The acquisition is said to complement Vital’s light rare earths operations at Nechalacho, where it has recently started production


Refined rare-earth oxides are heavy gritty powders. (Credit: Peggy Greb, US department of agriculture/Wikipedia)

Vital Metals has signed an agreement with Quebec Precious Metals (QPM) to acquire the latter’s stake in two heavy rare earth projects in Quebec, Canada.

Under the terms of the agreement, Vital will buy QPM’s 68% stake in Kipawa and 100% in the Zeus exploration projects for a total of C$8m ($6.3m).

Investissement Québec (IQ), the joint venture partner of QPM, will retain the remaining 32% of the Kipawa project.

Kipawa is a heavy rare earths project, located 50km from Temiscaming in Quebec, with a proven and probable reserve estimate of 19.8Mt at 0.411% TREO.

The acquisition of QPM’s heavy rare earth projects is said to complement Vital’s light rare earths operations at Nechalacho, where it has recently started production.

QPM chief executive officer Normand Champigny said: “We are pleased with the acquisition by Vital Metals of the Projects. We have been successful in our monetization of our non-core assets since the creation of QPM in 2018.”

The Kipawa and Zeus projects hold 73 claims over 43km2 area and are located in the Grenville geological province, around 55km south of the Superior geological province.

The lithologies are primarily comprised of gneiss with a grade of metamorphism ranging from the greenschist facies to the amphibolite-granulite facies.

The Kipawa deposit is defined by three enriched horizons within the Syenite Complex, which contains some light rare earth oxides but primarily heavy rare earth oxides.

The Zeus project has been identified holding twelve heavy rare earth showings, some of which contain niobium and tantalum.

The acquisition is expected to be completed by 28 February 2022, subject to access for due diligence.

Vital Metals intends to pay the consideration using its existing cash reserves.

Vital Metals managing director Geoff Atkins said: “The acquisition of the Projects provides Vital with a unique opportunity to become a producer of both heavy and light rare earths.

“Having commenced operations of Canada’s first rare earths mine at our Nechalacho project in Northwest Territories, Canada, the potential to develop the Kipawa project will allow us to produce a full suite of rare earths.

“It has potential to increase Vital Metals’ position as a strategic player in the North American critical minerals supply chain at a time where demand continues to grow.”