Fortune Minerals Limited (“Fortune”) has announced that it has entered into an option agreement with JFSL Field Services ULC (“JFSL”), a wholly-owned subsidiary of a large international engineering company, to purchase its former steel fabrication plant, located in Lamont County within Alberta’s Industrial Heartland northeast of Edmonton. Pursuant to the agreement, Fortune will have six months to carry out additional due-diligence and complete the purchase of the JFSL facility for C$5.5 million. Fortune intends to acquire this brownfield site in order to construct the hydrometallurgical refinery for the planned NICO Cobalt-Gold-Bismuth-Copper mine in the Northwest Territories (“NWT”).
The proposed refinery would process concentrates from the mine and produce cobalt sulphate for the rapidly expanding lithium-ion rechargeable battery industry and their use in electric vehicles (“EV’s”), portable electronic devices, and stationary storage cells to make electricity use more efficient. In addition to cobalt, the unique mineral assemblage of the NICO deposit includes a highly liquid 1.1 million ounce in-situ gold co-product, 12% of global bismuth reserves, and copper. The vertically integrated NICO development (“NICO Project”) would provide a reliable North American source of three Critical Minerals produced responsibly with Canadian environmental-social governance (“ESG”) values that are essential to support the transformation to new technologies and the growing green economy.
“Cobalt, lithium and nickel are all minerals with huge demand in the modern world. Fortune’s new refinery is exactly the type of job creating, diversifying investment we envisioned with our mineral strategy and action plan”, says Jason Kenney, Premier of Alberta.
“Fortune Minerals’ new facility will add to Alberta’s mineral refining capacity and will bring exciting economic opportunities to the province. Alberta’s mineral strategy and action plan capitalizes on our untapped potential and helps meet demand for the critical and rare earth minerals which are essential to supporting a low-carbon economy. Fortune Minerals’ investment announcement demonstrates that our strategy is working. Our province has the experienced workforce, and the necessary infrastructure to support continued growth in the minerals sector, and there is no better place for a new Critical Minerals refinery than Alberta’s Industrial Heartland”, says Sonya Savage, Minister of Energy, Government of Alberta.
“I am pleased to see continued investment and diversification in the Industrial Heartland with Fortune Minerals’ plan to establish a new cobalt refinery which will also have the future potential to recycle metals from post-consumer batteries from across Alberta. This project will create well-paid jobs for Albertans and continued prosperity for my constituency”, says Jackie Armstrong-Homeniuk, MLA for Fort Saskatchewan-Vegreville.
“The planned NICO Project in Alberta’s Industrial Heartland supports our region’s robust diversification efforts and highlights our value proposition for companies looking to execute their capital growth strategies, develop new technologies and advance their ESG priorities. Fortune Minerals’ innovative vision and metallurgical process technology for the NICO Refinery will promote further energy supply chain integration within North America, solidifying Alberta and Alberta’s Industrial Heartland as a critical jurisdiction for Canada’s energy future”, says Mark Plamondon, Executive Director of Alberta’s Industrial Heartland Association.
“More economic growth and diversification in Alberta’s energy and tech sectors shows our competitive edge in action. This includes access to highly skilled labour, resources, and transportation links from Alberta’s globally recognized Industrial Heartland and combined with our business-friendly environment thanks to the Alberta tax advantage and a streamlined regulatory framework”, says Rick Christiaanse, CEO of Invest Alberta Corporation.