A new mining project could kick off operations as soon as March.
Mining for rare earth minerals is set to begin at the Nechalacho site, 100 kilometres east of Yellowknife, as first reported by NNSL.
Cheetah Resources, which is opening the mine, has signed a contract worth up to $8.7 million with Det’on Cho Nahanni Construction.
Det’on Cho Nahanni Construction is owned by the Yellowknives Dene First Nation through its business arm Det’on Cho Management. Workers from the construction company will travel to Nechalacho by the end of March and build a small open-pit mining operation.
“Vital Metals aims to become the lowest cost producer of mixed rare earth oxide outside of China,” according to a statement on Cheetah Resources’ website.
The Nechalacho project received a boost back in December when Cheetah Resources found a buyer for the ore.
Avalon Mining, who owns the Nechalacho mining site but have handed off operations to Australian mining company Cheetah Resources, has received payment from Norwegian mineral extraction company REETecAs, in exchange for the near-surface resources on the property.
Cheetah Resources, also known as Vital Metals. will mine the near surface portion of the mine for rare-earth metals, and sell the product to the Norwegian company.
The deal is worth $5 million dollars. The mine will gather from deposits of rare earth minerals, including lithium, zirconium, beryllium, niobium and tantalum.
The metals are commonly used in electronics, including in rechargeable electric car batteries and cell phones.
In a statement when the partnership was announced, Don Bubar, chief executive officer of Avalon, said he was delighted to see progress towards “initiating a new rare earths supply chain in Canada.”
This project would provide renewed economic output from a mining industry that is largely past its peak in the territory, according to economic analysis.