Construction started for Tlicho all season road project in Whati

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Government of the Northwest Territories (GNWT), Canada, held a ground-breaking ceremony in the community of Whati to celebrate the commencement of construction of the Tlicho All-Season Road (Tlicho Road) under PPP scheme.

This 97-kilometer, two-lane gravel highway will replace the existing winter ice road to Whati and provide a more reliable all-season connection to the Territorial highway system. Fortune’s NICO Cobalt-Gold-Bismuth-Copper Project (NICO Project) is located 50 kilometers north of Whati and the Company plans to construct a spur road to the mine as part of its proposed development.

The NICO Project is one of the few cobalt development assets outside of the Democratic Republic of Congo to service demand growth in lithium-ion batteries used to power portable electronic devices, electric vehicles, and stationary energy storage systems to make electricity use more efficient. The Mineral Reserves for the NICO Project also contain more than one million ounces of gold.

The GNWT is working in partnership with the Tlicho and federal governments to develop the Tlicho Road. The Government of Canada is providing up to 25 percent of the CAD 213.8 million (US$ 309.52 million) construction costs through the P3 Canada Fund. The GNWT is funding the remaining 75 percent, using a private-public partnership (P3) structure with North Star, a consortium consisting of Kiewit Canada Development Corp. and the Tlicho Government, together with design-build partners Peter Kiewit Sons ULC, Hatch Corporation, and Thurber Engineering Ltd. North Star will design, finance, construct, operate and maintain the Tlicho Road over a 28-year period for a total contract value of CAD 411.8 million (US$ 309.52 million). The Tlicho Government has invested approximately CAD 16 million (US$ 309.52 million) to purchase a 20 percent equity interest in North Star.

Construction of the Tlicho Road is expected to commence in September 2019 and officially open to the public in 2022. In addition to extending all-season road access to Whati, this transformative project will also improve the reliability of winter ice roads extending north to the communities of Gameti and Wekweti and bring transportation efficiencies to help reduce the cost of living for the region, support new social opportunities, and encourage resource exploration and development. Road construction and maintenance will also result in significant employment and training opportunities for Tlicho residents.

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