Fortune Minerals Ltd

Published : January 08th, 2009

Fortune Minerals updates Mount Klappan coal project feasibility study with lower Canadian dollar

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Issued Capital: 55,550,107

FORTUNE MINERALS UPDATES MOUNT KLAPPAN COAL PROJECT FEASIBILITY STUDY WITH LOWER CANADIAN DOLLAR
Project economics materially enhanced

London, ON - January 8, 2009 - Fortune Minerals Limited (TSX-FT) (�Fortune Minerals� or the �Company�) is pleased to announce significantly improved economics for the Lost Fox deposit at its 100% owned Mount Klappan anthracite coal project in northwest British Columbia as a result of the current lower Canadian dollar.  The Lost Fox deposit *bankable (definitive) feasibility study originally produced by Marston & Marston Inc. (�Marston�) in August 2005, was recently updated in July 2008 by Marston using an exchange rate of C$1.00 = US$0.97 as the base case (see Fortune Minerals news release dated August 7, 2008).  Since completion of this feasibility study update, the value of the Canadian dollar has steadily declined to approximately C$1.00 = US$0.83.  Because production costs for the mine would be incurred primarily in Canadian currency, whereas revenues would be derived from sale of products in U.S. dollars, Fortune reque sted Marston to prepare a further update based on current exchange rates.  Marston has done so and results of its update show that the cash costs per tonne of coal sold would be significantly lower and project economics would be materially enhanced. 

The impact of the decline in the Canadian dollar relative to the U.S. dollar from US$0.97 to US$0.83, increases the base case Pre-Tax Internal Rate of Return (IRR) from 28.9% to 40.9% and the base case 8% discounted Pre-Tax Net Present Value (NPV) from C$702.7 million to C$1.281 billion.  The base case cash cost per tonne of coal FOB vessel at the loading port also decreases from US$103.59 to US$88.64 (C$106.79).  However, capital costs for the first three years of the project would increase from C$617 million to C$655 million to reflect the cost of equipment purchased in U.S. currency.

Lost Fox is one of four deposit areas within the Mount Klappan project and the Marston feasibility study and its updates assess only the initial pit in the Lost Fox deposit area.  The feasibility study assessed the economics of an open pit coal mine and process plant to produce 3 million tonnes of clean coal products per year, consisting of a premium 10% ash ultra-low volatile pulverized coal injection (PCI) product used to manufacture steel.  The PCI product would be transported by truck from the site to an upgraded port facility in Stewart, British Columbia for loading and delivery to overseas steel customers.  Alternative transportation methods from the mine to the ports of Stewart and Prince Rupert were also investigated.

Fortune Minerals has retained CIBC World Markets Inc. to act as the Company�s financial advisor in pursuing strategic alternatives for the advancement of Mount Klappan (see Fortune Minerals news release dated July 2, 2008).  CIBC World Markets has been assisting Fortune in identifying potential strategic partners and evaluating potential transactions for the project while Fortune pursues a strategy of independent development of its 100% owned NICO Cobalt-Gold-Bismuth-copper deposit in the Northwest Territories.  The CIBC engagement is still in progress.

(*A bankable feasibility study is a comprehensive engineering and economic analysis of a project (typically prepared to +/- 15% precision) that is used by financial institutions to determine the credit worthiness of a proposed development and project financing.)

GENERAL INFORMATION
The Mount Klappan project consists of 15,000 hectares of contiguous coal licenses located 150 km northeast of the port of Stewart and 330 km northeast of the port of Prince Rupert in northwest British Columbia.  The property straddles the BC Railway right-of-way, which provides road access to the site from Highway 37.  The Canadian National Railway Company operates on the portion of the right-of-way between Prince George and Minaret, 150 km south of the proposed mine site. 

The Mount Klappan project contains very large resources of high quality anthracite, a hard coal with the highest rank, carbon and energy content and lowest moisture and volatile content of all coals.  Unique properties make anthracite ideal for use in a broad range of metallurgical and thermal applications, including metallurgical processing, blend coals for blast furnace coke replacement, and charge carbon, sinter and PCI coals used in the manufacture of steel.  Only about 1% of world coal reserves are anthracite grade, making the Mount Klappan coal a relatively uncommon premium product.  Notably, the two largest producers of anthracite products in the world, China and Vietnam, have curtailed exports in order to satisfy their domestic requirements, creating an attractive development opportunity for Mount Klappan.

COAL RESOURCES AND RESERVES
The resources for the Mount Klappan project are identified in four distinct deposit areas referred to as Lost Fox, Hobbit-Broatch, Summit and Nass.  Collectively, these contain Measured resources of 107.9 million tonnes, Indicated resources of 123 million tonnes, plus 2.572 billion tonnes in the Inferred and Speculative classes
(see Fortune Minerals news release, dated June 22, 2004).  The in-situ and PCI product coal reserves were estimated for the initial open pit mine at the Lost Fox deposit as part of the 2005 and 2008 Marston feasibility studies and are presented in the table below.

MINERAL RESERVES FOR THE LOST FOX DEPOSIT AREA

IN-SITU COAL RESERVES (Mt)

10% ASH PRODUCT RESERVES (Mt)

PROVEN

PROBABLE

TOTAL

PROVEN

PROBABLE

TOTAL

85.6

16.1

101.7

51.6

9.2

60.8

The Mount Klappan mineral resource and mineral reserve estimates were prepared in 2002 and 2005, respectively by Marston in compliance with National Instrument 43-101.  Richard Marston, P.E. is the Qualified Person responsible for the estimates.  Further information can be obtained regarding the Mount Klappan mineral resource and mineral reserve estimates is available in the Company�s disclosures under the Company�s profile on the SEDAR website at www.sedar.com.

UPDATED ECONOMIC ANALYSIS
The base case economic analysis assumes a price of US$175 / tonne for premium PCI coal for the first 5 years, and then US$150 / tonne for the remainder of the 20-year mine life at a C$1.00 = US$0.83 exchange rate.  A summary of the base case economics updated from the current exchange rate is shown in the table below.  Updated coal price sensitivity analysis to coal price increments of US$10 and 25 / tonne were also prepared and are presented in the second table below.

UPDATED BASE CASE ECONOMICS

 

PRE-TAX

AFTER-TAX

IRR

40.9%

31.2%

NPV (8% DISCOUNT)

C$ 1,281 M

C$ 596 M

CAPITAL (1ST 3 YEARS)

C$ 655 M

 

UPDATED ECONOMICS AT COAL PRICE SENSITIVITIES

FOBT PRICE

PRE-TAX IRR

PRE-TAX NPV (8%) DISCOUNT

AFTER-TAX IRR

AFTER-TAX NPV (8%) DISCOUNT

CASH COST / TONNE

US$ 110

7.8%

(C$8,234 M)

4.2%

($118,634 M)

US$   84.77

US$ 120

14.8%

C$280,312 M

10.5%

$83,394 M

US$   85.17

US$ 130

20.6%

C$534,966 M

15.3%

$256,124 M

US$   87.14

US$ 140

26.0%

C$789,864 M

19.9%

$427,883 M

US$   88.72

US$ 150

31.3%

C$1,052,059 M

24.2%

$599,291 M

US$   90.00

US$ 175

43.6%

C$1,689,984 M

33.9%

$1,012,859 M

US$   93.55

US$ 200

55.9%

C$2,345,840 M

43.2%

$1,435,972 M

US$   96.63

US$ 225

67.8%

C$2,990,744 M

52.1%

$1,851,898 M

US$   99.94

US$ 250

79.3%

C$3,636,111 M

60.8%

$2,268,217 M

US$ 103.22

US$ 275

90.7%

C$4,281,148 M

69.1%

$2,683,856 M

US$ 106.50

US$ 300

101.9%

C$4,098,312 M

76.9%

$3,095,488 M

US$ 109.90

Note: The cash cost per tonne of coal includes government production royalties, which escalate with higher revenues resulting from increased coal price sensitivity.

With the present volatility in global capital markets and commodity prices, Fortune Minerals is pleased to report that recent economic modelling for the Lost Fox deposit at Mount Klappan continues to show a positive rate of return at low coal prices, and very robust economics at higher coal price sensitivities up to US$300 / tonne that were realized in 2008.  With global shortages of good quality metallurgical coal, and particularly anthracite, Mount Klappan continues to be a very attractive development asset.

About Fortune Minerals
Fortune Minerals is a diversified natural resource company with several mineral deposits and a number of exploration projects, all located in Canada.  They include the Mount Klappan anthracite coal deposits in British Columbia, and the NICO cobalt-gold-bismuth deposit, the Sue-Dianne copper-silver deposit and other base and precious metals exploration projects in the Northwest Territories.  Fortune Minerals is focussed on outstanding performance and growth of shareholder value through assembly and development of high quality mineral resource projects.
 
For further information please contact:

Fortune Minerals Limited
Robin Goad, President - or -
Lindsay Simmons, IR Coordinator
Tel.: (519) 858-8188
Fax: (519) 858-8155
info@fortuneminerals.com

Renmark Financial Communications Inc.
Dan Symons : dsymons@renmarkfinancial.com
Rea Joline C. Unson : runson@renmarkfinancial.com
Montreal - Tel.: 514 939-3989 / Fax: 514 939-3717
Toronto - Tel.: 416 644-2020 / Fax: 416 644-2021
www.renmarkfinancial.com

This press release contains forward-looking information.  This forward-looking information includes, or may be based upon, estimates, forecasts, and statements as to management�s expectations with respect to, among other things, the size and quality of the Company�s mineral resources, progress in development of mineral properties, demand and market outlook for metals and coal and future metal and coal prices. Forward-looking information is based on the opinions and estimates of management at the date the information is given, and is subject to a variety of risks and uncertainties and other factors that could cause actual events or results to differ materially from those projected in the forward-looking information.  These factors include the inherent risks involved in the exploration and development of mineral properties, uncertainties with respect to the receipt or timing of required permits and regulatory approvals, the uncertainties involved in interpreting drilling results and other geological data, fluctuating metal and coal prices, the possibility of project cost overruns or unanticipated costs and expenses, uncertainties relating to the availability and costs of financing needed in the future and other factors. Mineral resources that are not mineral reserves do not have demonstrated economic viability. Inferred mineral resources are considered too speculative geologically to have economic considerations applied to them that would enable them to be categorized as mineral reserves.  There is no certainty that mineral resources will be converted into mineral reserves.  The forward-looking information contained herein is given as of the date hereof and the Company assumes no responsibility to update or revise such information to reflect new events or circumstances, except as required by law.

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Data and Statistics for these countries : Canada | China | Vietnam | All
Gold and Silver Prices for these countries : Canada | China | Vietnam | All

Fortune Minerals Ltd

DEVELOPMENT STAGE
CODE : FT.TO
ISIN : CA34967D1015
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Fortune Minerals is a gold and copper development stage company based in Canada.

Fortune Minerals develops gold, copper, bismuth, coal and cobalt in Canada.

Its main assets in development are NICO and MOUNT KLAPPAN in Canada and its main exploration properties are JBG (JAMES BOND GIRL), OLYM-PIC-DAM, SALKELD LAKE, WHEEL OF FORTUNE, GREAT SLAVE, GREAT SLAVE and SUE DIANNE in Canada.

Fortune Minerals is listed in Canada, in Germany and in United States of America. Its market capitalisation is CA$ 23.7 millions as of today (US$ 19.0 millions, € 16.6 millions).

Its stock quote reached its highest recent level on March 27, 1998 at CA$ 6.70, and its lowest recent point on February 19, 2016 at CA$ 0.02.

Fortune Minerals has 296 700 000 shares outstanding.

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