Appia is one of the many mining companies operating in northern Saskatchewan. He began to find rare earth elements about 30 kilometers northeast of Uranium City.
The Saskatchewan government has announced that it will spend $ 31 million to build a new rare earth processing facility in Saskatoon. The factory will process the items for sale in the international market.
This is great news for Drivas. He said processing previously meant shipping the items overseas to China or another country with a processing facility.
“We are very excited and we are very happy to see that the CBC [Saskatchewan Research Council] and the Government of Saskatchewan finally agreed to develop this processing facility, ”he said.
Appia had used a SRC pilot project with rare earth processing and testing. Drivas said he was excited because he knew they were perfectly capable of doing the treatment.
There are 17 rare earth elements: cerium, dysprosium, erbium, europium, gadolinium, holmium, lanthanum, lutetium, neodymium, praseodymium, promethium, samarium, scandium, terbium, thulium, ytterbium and yttrium.
These elements are rare to find in large quantities, but Drivas said that is what his company finds many of them in northern Saskatchewan, especially neodymium and praseodymium – two common parts of the electronic.
“They are basically in high demand,” he said. “For electric vehicles, for wind turbines and other high-tech applications, computers, the military, aerospace. “
Appia’s findings in northern Saskatchewan show the need for a facility here, Saskatchewan Research Council President and CEO Mike Crabtree said. He said that these rare earth minerals are an essential aspect of modern life.
“Almost all electronics, electric vehicles, wind turbines, solar, anything essential to modern life requires rare earth elements,” Crabtree said. “The components they contain are often a very small component, but an essential component. ”
Crabtree said the SRC believes demand is going to increase 20-fold due to people’s growing reliance on renewables and electric vehicles. He said Saskatchewan, as a resource-producing province, knows how to manage these things and has the technologies to deal with them.
“We have now created the opportunity to build what will be the first processing plant of its kind, not only in Saskatchewan or Canada, but in North America as a whole,” said Crabtree.
Crabtree said most of the rare earth processing occurs in places like China. He said it would be easy to draw the line between the current tensions between Canada and China as a reason to build the facility, but rather it is an independent strategic investment in a growing industry.
The facility will be located in Saskatoon as part of the Saskatchewan Research Council’s extensive mining and energy campus. Crabtree said it will create jobs both during the construction phase and once the processing plant is up and running.