Avalon Rare Metals has partnered with a plant in France to process materials from its Nechalacho rare earth mine in N.W.T.

In November, the federal government approved plans for the mine 100 kilometres east of Yellowknife. The company originally planned to have a refinery in Pine Point, N.W.T., but then changed the plant's location to Louisiana.

"The only way in which the Northwest Territories benefits from our project is by building the mine and having the hydromet and the refinery somewhere else," said Pierre Neatby, vice-president of sales and marketing for the company.

"The project will not be economic if it's completely in the Northwest Territories. It won't get built. No one will finance it. It won't make any money."

The rare earth concentrate will now be shipped to Louisianna, where it will be processed, then to Solvay's plant in La Rochelle, France, where each rare earth mineral will be separated so it can be sold.

Neatby says the new partnership reduces the company's overall costs by about $350 million, making the project more appealing to investors.

The mine is expected to be built three years after the money is raised to build the mine.

Rare earths are used in the manufacturing of consumer electronics such as cellphones, electric cars and LED lights.