The Saskatchewan government has this week announced C$7.5-million in funding to support rare earth elements (REE) processing facilities in the province.
Rare earths company Vital Metals received an interest-free, repayable contribution of C$5-million to install equipment and start processing bastnaesite concentrate to produce mixed rare-earth carbonate at its new plant in Saskatoon.
The Vital processing facility will be the only North American producer of mixed rare earth carbonate using ore from its own mine. Cheetah Resources, which is part of Vital Metals, started production at the Nechalacho rare earth project, in the Northwest Territories, in June last year.
"Vital Metals welcomes Canada's investment in our Saskatoon rare earth processing facility. It is a strong signal of Canada's confidence in our capacity to provide responsibly sourced and produced rare earth for our friends and allies. This bold private sector-government collaboration makes Canada's place as the cornerstone of rare earth supply chains for the green economy a reality,” commented VP of strategy and corporate affairs David Connelly.
The Saskatchewan Research Council (SRC) received C$2.5-million in interest-free, repayable funding to purchase equipment needed to establish a rare earth processing facility in Saskatoon that produces mixed rare earth carbonate by processing monazite ore.
The SRC facility will comprise a processing unit to make mixed rare earth carbonate, a separation unit to separate the rare earths and a metals unit that will produce rare earth metals.
It will be the first of its kind in North America, helping to pave the way for an REE supply chain in Saskatchewan and creating a model for future commercial resource development and expansion.
The facility is located adjacent to the Vital Metals facility, laying the foundation for a rare earths hub in Saskatoon.
"Saskatchewan is a leader in mining and our government is continuing to make investments to support the establishment of a domestic rare earth supply chain. Canadian companies are not only suppliers of resources, but also processors and producers of value-added products, which will strengthen our economy, create good jobs for Canadians and help us build a cleaner and brighter future,” commented Minister of Northern Affairs, PrairiesCan and CanNor Dan Vandal.