Vital Metals Commences Saskatoon REE Plant Commissioning

THE DRILL SERGEANT: Vital Metals (ASX: VML) has commenced feeding ore into a dense media separation (DMS) plant as part of commissioning the company’s rare earth extraction facility in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada.

Vital Metals reported it intends commissioning the Saskatoon facility incrementally over coming months with plans to produce a 2.5 tonnes rare earth carbonate sample for offtake partner REEtec Ag as the next step of product qualification.

Vital is processing ore from its Nechalacho operation in Canada’s Northwest Territories, where mining commenced in mid-2021.

The Saskatoon plant will have initial throughput capacity of 1,000 tonnes/year of rare earth oxide (REO) excluding cerium, which is equivalent to approx. 470 tonnes neodymium and praseodymium (NdPr)/year.

Stage 2 will produce 2,000 tonnes/year REO excluding cerium, equivalent to 940 tonnes NdPr/year.

“This is an exciting step for the company as we continue our transition from rare earth developer to operator,” Vital Metals managing director Geoff Atkins said in the company’s ASX announcement.

“We have been a rare earth miner for more than 12 months and now we can commence production of rare earth carbonate.

“We are excited to have reached this milestone at Saskatoon despite the challenges surrounding supply chains and logistics across the world.

“We are targeting to produce 2.5 tonnes of carbonate for REEtec as an important step of our production qualification process before we commence ramping up our volume.

“We are forecasting for this to occur in October 2022.”