NWT’s Fortune Minerals shrugs off filing delay
The company trying to launch a mine outside Whatì says its inability to meet an annual filing deadline is not a cause for concern.
Fortune Minerals missed the March 31 deadline to file its audited annual financial statements for the year ending December 31, 2022, among other documents.
Robin Goad, Fortune’s president and chief executive, characterized the issue as a “brief delay” after the company had waited for a round of financing to close.
That financing was designed to raise money for Fortune’s Nico project, a proposed cobalt, gold, bismuth and copper mine northeast of Whatì.
While Goad said investors were more focused on the company’s efforts to finance that project, the company nonetheless felt compelled to clarify in a statement – on confirming the filing delay – that “there are no insolvency proceedings against it and there is no other material information concerning the affairs of the company that has not been generally disclosed.”
Goad, meanwhile, said Fortune is engaged in “very meaningful discussions … that could result in a very attractive announcement” with “one of the largest mining companies in the world,” but is not yet able to reveal more.
The company has spent years working to find a major investor for the proposed Nico mine. An all-season road to Whatì – one of the key prerequisites for Nico to be viable – now exists, but Goad said inflation, the Ukraine war and volatile capital markets had encouraged people toward investments perceived to be safer.
Large mining companies, he said, are only slowly adjusting their focus to what he called the “completely different suite of metals” required as electric vehicles gain market share.
Fortune says its cobalt can form a key plank of a North America-based supply chain for car batteries, rather than relying on cobalt from major producer Congo. The company is also pushing Nico’s bismuth deposits, arguing that demand for that metal is also increasing.
With multiple new battery plants being built in southern Canada, and United States legislation mandating that raw materials be sourced either in the US or in countries with which it shares free trade agreements, Goad argues a demonstrable market for Nico’s output is developing and government incentives are coming on-stream.
Fortune proposes to build a “vertically integrated” system in which a mine, concentrator and refinery are all situated in Canada. Goad said this would support Canada’s manufacturing industry rather than send material to refineries elsewhere.
“Even though it costs more to build a project like ours … it’s a much better project for Canada because that processing happens here,” he said.
Goad said the company needs around $15 million in the medium term and an estimated $700 million in the longer term to build the project, which is why a major mining firm is needed – one prepared to back the relatively unusual concept of a mine, concentrator and refinery in one bundle, attached to an NWT cobalt deposit.
“We don’t need little bits of money here or there. It costs a lot of money to build a mine, a concentrator and a refinery,” he said.
“We can raise a million dollars here or there, but that doesn’t move the needle.”