Fortune Minerals Limited ("Fortune" or the "Company") (www.fortuneminerals.com) is pleased to announce that it has initiated an approximately 3000 metre drill program on the Company's NICO Cobalt-Gold-Bismuth-Copper Deposit ("NICO Deposit") in Canada's Northwest Territories.
Equipment and personnel are currently being mobilized to the site and drilling is expected to commence at the end of this week. The NICO Deposit and Fortune's nearby Sue-Dianne Copper-Silver-Gold satellite deposit belong to the Iron-Oxide-Copper-Gold ("IOCG") class. IOCG-type deposits include Olympic Dam in South Australia, the Carajas District deposits in Brazil, and the Candelaria District deposits in Chile and have distinctive geological settings typically with common geophysical anomaly associations. In addition to testing the east strike extension of the NICO Deposit, drilling will also test a number of coincident magnetic, gravity, magnetotelluric, chargeability and resistivity anomalies, including some with previous drilling that encountered significant gold and cobalt intersections.
The NICO Project is comprised of a planned mine and concentrator in the Northwest Territories and a related hydrometallurgical refinery in southern Canada producing cobalt sulphate, gold doré, bismuth ingots and oxide, and a copper cement precipitate. The NICO Project is one of the most advanced cobalt development assets outside of the Democratic Republic of Congo ("DRC") to meet the growing demand in lithium-ion batteries powering electric vehicles, portable electronics and stationary storage cells, and mitigate supply chain issues from geographic concentration of production in the DRC and China and associated policy risks. The unique Critical Minerals assemblage of the NICO Deposit includes primary cobalt, 12% of global bismuth reserves, by-product copper, as well as a highly liquid 1.1 million ounce in-situ gold co-product.
Fortune contracted Aurora Geosciences ("Aurora") in 2020 to complete induced polarization and magnetometer surveys to provide better definition of exploration targets identified in previous geophysical surveys and drill programs carried out in the 1990's. The 2021 drill program is planned to test up to five of these high priority targets as follows:
1) East Extension of NICO Deposit
Previous drilling at the east end of the NICO Deposit in 1997 did not penetrate deep enough to test the stratigraphy hosting the NICO Deposit. A fault was also subsequently identified in this area that has likely displaced the deposit. Aurora identified coincident magnetic, chargeability and resistivity anomalies extending several hundred metres east of the presently defined terminus and indicates the deposit may still be open for potential expansion. Four holes are planned to test this opportunity.
2) Ralph Zone
A narrow zone of cobalt-gold-bismuth mineralization similar to the ores in the NICO Deposit is exposed at the surface approximately 600-700 metres east of the known 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 the known deposit. The Ralph Zone is associated with a strong magnetic feature that extends westward to the currently defined east end of the NICO Deposit. There is also a partly coincident chargeability high that has not been tested. Two holes are planned to test this zone.
3) Peanut Lake Zone
The Peanut Lake Zone is associated with a strong magnetic feature that is more than 500 metres in diameter with coincident gravity and partly coincident chargeability high and resistivity low anomalies. Five holes were previously drilled to test the north rim of this 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 identified by Aurora in 2020 has not been tested. Three additional holes are planned along the strike continuation of these intersections and the chargeability high.
4) Road Cut Mineralization
Road construction on the NICO leases in 2019 unearthed altered bedrock and boulders with sulphide mineralization similar to the ores in the NICO Deposit, located approximately 800 metres southwest of the Peanut Lake zone. Representative grab samples returned highly anomalous cobalt and gold with values up to 1.6% copper. The 2020 Aurora survey also identified a moderate chargeability high feature located 300 metres north of where the sulphides are encountered. Three holes are planned to test these targets.
5) Magnetic Anomaly A
Strong, partly coincident magnetic and chargeability anomalies were also identified by Aurora approximately 800 metres northeast of the known NICO Deposit where there is a surface copper showing. 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 anomaly in the current drill program.
Fortune is pleased to report that it has completed a debt facility to raise proceeds of $1.5 million from an arm's length investor to fund the drill program and provide working capital.
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 Project has been assessed in a positive Feasibility Study by Micon International Limited in 2014 and has received environmental assessment approval and the major mine permits for the facilities in the Northwest Territories. The project stands out among other Critical Minerals projects as a planned vertically integrated producer of cobalt, the largest deposit of bismuth in the world, and having more than one million ounces of in-situ gold as a highly liquid and countercyclical co-product.
This press release shall not constitute an offer to sell or solicitation of an offer to buy nor shall there be any sale of any of the securities in any jurisdiction in which such offer, solicitation or sale would be unlawful. The securities will not be and have not been registered under the United States Securities Act of 1933 and may not be offered or sold in the United States absent registration or applicable exemption from the registration requirements.