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Vital Metals (ASX:VML) - Managing Director, Geoff Atkins
Managing Director, Geoff Atkins
Source: Vital Metals
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  • Vital Metals (VML) opens green this morning after announcing a new deal to provide rare earth carbonate feedstock to TSX-V-listed Ucore Rare Metals
  • Under a memorandum of understanding (MoU) signed between the two companies, Vital will sell 500 tonnes of rare earth oxides to Ucore per year, starting from 2024
  • By 2026, Vital plans to supply to Ucore at least half of the material needed to support its envisioned 5000-tonne-per-year total rare earth oxide processing capability
  • Vital Managing Director Geoff Atkins says the MoU is an “important step” to position Vital as a rare earth feedstock supplier in the North American critical minerals supply chain
  • Shares in Vital Metals are trading steady at 6.2 cents

Rare earths company Vital Metals (VML) has opened green this morning after announcing a new deal to provide rare earth carbonate feedstock to TSX-V-listed Ucore Rare Metals.

The two companies have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) that will see Vital sell a minimum of 500 tonnes of rare earth oxides — excluding cerium — to Ucore per year, starting from 2024.

By 2026, however, Vital plans to supply to Ucore at least half of the material needed to support the Canadian company’s envisioned 5000-tonne-per-year total rare earth oxide processing capability.

Vital Metals produces rare earth concentrate from its flagship Nechalacho project in Canada’s Northwest Territories (NWT). The rare earth carbonate feedstock to be supplied under today’s early-stage business deal will be for Ucore’s ALASKA2023 project.

Vital Metals Managing Director Geoff Atkins said the MoU with Ucore was an “important step” for Vital to position itself as a rare earth feedstock supplier in the North American critical minerals supply chain.

“We are particularly excited that, similarly with REEtec’s position in the European market, Ucore represents the most advanced new rare earth separation company entering into the North American market,” Mr Atkins said.

“To reach this agreement to ensure Ucore’s Alaska SMC has a guaranteed supply of rare earth feedstock to service the North American market is an important milestone in delivering Vital’s business plan.”

Today’s news follows some key amendments to an offtake deal signed with Norwegian rare earths specialist REEtec, announced just yesterday, that will see Vital bump up rare earth product sales to REEtec by 50 per cent.

“We are continuing to grow our operations in Canada and are well-placed to supply both geographies with the complete suite of rare earths,” Mr Atkins said.

Ucore Chairman and CEO Pat Ryan spoke highly of Vital Metals, saying the ASX-listed business was “on the leading edge of developing a North American rare earth element supply chain”.

“This partnership with Vital is an integral step in the development of the Alaska SMC, as Ucore continues to cultivate relationships with potential like-minded upstream and downstream partners in the evolving Western world market,” Mr Ryan said.

The Vital/Ucore MoU is still subject to due diligence from both parties, but Vital said the two companies will negotiate more formal agreements for the supply deal.

Shares in Vital Metals were trading steady at 6.2 cents at 11:31 am AEDT. The company has a $258.2 million market cap.

VML by the numbers
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