ASX-listed Vital Metals will redesign the north T pit of its Nechalacho mine in Canada's Northwest Territories.
The pit will be redesigned due to the efficiency of the ore sorter, Vital Metals said. It is capable of sorting lower grade than expected, and increasing the amount of material to be sorted.
The five-month maiden mining campaign has mined nearly 58,000 tonnes of ore from the north T pit. This mining campaign aimed to demonstrate the viability of the mine as a rare earths project.
"The 58,000 tonnes of ore mined contains approximately 11,500t of ore previously identified within our pit design with the remaining 47,500t previously classified as waste," Vital Metals executive Geoff Atkins said.
It includes ore from the top 5 meters of surface, which was originally excluded from the original resource. However, Vital Metals found that this material could be sorted by the ore sorter.
Vital mined 408,000 tonnes, or two years' worth of ore, which is 68% of the planned 599,000 tonnes to be mined.
The mining plan will be completed during the summer, with a follow-up mining campaign to be completed in the summer of 2023 or 2024.
The company has produced more than 1,000 bags of beneficiated product at site, with each weighing in at approximately 1,000kg. Several of the bags have arrived in Saskatoon, which will be processed at the rare earths extraction plant which has yet to be built.
Vital has now stockpiled nearly 11,000 cubed meters of material at Nechalacho, which includes 1,630 cubed meters of high-grade ore, 4,240 cubed meters of low-grade ore, and 4,770 cubed meters of fines. Vital will process this stockpile on site.
Vital inked an agreement with Ucore in October to supply feedstock for Ucore's Strategic Metals Complex in Alaska.
Concentrate will be sent from Saskatoon to Prince Rupert, BC via train, and will be shipped to Ketchikan, Alaska.