Canada’s first rare earth producer begins shipping concentrate

Aerial view of Nechalacho rare earths mine pit. (Image courtesy of Vital Metals.)

Vital Metals’ (ASX: VML) Nechalacho rare earths mine in Canada’s Northwest Territories has begun deliveries, the Canadian Press reported.

Rare earth production at Nechalacho began last year, making the mine the first rare earth producer in Canada and the second in North America, besides California’s Mountain Pass mine.

According to the company, Nechalacho, located 100km southeast of Yellowknife, hosts a world-class resource of 94.7Mt at 1.46% REO (measured, indicated and inferred). Nechalacho’s North T Zone hosts a high-grade resource of 101,000 tonnes at 9.01% LREO (2.2% NdPr).

“We commenced mining ore from the North T starter pit in June 2021, which we are crushing and sorting on site. We will transport beneficiated material to our Saskatoon rare earth extraction plant later this year,” the company’s website states.

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Vital Metals said it aims to produce a minimum of 5,000 tonnes of contained REO by 2025 at the project, and has signed an off-take agreement with Norwegian company REEtec for Stage 1 production with the supply of 1,000t REO (ex-Cerium)/yr for an initial five-year period.