Nechalacho mine worker Cruze Jerome spent Friday in Ottawa watching US President Joe Biden address Canadians in Parliament.
Vital Metals, owner of Nechalacho, said Jerome and Saskatoon processing facility worker Laurie George were invited by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau “to represent Canada’s important role in building a continental supply chain for critical minerals.”
Nechalacho is a small-scale rare earths mine, supplying raw materials ultimately used in the likes of batteries, vehicles and various forms of green technology.
Biden, making his first official visit to Canada as president, touched on critical minerals in his speech. Rare earths are included on both US and Canadian critical minerals lists, meaning they are considered vital to the economy and those governments are making efforts to support mining them in North America.
Jerome, 21, is Inuvialuit and works as an equipment operator at Nechalacho, Vital said. He wore a sealskin vest to Parliament for the event.
“I wouldn’t have imagined this just last week, when I was working at camp,” Jerome was quoted as saying in a press release.
“I’m so young and I didn’t expect to even have this opportunity given to me. I like how the president spoke of the multi-generational work that we’re doing, looking towards the future of generations of Canadians.”