feasibility study. The model, which has now been completed, is being
used to predict, compare, and monitor design and operating parameters in the
pilot plant such as reagent consumption and process chemistry. It will also
provide a basis for "Front-End Engineering Design" of the NICO process plant
following optimization and successful completion of the pilot 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 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 components, 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 NI 43-101), Dan Imeson,
M.Sc., and Ron Molnar, Ph.D.
    The NICO pilot plant test results will also be used to help produce
products for environmental characterization of the waste streams that will
come from the NICO process plant. These data will be used in support of
Fortune's Water License and Land Use Application for NICO's mine permits,
which have already been submitted to the Wekhe'ezi Land and Water Board.
    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).

    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,,; Greg Taylor, Investor &
Public Relations, Tel: (905) 337-7673, Cell: (416) 605-5120, Fax: (905)

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