Fortune Minerals Ltd. (TSX: FT) (OTCQX: FTMDF) said on Sept. 19 that it welcomes a Sept. 17 statement from the British Columbia government that supports the legal right of companies to safely perform permitted work, and the related appointment of mediator Geoff Freer.
Fortune is currently assessing all available options to enable safe completion of the 2013 environmental fieldwork program at the Arctos anthracite coal mining project in northwestern BC. Protestors have been and are currently hindering the company’s work program by encroaching on drill sites and other working areas, raising safety concerns for both workers and protestors.
Fortune pointed out that its activities are duly authorized through permits issued under the BC Mines Act, various coal tenures and other provincial laws. The permits authorize a limited amount of geotechnical drilling to gather information that will be used in the environmental assessment (EA) process. The EA process will result in an informed decision on the merits and impacts of the project, and will consider environmental, social, health, heritage and economic impacts, as well as traditional knowledge. The EA process is providing First Nations and other interested parties with extensive opportunities to participate in decision-making about a project, the company said.
The Arctos Project is one of the world’s premier metallurgical coal projects with very large resources and reserves of high rank anthracite coal in northwest BC. Anthracite is the highest quality coal and is used in steelmaking, metals processing and other specialized products such as carbon filters for water purification.
The project is an international collaboration between Fortune (80%) and POSCAN (20%), the Canadian subsidiary of South Korea’s POSCO, one of the world’s largest steel producers.
Arctos is located 330 kilometers northeast of the Port of Prince Rupert and straddles the existing BC Railway right-of-way that was constructed by the BC government in the 1970s and was substantially completed to the site. This existing brownfield transportation corridor is planned to be completed with rail to the current terminus of track, 150 kilometers south of the proposed mine where the Canadian National Railway is operating. The railway provides a simple and scalable transportation solution to the Ridley Coal Terminal in Prince Rupert for export of metallurgical coal products to overseas steel manufacturers and metal processors, Fortune noted.