Fortune Minerals has received a staging (interim) land-use permit for the NICO gold-cobalt-bismuth-copper mine in the Northwest Territories from the Wek'èezhìi Land and Water Board in Canada.
The mine site is 160km north-west of Yellowknife, near the Snare hydro-electric complex.
NICO gold mine will produce gold, cobalt, bismuth and copper in concentrates that will be refined in a facility near Saskatoon, SK.
Following the approval, Fortune will go ahead with land-based early works at the NICO mine, including the staging of equipment and site preparation activities.
The company expects to receive full mine permits by mid-year, at which time construction of the mine and concentrator will begin.
Fortune Regulatory and Environmental Affairs director Dr. Rick Schryer said this interim land-use permit will allow the company to stage equipment and to conduct early site preparation to facilitate full construction after the final mine permits have been received.
"This is an additional milestone towards Fortune's goal of developing the NICO mine, which together with planned legacy road and power infrastructure, will contribute positively to local communities and the economy of the Northwest Territories," Schryer said.
Mining on the project will be done though open pit methods while underground ores will contribute to mill feed during the first two years, from the existing underground sites developed during previous test mining programmes.
The company has already invested more than $110m in the project, including the completion of front-end engineering and design and feasibility studies, underground test mining, and pilot plant tests to verify the process methods and products.
Fortune continues to work with Deloitte Corporate Finance to complete project financing agreements for the NICO Project.
The company has also extended its support in the Northwest Territories power system plan, that will lower the cost of electricity and boost reliability of supply to communities, industries and new mineral developments in the territory.
Fortune President and CEO Robin Goad said: "The provision of more reliable, lower cost electricity will enhance the economics of the NICO Project, while also improving the quality of life in northern communities. A win-win for all stakeholders."