In the future, rare earths will not only be extracted on Canadian soil, but also processed. Therefore, the companies Commerce Resources Corp. and Saskatchewan Research Council are joining forces.
Vancouver-headquartered resource company Commerce Resources Corp. and the government-sponsored Saskatchewan Research Council (SRC) signed a memorandum of understanding on Wednesday, according to a news release. Under the terms of the agreement, Commerce will supply mixed rare earth carbonate to SRC, Canada’s second largest research and technology organization. SRC will process the minerals at its own processing plant in Saskatoon. The goal is to create Canada’s first complete rare earth supply chain from mine to metal.
Construction of a Rare Earth Processing Plant in Canada
SRC is currently building North America’s first rare earth metals facility capable of handling all processing steps from minerals to metal. The facility is expected to be fully operational by the end of 2024. According to Commerce President and CEO Chris Grove, this would make SRC the first commercial processor of this raw material group in Canada. The mixed rare earth carbonate to be supplied will come from Commerce’s Ashram Deposit, a rare earth and fluorspar deposit in Quebec, Canada, the release added.
However, SRC is not the first company that wants to build a rare earth plant in Canada. The company Vital Metals also had corresponding plans but stopped them for the time being in April of this year due to a lack of profitability (we reported). Another Canadian company specializing in rare earth metals, Ucore Rare Metals Inc, has been operating a demonstration plant in Kingston, Ontario, since late 2022. In the future, it would like to operate facilities in the neighboring country and is sponsored by the U.S. Department of Defense.
The world’s second-largest country has large reserves of raw materials and could help diversify supply chains, which many countries around the world are currently seeking to do, especially to become less dependent on China, which dominates the rare earths market. Until now, there is only one rare earth mine in Canada.