A rezoning application for the proposed Fortune Minerals Saskatchewan Metals Processing Plant (SMPP) near Langham is expected to come before Corman Park council sometime this fall, and a decision is likely before the end of the year.
A public open house on the SMPP project organized by Fortune Minerals drew a capacity crowd to the Langham community hall on Thursday, July 5. Continue reading “Fortune Minerals proposed refinery front and centre at Langham meeting”→
This time last year the prospect of Fortune Minerals building a metals processing near Langham weighed heavily on the minds of residents who live close to the proposed development.
They had several concerns including potential air contamination from waste storage and possible pollution of the Dalmeny aquifer, according to Ken Crush, a resident of the area and an opponent of the project.
The RM of Corman Park has not heard any communication from the company since the fall of 2014.
Crush said he hasn’t heard anything since the committee opposing the development made a presentation to Corman Park council last August.
But Fortune Minerals Investor Relations Manager Troy Nazarewicz is confident the proposed development is still going to happen.
“We are currently focused on securing offtake agreements and project financing so we can move forward with the development of assets in Langham and the North West Territories,” said Nazarewicz.
Nazarewicz explained an offtake agreement is one where the consumer of the commodity offers to help fiance companies who produce the desired product or commodity.
After the province passed Fortune Minerals environmental assessment in February, 2014, the next stage of the process would have involved a zoning request application by the company to the RM of Corman Park.
Corman Park Administrator Adam Tittemore said when he last spoke to officials from the company in 2014, they still maintained interest in applying for a zoning application request.
Nazarewicz said the reason why communication has quieted down for Fortune Minerals is because the company is still in the development state of the asset, so there are really no milestones on the way to financing.
“Until we get to the point where we have a deal for project financing or an offtake agreement with a consumer of the raw materials, there is nothing to report,” said Nazarewicz. “When this kind of thing happens it does get quiet but it doesn’t mean the company is not moving forward.”
Crush said he has never felt comfortable with the kind of corporate citizens Fortune Minerals represent and said the company’s reputation in British Columbia hasn’t benefitted from the provincial government buying back Fortune Minerals’ assets in Mt. Klappen, BC; where it was feared resource mine extraction would harm the local environment.
In Colorado, USA, where Fortune Minerals has a silver mine, the company faces employee health and safety concerns, said Crush.
“It just proves that these guys don’t have their act together,” said Crush.
Nazarewicz said Fortune Minerals independent community monitoring program would help to alleviate concerns residents have in the Langham and surrounding areas to make sure the new facility is meeting or exceeding all environmental standards.
Despite not hearing a zoning application request come forward, Crush said he has kept in contact with Corman Park administration and asked if they would notify him when the company makes that step.
Crush said the committee opposed to the proposed development will be ready to address the Corman Park council again if a zoning request comes forward.
“Our strategy is to present our petition at that point and time. It is all in place, we have it all documented and we are hanging tough until all those things occur,” said Crush.
Fortune Minerals stated in a February 14 press release on their website that their metals plant would process 40,500 ounces of gold, along with 1,600 tonnes of cobalt needed to manufacture lithium ion and nickel metal hydride for batteries used in portable electronic devices and electric vehicles.
The plant would also process 1,700 tonnes of bismuth to be used in a broad range of industrial and commercial products including pharmaceuticals, cosmetics, electronics, pigments and alloys, and 250 tonnes of copper.
Currently most of the world’s demand for cobalt and bismuth is mined in China.
“We have an asset that is uniquely positioned in North America with these two key commodities (cobalt and bismuth) in addition to gold reserves and that is what we are leveraging to advance discussions,” said Nazarewicz.