Saskatchewan Metals Processing Plant

The Saskatchewan Metals Processing Plant is a proposed refinery that will process metal concentrates from Fortune’s planned NICO mine in the Northwest Territories. The refinery would stand out as a North American facility dedicated to the production of cobalt chemicals needed to manufacture rechargeable batteries used in electric vehicles, stationary power cells to make electricity use more efficient, and portable electronic devices such as mobile telephones, tablets, laptops, power tools and toys. The SMPP would also produce gold doré, bismuth ingots and oxide, and copper precipitate. Notably, bismuth is a non-toxic and environmentally safe metal used primarily in the automotive sector for windshield frits, anti-corrosion coatings and paint, and medical products such as Pepto-Bismol®. Bismuth has characteristics similar to lead, but because it is an eco-metal, markets are expanding in environmentally safe alloys such as solders, brasses, aluminums and steels used in the plumbing and electronics industry, cosmetics, paints and glazes due to growing environmental awareness and legislation restricting the use of toxic metals.

The Saskatchewan refinery would also be positioned to process concentrates from other mines and could be diversified into a facility for battery and metal recycling in the future.

Fortune decided to build the SMPP in southern Canada to reduce the costs of the project and to be located closer to reagents, services and a skilled labour pool as well as its potential markets. This is enabled by a high concentration of the ore which is able to capture the recoverable metals fusing simple flotation in a sulphide concentrate that is less than 5% of the original ore. This enables low cost transportation of the concentrate to the downstream processing plant in Saskatchewan and lower cost processing with less than 5% of the original mass being subjected to hydrometallurgical for processing.

The Saskatchewan site has lower cost electricity, proximity to reagents, natural gas and other services and a skilled labour pool. The proactive support of the Government of Saskatchewan was also a factor in selecting the site, which passed attractive tax legislation to encourage processing of raw materials that have been sourced from outside the province. This location provides proximity to the North American market and trade advantages from NAFTA as well as with the European Union.

The SMPP is expected to employ 80 - 90 personnel providing approximately $9 million per year of employment income, and will require services from local suppliers, contractors and consultants. The anticipated direct capital cost of the project, including the purchase of equipment, materials, construction, and services installation is more than $200 million.

The refinery lands consist of 478 acres in the Rural Municipality of Corman Park and were identified in consultation with the Saskatchewan Ministry of Economy and the Saskatoon Regional Economic Development Authority who encouraged the Company to locate the refinery in Saskatchewan. Fortune received environmental assessment approval from the Saskatchewan Ministry of Environment in 2014, which concluded that any risks from the Project will be mitigated such that no significant adverse environmental effects are expected.

In March 2019 the Rural Municipality of Corman Park rejected the Fortune’s application to change the zoning of these lands from “Agriculture” to “M2 Rural Industrial”. The Saskatchewan Government continues to support the project. Fortune is considering its options with respect to its lands in Corman Park and has identified sites in Saskatchewan and other jurisdictions where it could build the SMPP in a supportive municipality that wants to attract economic opportunities and participate in the production of energy metals and their potential spinoff businesses. The Company is also evaluating a lower cost start-up option of selling metal concentrates and gold doré directly from the proposed mine to defer construction of a refinery.

Click thumbnail to view SMPP flyby

Environmental Assessment & Supporting Documents

CDR Executive Summary
Comprehensive Development Review
Environmental Impact Statement
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August 1, 2021 COBALT NEWS
May 31, 2017 Corporate Presentation 5.94 MB
December 2, 2013 Fact Sheet 2.07 MB
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