Cheetah Resources Earns MAX Mining Award For Economic Leadership

20 November 2022

Yellowknife NT (November 20, 2022) – The NWT’s mining industry recognized Canada’s first rare earth miner, Cheetah Resources Corp., for innovation and leadership in Indigenous and northern employment and procurement, and its contribution to the mining and export sectors of the NWT economy.

“Vital has successfully developed an entire mine-to-market supply chain for Northwest Territories rare earths,” said NWT Premier Caroline Cochrane in presenting the Economic Leadership Award at the industry’s MAX (Mining and Exploration) gala in Yellowknife November 17. “They have put our territory on the map as the first rare earth producer in Canada and have opened an entire new economic chapter for the Northwest Territories.”

In accepting the award, Cheetah’s Vice President of Strategy and Corporate Affairs, David Connelly, acknowledged the hard work and innovation of the Cheetah team and its parent company, Vital Metals. “Thank you to our wonderful staff, and I also want to thank our five Indigenous partners,” said Connelly. “A lot of you have helped earn this award, it belongs to everyone in this room and we're really proud and humbled.” Among the benefits accrued at Cheetah’s Nechalacho Rare Earth Project are a 70 per cent Indigenous and 85 per cent Northern hiring and training record among its 58-person workforce during its 2021 seasonal operation. Over 160 NWT businesses supported the Nechalacho mine’s operations 110 kilometres southeast of Yellowknife, building a 90 per cent Northern procurement record.

Since acquiring the deposit in 2019, Vital and Cheetah have mobilized a mining team lead by the Yellowknives Dene-owned Det’on Cho Corporation and deployed innovative environmentally low-impact, sensor-based technology for sorting and concentrating the rare earth ore. The overall environmental impact has been measured at substantially less than conventional metal mining. Cheetah continues to partner with community, education and research groups, and recently signed on to the Mining Association of Canada’s Towards Sustainable Mining Standards.

At the MAX gala’s charity auction in aid of Yellowknife’s Adopt-a-Family support program, Cheetah was proud to have partnered with Ahmic Air to sponsor an exclusive tour next summer of the site. Under the skilled and entertaining encouragement of auctioneer Wally Schumann, Angela Bigg’s winning bid of $1,950 earned the tour, one of a dozen donations that raised $53,100 for Adopt-a-Family.

This was the third year of the MAX event which is co-sponsored by the NWT/Nunavut Chamber of Mines and the GNWT’s Department of Industry, Tourism and Investment. Cheetah congratulates other achievers including the Rio Tinto, Arctic Canadian Diamond and De Beers corporations, the NWT Geological Survey, the Tlicho Government, Women in Mining leader Gaeleen MacPherson and renowned bear specialist Andy McMullen.