A Northwest Territories mining company is turning its project focus to gold.
Fortune Minerals Ltd. announced it received $144,000 from the territory’s Mining Incentive Program, in a news release Monday. The company says those funds will go toward the geophysical surveys planned at the NICO Project site — located 50 kilometres northeast of Whati — this summer.
“That makes the project a little less expensive for the company and clearly it’s difficult to raise money right now,” said Robin Goad, the company’s president and CEO.
The project had initially been paused when travel restrictions were imposed by the Northwest Territories government to limit the spread of COVID-19, but will now resume, with out of territory mining workers allowed to travel directly to worksites.
The company’s switched focus to gold follows its announcement last October that it would shelve plans to upsize its early-stage cobalt mine in the country’s far North.
Goad said the deposits of the exploration area is promising for the London, Ont.-based company.
He said most of the approximately one kilometre long exploration area is obscured by overburden, such as soil or rock, and wetlands.
“We can’t say for sure, but we certainly hope it contains gold, because gold is very attractive right now,” Goad said.
He added that COVID-19 created a lot of uncertainty in the marketplace making it more difficult to operate.
“Those are issues that are beyond our control,” he said.
The construction of the 97 kilometre Tlicho all-season road from Highway 3 to the community of Whati, N.W.T., is still being worked on but is ahead of schedule, Goad said.
Territory helps fund other projects
The territory announced Tuesday the 19 other companies who received funding from the incentive program. All but one (in the Sahtu region) are in the North Slave area.
The maximum funding per corporate project was increased in May to 60 per cent of eligible expenses, to a maximum of $240,000.
The territory doled out a total of $995,413 this year.
Katrina Nokleby, minister of Industry, Tourism and Investment said investment in mineral development through the Mining Incentive Program is an integral component of future economic activity in the Northwest Territories, in an emailed statement.
The territory said compliance with public health orders and proposed N.W.T. spending were both “carefully scrutinized” during the review and scoring of applications.
Related stories from around the North:
Finland: Miners hunting for metals to battery cars threaten Finland’s Sámi reindeer herders’ homeland, The Independent Barents Observer
Norway: The Arctic railway – Building a future or destroying a culture?, Eye on the Arctic
Russia: Russian Indigenous groups call on Elon Musk to boycott company behind Arctic environmental disasters, The Independent Barents Observer
Sweden: Sami in Sweden start work on structure of Truth and Reconciliation Commission, Eye on the Arctic