Rare earth element processing facility to be built in Sask.

The province announced $31 million toward the facility on Thursday.

The province announced $31 million toward the facility on Thursday

Substances on a desk.
(Clockwise from top centre) praseodymium, cerium, lanthanum, neodymium, samarium and gadolinium are examples of rare earth elements. The Saskatchewan government announced it will fund a $31-million processing plant. (U.S. Department of Agriculture/Associated Press)

The Saskatchewan government is planning for a rare earth processing facility to be built in Saskatoon. 

On Thursday, the province announced $31 million for the facility, which is to be built as part of the 2030 Growth Plan. 

The proposed facility will be owned and operated by the Saskatchewan Research Council. The province said it will be the first of its kind in Canada and will create a rare earth element supply chain. The province said this will form an industry model for future commercial rare earth expansion. 

Rare earth metals are naturally occurring minerals essential to modern global economic development, the province said. 

The provincial government expects the global demand for the metals to increase in the coming decades as demand for electric vehicles, renewable power and electronics in general increases. 

"Saskatchewan's new Rare Earth Processing Facility will be a catalyst to stimulate the resource sector in Saskatchewan and across Canada, providing the early-stage supply chain needed to generate cash-flow, investment and industrial growth of the sector," Premier Scott Moe said in a statement.

The province said the facility will allow the rare earth element industry to grow and create both immediate and long-term jobs. 

The province anticipates construction to start this fall and plans for the facility to be fully open in late 2022.