A Perth company whose gold and base metals exploration projects in Burkina Faso had to be put on hold amid escalating jihadist violence in the West African country is pivoting to become a rare earth oxide developer.
Vital Metals says it will buy Cheetah Resources, a private company started by former Lynas Corp executives focused on bringing rare earth products into production.
Cheetah has agreements in place to buy two rare earth projects, in Canada and Tanzania, with defined resources.
It plans to supply high-purity rare earth feedstock to established third-party rare-earth oxide separation facilities and refiners, rather than end users.
“Cheetah’s team includes ex-managers from rare earth miner Lynas Corporation who have an in-depth knowledge of rare earth core bodies, markets and project development requirements,” Vital Metals executive director Zane Lewis said.
“In essence, our vision is to become the next Lynas.”
Vital is buying Cheetah for 400 million in shares up front, plus another 800 million later.
The company suspended its exploration activity in Burkina Faso in March amid a state of emergency there, leaving it with $14 million in the bank and zero debt.
It had abandoned a gold project in Niger last October following the geopolitical situation there.
At 1150 AEST, Vital Metals shares were up 0.1 cent, or 7.7 per cent, to 1.4 cents.