The first rare-earth mining production operations in Canada have started at Nechalacho.
Blasting and mining activities ramped up with the first ore mined on 29 June.
“Our crews worked hard on-site through June to accelerate mining activities, complete the installation of crushing and ore sorting equipment and commence commissioning,” Vital Metals’ Managing Director Geoff Atkins said in a statement.
“Mining activities are over 30 per cent 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.”
The ore is being crushed with the mine’s new sorter and is being stored on-site before the company’s new Saskatchewan sorting facility is finished construction.
From that facility the ore will be distributed to REEtecAs, a Norwegian company that will process the rare earth metal ore mined at Nechalacho, which has been lined up to purchase $5 million worth of ore.
Cheetah Resource’s vice-president David 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’ve already signed a contract for.
Connelly said there is “absolutely no doubt” that the second stage of mining would be happening.