On June 28, First Nations mining contractor Nahanni Construction Ltd. dug a scoop of ore from the North T open pit at Vital Metals Ltd.’s Nechalacho project in Northwest Territories that marked a momentous milestone – Canada is now a rare earths-producing nation.
This first REE ore mined at Nechalacho comes just two years after Australia-based Vital came up with a unique plan to take advantage of relatively small but high-grade mineralization coming to the surface at the project to rapidly produce the rare earths widely used in today’s high-tech devices.
North T has 101,000 metric tons of resources averaging 9.01% total rare earth oxides, compared to other global deposits that tend to average around 1% TREO or less. The high-grade North T ore being mined by Nahanni Construction will be further upgraded with an ore sorter delivered to Nechalacho this spring.
Working with Nahanni Construction Ltd., a Northwest Territories-based company 51% owned by Det’on Cho Corporation, which is in turn owned by the Yellowknives Dene First Nation.
“The Yellowknives Dene First Nation is pleased to be the first Indigenous group in Canada to be responsible for mineral extraction on their traditional territory,” Yellowknives Dene First Nations Chief Ernest Betsina said earlier this year.
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