Vital Metals | Country 600 CJWW

Having the Prime Minister visit the Vital Metals’ rare earth facility in Saskatoon is acknowledgement that the company is on the leading edge of this new industry which needs these elements for batteries used in green technology. That’s according to its managing director, John Dorward, who notes that they are the first in Canada and only the second in North America.

Vital Metals, through a partnership with a Dene mining company in Northwest Territories, mines the ore and crushes and sorts it, then it is sent to Saskatoon to be processed.

Right now, the project is a relatively small one, which is economically viable on its own, but it also serves as a demonstration plant or proof-of-concept for a much larger mining and processing endeavour.

This larger mine in the Northwest Territories would have a 30 to 50 year mine life, and Dorward says the Saskatoon facility could expand to accommodate it.

The goal for Vital Metals, Dorward says, is to become a strong part of the supply chain of rare earths that power the green economy.

Dorward expects that Vital has early-mover advantage in Canada, because they are the first in the country, and adds that there has been interest from companies in the green energy world.

Global Affairs Canada organized some meetings with car companies, and Dorward says the first question was about how responsible the company is in its mining and processing.

He was able to tell these potential customers that their mining process includes no chemicals and no tailings ponds.

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