Here’s an inside look at Canada’s first rare earth mining project in the N.W.T. – by Liny Lamberink (CBC North – April 20, 2021)

Kyle Bayha says he’s been a minority at all of his past jobs. But for the last five weeks, the Délı̨nę, Northwest Territories man has been working at the Nechalacho demonstration project as an employee of Det’on Cho Nahanni Construction Corporation.

There, about 110 kilometres southeast of Yellowknife, the workforce is 80 per cent Indigenous he said. “Oh, it means lots,” he told reporters.

Cheetah Resources, which operates the project and owns the resources near the surface of the rare earth deposit, invited media for a tour of Nechalacho on Monday.

The company said it will be the first in Canada to produce rare earth — there are no current producers of rare earths in Canada — and the first in Canada to contract an Indigenous business to extract materials on their own territory.

Det’on Cho Nahanni Construction, partially owned by the Yellowknives Dene First Nation, signed the agreement early last year. But something else that makes Nechalacho stand out from the several other mines where he’s worked, said Bayha, is there aren’t any tailings ponds.

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