Nechalacho mine owner announces $5M loan for Sask facility
The owner of the NWT’s Nechalacho rare earth minerals mine says it is receiving a $5-million federal loan to help build an extraction facility in Saskatchewan.
Vital Metals began producing rare earths at Nechalacho, about 100 km east of Yellowknife, in June 2021. The minerals, in small quantities, power key parts of electric vehicles and various green technologies.
The company has long envisaged mining rare earths in the NWT, transporting the raw material to Saskatoon, and turning that into a rare earth carbonate at its extraction plant.
On Sunday evening, Vital Metals said PrairiesCan, the Prairies’ equivalent of the CanNor economic development agency, would provide a $5-million zero-interest loan repayable over five years from 2024.
The money, the company said, would provide working capital “for 32 percent of eligible costs relating to establishing operations and commissioning of the rare earth extraction facility in Saskatoon.”
Vital has begun work to build the facility and expects first production of a rare earth carbonate at the site in June.
Correction: April 4, 2022 – 11:53 MT. This article initially stated the carbonate will eventually be delivered to a separate processing facility also in Saskatoon. While that was Vital’s former plan, the carbonate is now destined for processing in Norway.