Minister Vandal announces investment in processing rare earth elements in Saskatchewan

Saskatchewan Research Council to advance the processing and commercialization of rare earth elements with support from the Government of Canada

SASKATOON, SK, March 14, 2024 /CNW/ – Saskatchewan is a mining powerhouse, providing potash for agriculture, uranium for clean fuel, helium for medical and industrial use, and now rare earth elements (REEs), which are used in electric vehicles (EVs), wind turbines, electronics daily and industrial uses.

Minister Vandal Announces Investment in Rare Earth Processing in Saskatchewan (CNW Group/Prairies Economic Development Canada)Minister Vandal Announces Investment in Rare Earth Processing in Saskatchewan (CNW Group/Prairies Economic Development Canada)

Minister Vandal Announces Investment in Rare Earth Processing in Saskatchewan (CNW Group/Prairies Economic Development Canada)

Thanks to leaders like the Saskatchewan Research Council, the province is moving beyond mining and exploration to processing and commercializing value-added products using REE at the rare earth processing facility in Saskatoonthe first of its kind in Canada.

IN Saskatoon today, the Honorable Dan Vandal, Minister responsible for PrairiesCan, announced the funding of 6 million dollars to support the Saskatchewan Research Council in their rare earth processing facility. This investment will help create and commercialize a process to separate rare earth oxides (REOs) from radioactive monazite waste that would otherwise have been disposed of, resulting in enough additional rare earths to produce up to 65,000 EV per year. The funding also helps develop an automated metal smelting process to produce commercial rare earth metals. The investment is being made through PrairiesCan to support economic development and diversification and help build a stronger Prairies economy.

Today’s funding builds on previous support from PrairiesCan of 2.5 million dollars in interest-free repayable financing to SRC for the purchase of the equipment needed to establish the rare earth processing facility and a recent investment of approx. 5 million dollars from Natural Resources Canada through the Critical Minerals Research, Development and Demonstration program.

The government of Canada, through the Critical Minerals Strategy, is making substantial investments in critical minerals and creating the foundation for a greener and more sustainable economy for the future. These investments are examples of the greater collaboration called for in the new Framework to Build a Green Prairies Economy. The framework was launched in December 2023 as a long-term commitment to better coordination among federal departments, driving strategic investments across the Prairies and greater collaboration with other levels of government and Prairie partners. It aims to support economic growth across the Prairies that leaves no one behind and creates good-paying jobs.

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“Our government is seizing opportunities to invest in a strong and sustainable future for all Canadians while supporting our regional strengths such as mining, exploration and mineral processing. Saskatchewan’s Leadership in this sector will help create a domestic rare earth supply chain that adds value to our economy and creates good jobs for Canadians.”
– The Honorable Dan Vandal, Minister responsible for PrairiesCan

“With this investment from PrairiesCan, along with the startup 71 million dollars investments from the Government SaskatchewanSRC continues to break new ground in the rare earth space, helping to establish a rare earth center in Saskatchewan. These latest innovations will ensure Saskatchewan is producing the highest quality REE metals to power global technology.”
– The Honorable Jeremy Harrison, Minister Responsible for the Saskatchewan Research Council

“What’s happening at SRC right now is very exciting. This work is essential to help meet the global demand for magnets and rare earth minerals that will be needed to power the future. These investments from both the federal government and from the provincial one are crucial for the acceleration by having this processing facility in Saskatoon it creates a tremendous opportunity to develop an economic cluster here as we continue to diversify our economy and create good jobs for the future.”
– His Worship Charlie Clark, Mayor of Saskatoon

“This funding will allow SRC to optimize two important processes in the rare earth supply chain, producing more rare earth elements while doing it faster, safer and with less demand for manual labor.”
–Mike Crabtree, President and CEO, Saskatchewan Research Council

Fast facts

  • The government of Canada has identified 31 critical minerals, and 23 of them can be found in Saskatchewan.

  • Canada has some of the largest known reserves and resources of rare earth oxides, estimated at over 14 million tonnes in 2021.

  • Expenses for mineral exploration in Saskatchewan reached a 10-year high in 2023, with uranium exploration leading the way, demonstrating the region’s high global investment attractiveness (Saskatchewan Ministry of Energy and Resources Exploration and Development Highlights Report, 2023).

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SOURCE Prairies Economic Development Canada

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