Investors have been responsive to the expansion of rare earths extraction efforts southeast of Yellowknife according to Cheetah Resources, the company working to get those valuable materials out of the ground.
Cheetah announced on Monday that it has been able to attract $7.5 million by selling stock in the company to new and existing investors.
Geoff Atkins, Cheetah Resources managing director said in a statement that confidence from investors is positive news.
“We are pleased with the support from new institutional investors and existing shareholders,” he said. “This equity funding coupled with the recent announcement that (Cheetah) has executed a binding term sheet to construct its rare earth extraction facility adjacent to Canada’s first rare earth separation facility underpins (Cheetah’s) plans to become the world’s newest independent supplier of clean rare earth feed stock outside China.”
The company said it intends to use the fresh cash to pay for the processing of ore next year, for more exploration work and to buy equipment.
David Connelly, Cheetah’s vice-president, strategy and corporate affairs told NNSL Media the company was ambitious in its targets for this project, but that things have come along as envisioned except for changes to accommodate Covid-19.
Starting in January 2019, within a year Cheetah had its permitting signed and amended, built an ice road to the Nechalacho site from Yellowknife. Critical equipment was ordered and prepared the Nechalacho site for operations earlier this year.
A major contract with the Deton Cho Corporation was made to do the mining beginning in the spring of 2021.
Last week the company made a major announcement that it signed a binding term sheet to negotiate definitive agreements with the Saskatchewan Research Council (SRC). Cheetah expects to build a $5.25 million “stage 3” rare earth extraction plant in Saskatoon to be operational next year. That plant will process concentrated ore into a mixed rare earth carbonate product.
That product will then go to a “stage 4” rare earth processing facility being built by the SRC to be operational by late 2022. That facility will convert rare earth carbonate to commercial grade separated rare earth oxides, the final product sold to customers.
“I think we all know that it has been very challenging for smaller companies to raise monies for projects both in general and in the NWT in particular,” Connelly said. “The fact that there has been a strong response to this funding of investors oversubscribed or heavily subscribed, indicates that this project is gaining investor confidence internationally.”