Nechalacho, the NWT’s first new metals mine in decades, is about to enter production. Its owners envisage a model of smaller-scale mining, Indigenous involvement, and environmental responsibility.
The mine, around 100 km east of Yellowknife, is the first Canadian producer of rare earth elements – minerals that, in small quantities, power key parts of vehicles (especially electric vehicles) and various green technologies.
Phase one of the mine is small by NWT mining standards, sustaining around 30 seasonal jobs. This summer, 600,000 tons of rock will be mined, of which around 100,000 tons is expected to be valuable.
The mine is by no means an economic saviour in the territory’s otherwise depressed mining climate, but owner Cheetah Resources hopes to demonstrate it can run a small mine with minimal footprint that produces a high standard of rare earth concentrate.
On Monday, senior figures at Nechalacho gave a tour of the site to reporters. They say the mine stands out for its modest approach and lack of tailings in a territory beset by heavily contaminated sites.
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