Avalon Rare Metals may not build facility at Pine Point, N.W.T.

Avalon Rare Metals may be rethinking the location of a processing facility for its Nechalacho mine in the N.W.T.

Hydrometallurgy plant was pitched as part of Nechalacho project

Avalon Rare Metals may be rethinking the location of a processing facility for its Nechalacho mine in the N.W.T.

In its feasibility study, Avalon said about 300 jobs would be created in the N.W.T. as a result of its mine. Eighty of those jobs would be at the Pine Point hydrometallurgy plant.

The Nechalacho project site is located near the East Arm of Great Slave Lake. (CBC)

If that facility moved elsewhere, those jobs would go with it.

The company says it's been looking at a new process to recover rare earths from material extracted from the proposed Nechalacho mine that could add tens of millions of dollars to the project's bottom line.

Pine Point was chosen as a location for the facility because it had access to sulphur — a main ingredient for sulphuric acid, which is needed to extract rare earths. But the new process requires different chemicals not available at Pine Point

This news comes just a couple of weeks after the project and processing facility was given the green light from the Mackenzie Valley Review Board following an environmental assessment.

The company says it hasn't made a decision about the location of the hydrometallurgical plant, and says regardless of where it's housed, the project will still be beneficial to the N.W.T.

Avalon is still looking to investors to fund the $1.6 billion needed to build the mine, and housing the plant elsewhere could make it a more attractive investment.