Canada’s goal to weaken China’s grip on rare earth mining hits snag as prices plunge – by Gabriel Friedman (Financial Post – April 25, 2023)

Vital Metals’ construction halt a reality check on what it will take to diversify

The supply chain snarls of the past few years put a wind at the back of rare earth companies, with governments around the world eager to support a homegrown sector. Now, the current economic turbulence and potential for a recession are testing that momentum.

Last week, Australia’s Vital Metals Ltd. announced that it had halted construction on its half-finished rare earth processing facility in Saskatoon, after its costs rose substantially in recent years.

“The company is pausing all construction-related activities at the Saskatoon processing facility to allow the company to focus on conserving cash and to seek alternative funding sources,” Vital said in an April 18 press release.

Interim chair Richard Crookes was even more direct, stating in the release that there is “no economic imperative” to complete the project at the current time, citing higher costs, lower prices and no market for what the facility aimed to produce.

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