Rare earths are found in Canada’s Northwest Territories. Now they are also being developed commercially.
Rare earths have been mined in Canada since this summer. The country thus joins the still manageable number of countries producing these important raw materials.
About 110 kilometers southeast of Yellowknife, the capital of the Northwest Territories, lies the Nechalacho mine, which is rich in heavy rare earths. According to operator Vital Metals, the mine is expected to yield about 5,000 tons of rare earths by 2025. Mining company Det’on Cho Nahanni Construction Corporation will mine the resources. The company is owned by the Yellowknives Dene First Nation, which is thus responsible for resource extraction on its tribal territory. Tribal leader Ernest Betsina hopes that this will lead to careful management of the area’s natural resources. The project participants attach great importance to this. For example, no chemicals are used on site. Instead, the rock extracted from the mine is crushed on site and the most valuable components are transported away for further processing in Saskatoon in southern Canada. The refining process then takes place in Norway. Vital Metals’ goal is to become the largest independent supplier of rare earths outside China. The company also has plans to extract raw materials in Tanzania.