Fortune Minerals Limited (“Fortune” or the “Company”) (www.fortuneminerals.com) is pleased to report that Aurora Geosciences Ltd. (“Aurora”) has completed three-dimensional (“3-D”) modelling and interpretation of the data from last fall’s induced polarization (“I.P.”) and ground magnetometer surveys carried out east of the NICO Cobalt-Gold-Bismuth-Copper Deposit (“NICO Deposit”) in Canada’s Northwest Territories.
The geophysical interpretations were reconciled with the geology and previous drill-hole information, identifying five high priority targets for follow-up drilling this summer. The NICO Deposit and Fortune’s nearby Sue-Dianne Copper-Silver-Gold satellite deposit are Iron-Oxide-Copper-Gold-type (“IOCG”) deposits that have world class global analogues, including Olympic Dam in South Australia, the Carajas District deposits in Brazil and Candelaria deposits in Chile. Both, the NICO Deposit and the Sue-Dianne Deposit are open for potential expansion, and like other IOCG deposits globally, are associated with coincident strong magnetic, gravity, magnetotelluric, I.P. and radiometric geophysical anomalies.
Fortune retained Aurora last fall to extend ground magnetometer and I.P. geophysical surveys east of the current terminus of the NICO Deposit and over the Peanut Lake area where large coincident magnetotelluric, gravity and magnetic anomalies had previously been identified in earlier airborne and ground geophysical surveys. A field report was delivered at the end of October identifying several magnetic, chargeability and resistivity targets indicative of dense, magnetic and conductive geological sources. Aurora was subsequently retained to conduct 3-D modelling and an interpretation of the results to identify targets for drill testing. Fortune and Aurora are recommending a 13-hole, 3200 metre drill program to test the five best targets:
Five High Priority Targets:
1) East Extension of NICO Deposit
The east end of the NICO Deposit is currently defined by a fence of holes drilled in 1997 before the ore controls were well understood. Most of these holes were terminated short of the rock-type that hosts the known NICO Deposit. A fault has also been identified in this area that has likely displaced the east continuation of the deposit. The Aurora surveys have identified coincident magnetic, chargeability and resistivity anomalies extending several hundred metres east of the presently defined terminus of the deposit, indicating it may still be open for potential expansion. Four holes are planned to test the east strike extension of the NICO Deposit beneath volcanic cover rocks and to intersect the favorable NICO Deposit host rock.
2) Ralph Zone
A narrow zone of cobalt-gold-bismuth mineralization similar to the NICO Deposit is exposed at the surface approximately 600-700 metres east of the NICO Deposit. This zone was previously tested by four holes drilled in 1997, two of which identified significant alteration, including a 3 metre interval grading 1.1 grams per tonne (“g/t”) gold. No further drilling was completed while efforts were focused on delineating the NICO Deposit. The Ralph Zone is associated with a strong magnetic feature that extends westward to the east end of the known NICO Deposit. There is also a partly coincident chargeability high identified by Aurora that extends to the east of the known showing and has not been tested. Two holes are planned to test the east and west strike extensions of the Ralph Zone, including the peak chargeability high.
3) Peanut Lake Zone
The Peanut Lake Zone is associated with a strong magnetic anomaly more than 500 metres in diameter with coincident gravity and partly coincident chargeability high anomalies. Five holes were previously drilled to test the north rim of the magnetic feature in 1997, three of which intersected significant grades. They include 3 metres, grading 1.76 g/t gold and 0.113% cobalt, 3 metres, grading 1.82 g/t gold, 3 metres, grading 1.105 g/t gold and 0.355% cobalt, and 3 metres grading 1.16 g/t gold and 0.06% cobalt. The peak chargeability high was not tested. Three additional holes are planned to test the strike continuation of these cobalt-gold intersections, including the chargeability high.
4) Road Cut Mineralization
Road construction in 2019 unearthed altered bedrock and boulders with sulphide mineralization similar to the NICO Deposit, located approximately 800 metres southwest of the previous Peanut Lake drill holes. Representative grab samples returned highly anomalous cobalt and gold values and up to 1.6% copper. The area is otherwise covered by overburden and wetlands. Despite the presence of significant sulphide mineralization, there was little geophysical response identified in the 2020 Aurora survey, except a moderate chargeability high feature located 300 metres north of where the sulphides are encountered. Three holes are planned to test the extent of the sulphides and identify the chargeability anomaly.
5) Magnetic Anomaly A Target
Strong, partly coincident magnetic and chargeability anomalies were identified approximately 800 metres northeast of the known NICO Deposit where there is a surface copper showing associated with a unique cordierite alteration that is sometimes associated with base metal deposits. Two holes were previously drilled to test the peak of the magnetic anomaly in 1997, one of which intersected low grade copper, plus 2 metres, grading 1.8 g/t gold and 0.115% cobalt. Neither of these holes tested the chargeability peak and one hole is planned to test this feature and the strike extension of the cobalt-gold-copper mineralization.
Fortune is preparing a work plan and budget to conduct a 3,200 metre drill program this summer for approval by the company’s Board of Directors. The Company will advise the public and requisite officials when it expects to conduct this drilling in compliance with local Covid-19 protocols and the applicable permitting requirements.
Natural Resources Canada (“NRCan”) released the Canadian Critical Minerals List on March 12, 2021 with 31 minerals identified to capitalize on the rising global demand needed in the transition to a low-carbon and digitized economy and position the country as a key leading mining nation. Fortune is pleased to report that cobalt, bismuth and copper are identified by the government of Canada as Critical Minerals. Cobalt and bismuth are also identified as Critical Minerals on similar lists prepared by the United States (“U.S.”) and European Union. Canada and the U.S. have signed a Joint Action Plan on Critical Mineral Supply designed to enable more Canadian production of the metals with supply chain risks and considered essential for use in new technologies and North American manufacturing and defense industries.
The NICO project is an advanced Canadian Critical Minerals project and one of the few near-term development stage cobalt assets in the world outside of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. NICO is comprised of planned open pit and underground mine and mill, located approximately 160 km northwest of Yellowknife, Northwest Territories, and a related hydrometallurgical refinery in southern Canada to treat concentrates from the mine and produce cobalt sulphate, gold doré, bismuth ingot and oxide, and copper precipitate. The NICO Project has been assessed in a positive Feasibility Study in 2014 and the facilities in the Northwest Territories have received environmental assessment approval and secured the major mine permits. The NICO Deposit contains Proven and Probable Open Pit and Underground Mineral Reserves totaling 33 million tonnes containing 1.1 million ounces of gold, 82.3 million pounds of cobalt, 102.1 million pounds of bismuth, and 27.2 million pounds of copper. The NICO Deposit stands out among other Critical Mineral and cobalt development projects globally with more than one million ounce in-situ gold as a highly liquid and countercyclical co-product.