Metal Tech News – August 31, 2022
In another milestone along the path to establishing a major rare earths hub in Saskatchewan, the province announced that the Saskatchewan Research Council poured the first rare earth metal ingots ever in Canada at the REE processing, separations, and metals facility it is developing near the city of Saskatoon.
Saskatchewan's mission to become a leader in rare earths processing and production began with an initial C$31 million (US$24 million) for SRC to build the first facility in North America capable of upgrading rare earths-enriched monazite sand into a mixed REE product and then separate the contained rare earths into individual REE oxides.
The province has since expanded the plans for this facility to include the production of rare earth metals. In June of this year, the government announced that it is investing an additional C$20 million (US$15.5 million) toward the achievement of this expanded capacity at the Saskatoon facility.
On Aug. 26, only two months after making the investment, Saskatchewan Minister Jeremy Harrison was presented with the first rare earth ingots ever poured in Canada.
"This milestone shows the incredible progress that SRC is making towards a key element of our government's 2030 Growth Plan and in fact, now actually exceeds that original objective," said the minister responsible for SRC, Jeremy Harrison. "Our investments into this facility are already starting to show impacts that will be highly valuable over the coming decades."
Once fully operational, SRC's fully integrated rare earths processing, separations, and metals facility will be the first of its kind in North America. By 2024, this three-stage REE plant will be producing REE products for sale in the international market. This will include individual rare earth oxides and didymium metals, which are a mixture of praseodymium and neodymium used to make the powerful permanent magnets used in electric vehicle motors, wind turbine generators, and a wide range of other high-tech and household goods.
"SRC is proud to be a world leader in rare earth element processing and separation technologies and now to be able to add metal processing to that list, is an incredible accomplishment," Saskatchewan Research Council President and CEO Mike Crabtree said. "The production of rare earth metal is a very important, strategic step for the facility, for Saskatchewan and in establishing a rare earth supply chain in Canada."