First Nation Resistance Causes Australian Miner to Bail From Quebec Deals

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Australian Miner Vital Metals Ltd’s new management walked away from the QPM’s Kipawa and Zeus project agreement.

Australian Miner Vital Metals Ltd. (VML) and Quebec Precious Metals Corporation (QPM) reached an agreement in August 2021 where VML would be acquiring 68% interest in QPM’s Kipawa project and 100% interest in its Zeus project. But VML’s new management decided to walk away from the agreement one year later.

The decision of VML was due to the objections of the Kebaowek First Nation. The report from QPM states that “Vital’s new management informed QPM that it has not been satisfied with the results of its due diligence on the Projects, in particular the ability to progress its understanding of the Kipawa (Kebaowek) First Nation’s position on the Projects and that is also not satisfied with the technical due diligence completed by former management.”

According to Justin Roy, Kebaowek First Nation’s economic development officer, both Kipawa and Zeus projects were situated near the “heart” of the community, Brennan Lake. 

Roy notes that the community understands that the technology to mine has developed to become less impactful to the community. Still, its location is the most important reason why they do not agree to it.

He also states that it is near the Kipawa River, the main water entry point of Kipawa Lake that supplies the community’s drinking water. “The possibility of contamination of our waters is also a big non-starting point for us,” Roy notes.

VML also shared that proceeding with the agreement would divert their funds from the Nechalacho rare Earth mine in the Northwest Territories of Canada, which is their high-priority project. 

Nechalacho is one of North America’s biggest producers of materials used in magnets for electric vehicles, as well as in aerospace, defence and electronics products.

QPM is actively looking for buyers of the projects and is expecting new offers for the company’s non-core projects. CEO Normand Champigny says, “With the current market conditions for rare earth projects, we expect to receive further expressions of interest for these projects.”

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