The first blasting has happened at the Nechalacho Rare Earth Resources mine, as production gets started.
Stage one of the mining will be a demonstration project, with Cheetah Resources, the company operating the top-level of the mine, already finding a buyer for those resources.
The first stage will involve digging an initial pit 100 metres deep to find bastnaesite ore, a collective term for the rare earth metals that will be mined.
Stage two, while not confirmed, is “definitely going ahead”, according to Cheetah Resource’s Vice President for Strategy and Corporate Affairs, David Connelly.
Connelly said REETecAs has already expressed interest in the next stage of the project, saying they would want five times as much ore as they are currently set to receive from the first stage.
“There’s a multi generational source of rare earth elements,” said Connelly in a previous interview. “What we mine will be driven more by what demand is and not limited by what the supply. So, the limiting factor is will demand not the supply available funds by.”
Around 100,000 tonnes of ore will be produced from mining operations during the demonstration stage, which will be sorted and separated from quartz onsite, said Connelly.
The first blasing is an exciting milestone for the project, according to Vital Metals Managing Director Geoff Atkins.
“Plans are progressing to schedule, with all equipment now delivered to site and we look forward to achieving production status in the coming weeks.,” Atkins said in a statement.
Nechalacho is the first rare earth metals mine in Canada, and one of the few outside of China, who dominate the market for the resources.
The metals are commonly used in electronics, including in rechargeable electric car batteries and cell phones.