INDUSTRY BULLETIN: New Rare Earths Processing Facility to be Established in Saskatchewan
Canada will have a rare earths processing facility in operation by the end of 2022. It was recently announced that the Province of Saskatchewan has committed $31 million to construct a facility with the capacity to refine and separate rare earths from various sources, including the rare earth ore minerals bastnaesite and monazite.
The plant will be owned and operated by the Saskatchewan Research Council (SRC), a Crown corporation with 75 years of experience in mining-related research and technology. The SRC has already had success separating rare earths at the bench and pilot scale levels.
The 6,410 square metre plant will be located in north Saskatoon and will employ about two dozen people. The facility is expected to be fully operational in late 2022, with construction beginning this fall. The SRC anticipates ore or crushed sand will arrive by truck or rail from producers in Canada and the United States, as well as potential overseas clients. Establishing domestic rare earths supply chains has become a priority in North America to reduce reliance on China as a sole source of supply for these critical minerals.
The facility may open doors for new Canadian rare earths producers, such as Avalon Advanced Materials Inc.’s Nechalacho Project at Thor Lake, NWT. Avalon and its property co-owner, Cheetah Resources Corp. (now a subsidiary of ASX-listed Vital Metals Ltd.), continue to advance the project toward bringing a new Canadian supply of neodymium-praseodymium concentrates (the magnet rare earths) to the market in the near term. A local facility such as this will allow Cheetah to demonstrate that the high-grade bastnaesite concentrates Nechalacho will produce can be successfully refined to recover separated rare earth oxides.
Avalon is also continuing to look at other potential near term sources of supply of rare earths, notably the recovery of rare earths from historic mine wastes and acid mine drainage using new extraction technologies.
About Avalon Advanced Materials Inc. (AVL:TSX)
Avalon Advanced Materials Inc. is a Canadian mineral development company specializing in sustainably-produced materials for clean technology. The Company now has four advanced stage projects, providing investors with exposure to lithium, tin and indium, as well as rare earth elements, tantalum, cesium and zirconium. Avalon is currently focusing on developing its Separation Rapids Lithium Project near Kenora, Ontario while looking at several new project opportunities, including re-activating its 100%-owned Lilypad Tantalum-Cesium Project in northwestern Ontario. Social responsibility and environmental stewardship are corporate cornerstones.