LONDON, Ont.—Saskatchewan’s environment minister has conditionally approved an Ontario firm’s proposal to build a $200-million metals processing plant in the heart of the prairie province.
Environment Minister Ken Cheveldayoff’s approval of the massive hydro-metallurgical refinery comes after an environmental assessment came back in favour of the Fortune Minerals Ltd. project.
“Saskatchewan has a rigorous environmental review process and we are pleased to have received approval to advance our project,” Fortune president and CEO Robin Goad said in a statement.
“This is an important milestone toward bringing this state-of-the-art metals processing facility to Saskatchewan. We intend to work closely with the communities near our site to earn their support and demonstrate the benefits of the project.”
Slated for Langham, Sask., Fortune’s proposed Saskatchewan Metals Processing Plant would have an annual production capacity of 40,500 ounces of gold, 1,600 tonnes of cobalt, 1,700 tonnes of bismuth and 250 tonnes of copper.
The plant is expected to bring 200 jobs to the area roughly 27 kilometres northwest of Saskatoon during construction, and 100 more during operation.
The project would process metal concentrates from the company’s proposed NICO mine in the Northwest Territories.
According to Fortune, the Saskatchewan government said in an announcement that the proposed project “was assessed to be both environmentally and technically sound, providing both environmental safeguards and outlining company plans to ensure Saskatchewan’s air, water and natural resources are protected throughout the duration of the project and after.”
Now that it has regulatory approval in the province, Fortune said it will work to rezone land in the Langham, Sask., area for the project.
The company plans to host a public meeting in Langham Feb. 19.
“The SMPP is a unique and technologically advanced hydro-metallurgical facility that will contribute to Canada’s and Saskatchewan’s proven expertise in mining and processing,” Dr. Richard Schryer, director of regulatory and environmental affairs with Fortune, said.
“Extensive test work and piloting has been drawn on to design this facility, which incorporates the most up-to-date metallurgical and environmental technologies.”
The conditions around the project include establishing an independent community-based monitoring program, submitting an annual monitoring report to Saskatchewan Environment, providing effective dust control for all components of the project and submitting a detailed quantitative and qualitative analysis of the process residue that will be stored at the site.
Adjacent to Canadian National (CN) Railway lines, Fortune said 180 tonnes per day of bulk concentrate would be delivered by rail to the project from the NICO mine over its expected minimum 20-year lifespan.
The company is also exploring other potential sources of concentrate that could be processed at the site and is also looking at opportunities to enter the recycling business.