Rare Earth Carbonate Sample Meets Agreed Target Impurity Levels
Vital Metals Limited (ASX: VML) has produced a rare earth carbonate sample within specification at its Nechalacho Project in the North West Territories (NWT) in Canada.
Managing Director, Geoff Atkins, said production of a rare earth carbonate sample which meets specification is an important milestone as the company moves towards rare earth production at the project this year.
“It has allowed us to finalise the process flowsheet and commence our program to provide samples of our product to our off-take partner REEtec in Norway, as well as other potential customers. REEtec can use the sample as part of customer acceptance protocols as outlined in Vital’s agreement with the company,” Mr Atkins said.
Production of the sample follows Vital’s execution of a definitive agreement with Norwegian rare earth separation company REEtec AS earlier this month and continues Vital’s progress towards rare earth production in CY2021. Under the agreement, Vital will provide REEtec an annual volume of 1,000 tonnes of rare earth oxide (ex-cerium or ~2,000t TREO) over five years, with the option to increase this offtake volume up to 5,000 tonnes REO (ex-cerium or ~10,000t TREO) per annum over 10 years (subject to a corresponding supply agreement).
In accordance with the off-take agreement, Vital has been working with REEtec to finalise the rare earth carbonate specification and associated process flowsheet which will minimise the combined Vital and REEtec operating costs for the production of separated rare earth oxides.
Following the successful production of rare earth carbonate which satisfies REEtec’s impurity specifications, Vital has commenced a bulk customer sample production program to generate sufficient quantities of rare earth carbonate to provide to REEtec, and other prospective customers, as part of the customer qualification process. The program is summarised in more detail below.
Vital is on track to commence REO production at Nechalacho this year with Stage 1 production from the North T pit.
Vital has commenced a 30-hole drilling programme at Nechalacho that aims to define a preliminary mine plane for its Stage 1 production from the Tardiff resource (94.7Mt @ 1.46% TREO with over 1.3Mt contained rare earths). The drilling programme will test three high-grade targets in the Tardiff deposit and evaluate potential expansion of the T Zone by targeting two additional zones, the South T and the S zones, which lie adjacent to the planned North T pit