Saskatoon

Fortune Minerals considers putting Saskatoon-area refinery plans on ice

Plans for a controversial refinery project in the RM of Corman Park may be deferred by Fortune Minerals.

Mining company says businesses are talking about buying ore concentrate straight from proposed mine in N.W.T.

A drawing of a proposed Fortune Minerals refinery that would be built near Dalmeny. (Fortune Minerals)

Plans for a controversial refinery project near Saskatoon in the Rural Municipality of Corman Park may be deferred by Fortune Minerals.

For years, the company has been talking about building a mine in the Northwest Territories that could produce ore containing cobalt, gold, bismuth and copper suplhate. The concentrated ore would then be refined at a facility near Langham, Sask., 30 kilometres northwest of Saskatoon.

However, Fortune has now said those plans might be changing.

"We've been approached by large mining and refining companies with interest in directly purchasing the concentrate that we'd produce in the Northwest Territories," said spokesperson Troy Nazarewicz. If that happens, the refinery wouldn't be immediately needed.

The company said it's crunching the numbers to see if the proposals make financial sense.

According to the company, deferring the refinery would slice the project's up-front capital costs in half, as well as lessen any risks associated with processing the material.

Despite the new development, the project is still moving forward with a zoning application that must be approved by the RM of Corman Park. Fortune Minerals also recently held an open house for residents concerned about the refinery.

Many local people have expressed concern about the refinery project for years, citing worries that waste generated from the refinery and stored on-site could contaminate local groundwater.

Fortune Minerals denies there are any risks associated with the plan, stating that the facility would exceed all Saskatchewan regulations for waste storage.

The refinery would process ore from a proposed mine in the Northwest Territories, for which Fortune Minerals is still raising $589 million in capital. (Fortune Minerals)

If the refinery was approved, building it would take about 18 months. The construction timeline means it could be open for business by the early 2020s.

The Saskatchewan government has given environmental approval to the project, and Fortune Minerals has secured land use permit and water licence approvals in the Northwest Territories.

The company is currently raising money from investors to build the project. It doesn't have a firm date as to when the feasibility study will be completed, although the company said it's on the "near-term horizon."

Corrections

  • This story initially reported that Fortune Minerals was still in the process of securing a water license from the Northwest Territories government. In fact, the company has already received its land use permit and water licence approvals in the Northwest Territories.
    Jul 19, 2018 7:49 AM CT

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