North

Fortune Minerals could lose NICO water licence, says regulator

The Tlicho region’s Wek’eezhii Land and Water Board wants the company to stick to its plan to collect water samples from the site’s nearby Marian River during each season of the year. The company has suspended the work.

Wek’eezhii Land and Water Board wants company to stick to its plan for collecting water samples

Rich Schryer, Fortune Minerals' director of regulatory and environmental affairs, has told the land and water board the company didn't have the money to do sampling in the spring. (CBC)

An N.W.T. regulator is warning Fortune Minerals that the company could lose one of its water licences for the advanced-stage NICO mining project, located north of Whati.

The Tlicho region's Wek'eezhii Land and Water Board wants the company to stick to its plan to collect water samples from the site's nearby Marian River during each season of the year.

But the company has delayed those plans since it has already missed the window for collecting samples in the spring. The company has also said it was not in a financial position to do the spring sampling.

"Fortune is aware of the requirements of the water license that must be undertaken prior to the initiation of construction and will develop a schedule accordingly when the timing is right," Rick Schryer, the company's director of regulatory and environmental affairs, wrote the board in late May.

But in a letter of response dated July 8, the board says Fortune is out of compliance with its water licence.

"The Board advises Fortune that failure to comply with the licence or a board directive could lead to licence suspension or cancellation," wrote Violet Camsell-Blondin, the board's chair.

"The best way to ensure that enough baseline data is collected and that construction will not be delayed is to collect data this summer."

Earlier this month, Fortune announced it had defaulted on a loan from a lender for another project, a silver mine in the U.S.. Last week the Conference Board of Canada said NICO wasn't factored into its latest economic outlook for the N.W.T.

The NICO project, which has its key permits in hand, is currently under care and maintenance.

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