ASX-listed Vital Metals becomes Canada’s first rare earth producer

Mineral explorer and developer Vital Metals has commenced operations at its Nechalacho project, becoming Canada’s first rare earth producer in the process.

Nechalacho, located 100 km Southeast of Yellowknife in Canada’s Northwest Territories, hosts a world class resource of 94.7 million tonnes at 1.46% REO (measured, indicated and inferred), including a high-grade zone with a resource of 101,000 tonnes at 9.01% LREO (2.2% NdPr).

“Mining activities are over 30% complete with waste material removed from the pit to enable the first blast of ore on 28 June and we are now stockpiling ore for the crusher,” said ASX-listed Vital’s managing director Geoff Atkins.

“We will continue to ramp up crushing and ore sorting with full production rates expected to be achieved in July. Beneficiated material will be stockpiled for transport to our extraction plant in Saskatoon.”

Vital’s first production milestone comes after a report by the Standing Committee on Natural Resources on the need for Canada to secure a supply of critical minerals was presented before the House of Commons last week.

China currently owns as much as 80% of the global processing capacity for rare earths, following decades of investment in strategic mineral assets across the world. According to data gathered by the committee, China is likely to hold about 67% of the global capacity to build lithium-ion batteries by 2030.