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:: Fortune Minerals Receives Environmental Assessment Approval for Saskatchewan Metals Processing Plant
Fortune Minerals Limited is pleased to announce that the Honourable Ken Cheveldayoff, Minister of Environment for the Province of Saskatchewan, has accepted the Environmental Assessment Branch's recommendation and approved the Company's proposed Saskatchewan Metals Processing Plant ("SMPP"), subject to certain conditions. Today's announcement by the Saskatchewan Government states, "The proposal was assessed to be both environmentally and technically sound, providing both environmental safeguards and outlining company plans to ensure Saskatchewan's air, water, and natural resources are protected throughout the duration of the project and after."
The SMPP is a hydrometallurgical refinery planned near Langham, Saskatchewan (27 kilometres northwest of Saskatoon) in the Rural Municipality of Corman Park. With a capital cost estimated to be in excess of $200 million, this plant is expected to bring 200 jobs during construction, create approximately 100 long-term direct jobs for the region, and produce new business opportunities to support the facility. The SMPP will process metal concentrates from the Company's proposed NICO mine and mill in the Northwest Territories ("NT"). The combined facilities will be an important vertically integrated and reliable Canadian source of cobalt and bismuth metals and chemicals with a highly liquid gold co-product, and copper.
"Saskatchewan has a rigorous environmental review process and we are pleased to have received approval to advance our project," said Robin Goad, President and Chief Executive Officer of Fortune. "This is an important milestone toward bringing this state of the art metals processing facility to Saskatchewan. We intend to work closely with the communities near our site to earn their support and demonstrate the benefits of the project."
With this approval, Fortune is now completing the process of rezoning its land with the Rural Municipality of Corman Park. The Company is also continuing its dialogue with nearby communities to explain the opportunities of the refinery and exchange information about the project with residents. The Company will host a meeting at the Affinity Community Hall in Langham on February 19th. The Company has undertaken extensive studies to develop a facility that can deliver significant economic and social benefits to the area while minimizing its environmental footprint.
Dr. Richard Schryer, Director of Regulatory and Environmental Affairs for Fortune, said "The SMPP is a unique and technologically advanced hydrometallurgical facility that will contribute to Canada's and Saskatchewan's proven expertise in mining and processing." Schryer, who is based in Saskatoon, also commented, "Extensive test work and piloting has been drawn on to design this facility, which incorporates the most up-to-date metallurgical and environmental technologies."
The approval for the SMPP includes conditions, several of which reflect Fortune's prior commitments made through the environmental assessment process. They include among other conditions, establishment of an independent community based monitoring program, submission of an annual monitoring report to Saskatchewan Environment, providing effective dust control for all components of the project, and submission of a detailed quantitative and qualitative analysis of the process residue that will be stored at the site.
Community Monitoring Program
With the introduction of metals refining to the Saskatoon area, Fortune has proposed the creation of an independent community monitoring program to give residents in the area confidence that the new facility is meeting or exceeding all environmental standards. The Company will commit to fund this independent body, which will have the freedom to hire its own expert consultants to review the Company's monitoring plans prior to and during commercial operations. Appropriate consultants will report to the committee and make recommendations to the Environmental Protection Branch and Fortune.
"We recognize that Fortune and metals processing are new in this region and that people who live in the area need to know that their land, air and water supply will not be adversely affected," said Mike Romaniuk, Fortune's Vice President, Operations and Chief Operating Officer. "Just as we've looked for innovative technology to treat metals at our facility, we want to bring creative approaches to our community relationships. By providing funding to set up an independent committee, we hope to establish that our company and our operations can be trusted to deliver the levels of safety and environmental responsibility that we have promised."
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