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    Vital Metals kicks off rare earth production at Nechalacho, Canada

    Australian rare earths producer Vital Metals Limited (ASX: VML) has kicked off production at its Nechalacho rare earths project in Northwest Territories, Canada.

    VML has now become Canada’s first, and North America’s second, rare earths producer

    • Mining contractor Nahanni Construction Ltd completed first blast of ore at Nechalacho’s North T Zone on 28 June 2021, and Vital commenced production with ore crushed at Nechalacho on 30 June 2021.
    • Ore sorter installation is now complete with commissioning underway. The ore sorter is located on-site at Nechalacho.
    • The blasting and mining activities have been ramped up with first ore mined on 29 June 2021. The mining activities are currently over 30% complete.
    • The company is now stockpiling ore for the crusher. Beneficiated material will be stockpiled for transport to the Saskatoon rare earths extraction plant later this year.
    • VML has now become Canada’s first, and North America’s second, rare earths producer.

    Nechalacho project

    Vital Metals’ Nechalacho rare earths project is located in Canada’s Northwest Territories, 100km southeast of Yellowknife.

    The project 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), making it one of the highest-grade rare earths deposits in the world.

    Aerial view of the Nechalacho rare earths project with ore sorter in the foreground and pit in the background
    Aerial view of the Nechalacho rare earths project with ore sorter in the foreground and pit in the background

    Two-stage development

    Vital Metal’s strategy is to develop the Nechalacho project in two stages. Stage 1 of the operations focuses on the North T Zone resource (105,000 tonnes grading 8.9% TREO), and Stage 2 envisages the development of several high-grade zones identified within the much larger Tardiff (Upper Zone) deposit.

    Next up

    Vital Metals is aiming to become the largest independent supplier of clean mixed rare earth feedstock outside of China.

    At the company’s rare earths extraction plant in Saskatoon, a mixed rare earth carbonate product for sale to separation facilities will be produced.

    The company is targeting production of rare earth oxide at Nechalacho in 2021, with early production from a North T starter pit. The Nechalacho North T mine is scheduled to make its first deliveries to the separation plant in November 2021.

    We will continue to ramp up crushing and ore sorting with full production rates expected to be achieved in July”

    Management comments

    Vital Metals’ Managing Director Geoff Atkins said: “Our crews worked hard on site through June to accelerate mining activities, complete the installation of crushing and ore sorting equipment and commence commissioning.

    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.

    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. We look forward to keeping the market updated throughout the ramp up process in what is a very significant milestone for the Company and North America”

    Images: Vital Metals Limited
    Jonathan Norris
    Jonathan is a founder of Mining.com.au and has been covering the resources industry since 2018. With over 17 years experience in print, broadcast and online media, Jonathan has seen first hand the transformative effect of online niche media.

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    • Delayed Prices (USD) - Last Updated 29-06-2022
    • Gold $1,819.40
    • Silver $20.79
    • Platinum $909.00
    • Palladium $1,802.00
    • Dalian Iron Ore i2209 $121.88
    • Aluminium $2,495.50
    • Cobalt $72,400.00
    • Copper $8,417.50
    • Lead $2,003.50
    • Nickel $22,882.00
    • Tin $26,991.00
    • Zinc $3,318.00