Completes First Month Of Rare Earths Production At Canadian Project
Vital Metals Limited (ASX: VML) has successfully completed the first month of rare earths production at Nechalacho rare earths project in Northwest Territories, Canada.
The company is continuing to ramp up rare earths production during July. Vital Metals and its 100% owned subsidiary Cheetah Resources recently held a ceremony which included representatives from the Yellowknives Dene First Nation (YKDFN) and local media outlets to witness rare earth production at Nechalacho.
Managing Director, Geoff Atkins, said Vital’s operation at Nechalacho is the first time an indigenous business is extracting mineral resources from its own territory in Canada, with Det’on Nahanni Construction Ltd, a YKDFN-owned business, completing contract mining at the site.
“We are really pleased with the way our operations are ramping up at Nechalacho, and the exciting developments we’ve made with ore sorter operation and mineralisation in the North T pit wall during July,” Mr Atkins said.
“It was gratifying for us to acknowledge the Yellowknives Dene First Nation as we commenced rare earths production at Nechalacho and we look forward to continuing to develop this relationship with YKDFN as we continue with our plans for a larger scale, long-life operation there.”
Vital commenced processing ore from North T through the Nechalacho ore sorter during July as part of commissioning and training operations. Using only material from the low-grade stockpile (~2-5% TREO), the ore sorter has produced a high-grade beneficiated product from a single pass.
With a target concentrate specification of above 35% TREO, a visual inspection of final product and the ratio of rare earth minerals (red bastnaesite) to waste (white quartz) indicates that the ore sorter has performed as expected. Vital processed the low-grade ore as part of parameter dial in and calibration of the ore sorter.
The immediate production of high grade product, from this material, has exceeded expectations. As sorter operations proceed through August, material from the high and medium grade stockpiles will start to be processed.
Drilling, blasting and mining of ore continued at the North T pit through July, with 6,200 bank cubic metres (BCM) of ore mined and ~120,000 BCM of waste mined for the month. With the majority of mining activities focussed on removing overburden and the establishment of mining infrastructure, such as the waste water storage pond, activities in August are expected to start to enter the main ore body.
The first mining campaign is scheduled to be completed, with mining equipment being demobilised, in October. This will provide sufficient ore to enable multiple years production at Vital’s Rare Earth Plant in Saskatoon.
Meanwhile, mining at Nechalacho’s North T pit has intersected high-grade REO mineralisation in the northern edge of the pit wall which is not included in North T’s existing high-grade Mineral Resource of 101,000 tonnes at 9.01% LREO (comprised of a Measured Resource of 68,000 tonnes at 9.60% LREO and an Indicated Resource of 33,000 tonnes at 7.80% LREO).
This new material provides potential for Vital to expand, in the future, the North T pit beyond the current mine plan.
For further information please visit: https://vitalmetals.com.au/