Positive momentum as project approaches the Public Hearing phase of Environmental Assessment
Issued Capital: 117,076,976
TORONTO, April 10, 2012 /CNW/ - Fortune Minerals Limited (TSX: FT) ("Fortune" or the "Company") (www.fortuneminerals.com) is pleased to report that it has completed an additional round of successful public meetings and open houses in Yellowknife and the four Tlicho communities surrounding the Company's NICO gold-cobalt-bismuth-copper project in the Northwest Territories ("NT"). Joseph (Joe) Rabesca, former Grand Chief of the Tlicho Government, has also joined Fortune as NICO Community Relations Coordinator. Fortune is very pleased to be working more closely with Joe Rabesca and also with the positive momentum it has received with the Tlicho people as the NICO project advances to the Public Hearing phase of the Environmental Assessment ("EA") to permit the proposed mine and mill.
Dr. Richard Schryer, Fortune's Director of Regulatory and Environmental Affairs, commented that, "the opportunity to provide an open forum to exchange information with the Tlicho people in their language and communities was well received. The addition of Joe Rabesca to our team also enhances our presence in the Tlicho community with a highly respected leader to help communicate the Company's plans and receive valuable feedback as we approach the end of the EA process and plan for the development."
Public meetings were held in Behchoko, Whati, Gameti and Wekweeti and an open house in Yellowknife over the week of March 26, 2012. These sessions were part of the Company's ongoing engagement with the Tlicho people to discuss the opportunities and impacts associated with the proposed NICO mine and to gain a greater understanding of cultural issues and traditional use of lands in the area. They follow successful completion of the Cooperative Relationship Agreement entered into with the Tlicho Government to provide the framework for future communication and capacity for the Tlicho to complete the EA process (see News Release, dated November 8, 2011). The informal format of the meetings encouraged exchange of information with local residents on a number of subjects including traditional knowledge, employment and contracting opportunities, and the working environment at the mine. The meetings were well attended by members of the communities, including elders, representatives of the NT government, the Kwe Beh Working Group, Tlicho Investment Corporation, and also high school students completing a class project on opportunities in the mining sector and the benefits of higher education.
Former Tlicho Grand Chief Joe Rabesca joined Fortune in April as NICO Community Relations Coordinator. Joe served as Chief of Behchoko intermittently between 1982 and 1992, and continuously from 1992 to 2000, and then as Grand Chief from 2000 to 2005, and again in 2009 and 2010. As Grand Chief, he led negotiations for the landmark agreement with the governments of Canada and the NT establishing Tlicho self-government and fee simple ownership over 39,000 square kilometres of lands in the NT surrounding NICO. Joe, together with his team of community chiefs and an elder's advisory group, were also responsible for negotiating and completing Impact and Benefits Agreements with BHP-Billiton, Rio Tinto, and De Beers for the three NT diamond mines. These became leading precedents for similar agreements between mining companies and First Nations in other parts of Canada. Joe led negotiations for an agreement with the Government of NT that resulted in the transfer of ownership of one of the dams at the Snare Hydro complex to the Tlicho. As a founding member of the Tlicho Investment Corporation group of companies Joe contributed to greater participation and benefits for his citizens from economic activities on their traditional lands. Joe will work closely with his colleague Charlie Jim Nitsiza, former Chief of Whati, who joined Fortune last year to help communicate the Company's plans for the NICO project to the Tlicho people.
Fortune congratulates the organizers of the Learning Together conference that took place in the communities of Yellowknife and Dettah during the week of the Company's community meetings. This conference was held to facilitate the sharing of best practices for positive aboriginal relations and business development between mining companies and aboriginal communities and encourage employment opportunities in the mining sector. The Company was pleased to participate and help sponsor this worthwhile event.
Fortune is advancing to the final step of the Developers Assessment Report review process, being the Public Hearings Stage, which is scheduled over a five day period starting on July 30, 2012. Upon closing of the public registry, the Mackenzie Valley Review Board will review all material and make its recommendation to the Minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada concerning the proposed mine development.
About Fortune Minerals Limited:
Fortune is a diversified resource company with several mineral deposits and a number of exploration projects, all located in Canada. The Company is focused on the development of the Mount Klappan anthracite metallurgical coal deposits in BC and the NICO gold-cobalt-bismuth-copper deposit in the NT. As part of the development of the NICO deposit, Fortune is developing a hydrometallurgical plant in Saskatchewan to process NICO concentrates to high value metal products. The Company has also acquired the buildings and equipment from the Golden Giant Mine at Hemlo, Ontario, which have been dismantled, moved, and stored for relocation to NICO. In addition, the Company owns the Sue-Dianne copper-silver-gold deposit and other exploration projects in the NT. Fortune is focused 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 statements with respect to, among other things, the proposed development of the NICO project. 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 inherent volatility of metal prices, the risk that the Company may not be able to arrange the necessary financing to construct and operate the NICO mine, uncertainties with respect to the receipt or timing of required permits for the development of the NICO project and other factors. Readers are cautioned to not place undue reliance on forward-looking information because it is possible that predictions, forecasts, projections and other forms of forward-looking information will not be achieved by the Company. The forward-looking information contained herein is made as of the date hereof and the Company assumes no responsibility to update or revise it to reflect new events or circumstances, except as required by law.
Image with caption: "Fortune Minerals' employees, Pat Moloney and Bill Shepard, answer questions in the Tlicho community of Behchoko (CNW Group/Fortune Minerals Limited)". Image available at: http://photos.newswire.ca/images/download/20120410_C4171_PHOTO_EN_12095.jpg
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