HALIFAX, NOVA SCOTIA — May 18, 2021 — Ucore Rare Metals Inc. (“Ucore” or the “Company”) (TSXV:UCU) (OTCQX:UURAF) is very pleased to announce that the Company’s wholly owned subsidiary, Innovation Metals Corp. (“IMC” or the “company”), has established the IMC Technical Advisory Board. Comprised of internationally recognized industry experts and thought leaders, with significant scientific, technical, and market expertise relating to rare-earth elements (“REEs”) and other critical materials, the Technical Advisory Board will advise and support IMC’s leadership team in making important technical and logistical decisions, as IMC continues to advance the commercialization of its proprietary RapidSX™ technology, for the economic, commercial-scale separation of both light REEs (“LREEs”) and heavy REEs (“HREEs”).
IMC Technical Advisory Board Appointments:
IMC appointed the following REE industry experts to the company’s Technical Advisory Board:
i. Dr. Gisele Azimi
ii. Dr. Christian Ekberg
iii. Mr. Furkhat Faizulla
iv. Dr. V. I. Lakshmanan
Importantly, the Technical Advisory Board will also provide expert advice and support to further demonstrate and validate IMC’s unique separation technology platform for other critical materials too, including lithium (“Li”), nickel (“Ni”) and cobalt (“Co”).
The Technical Advisory Board will formally meet together with IMC’s Board and Senior Officers on a quarterly basis, and the individual members of the Technical Advisory Board will also be available to IMC between meetings as needed for any additional support and advice.
IMC Chairman, Chief Executive Officer and co-founder, Dr. Gareth Hatch, stated, “The creation of our Technical Advisory Board is an important step in the continued advancement of IMC’s objectives. We are delighted to welcome such highly credentialed appointments in Dr. Azimi, Dr. Ekberg, Dr. Lakshmanan, and Mr. Faizulla, during this defining period for IMC. They will support and evaluate our technical development and advise on strategic initiatives for future RapidSX applications, in addition to those for REEs. We are very excited and privileged to benefit from such a complementary, yet diverse group of industry experts to further enhance and advance the commercialization of the RapidSX technology. IMC’s ability to attract talent of this calibre underscores the near-term potential for this much-needed technology.”
IMC Technical Advisory Board Members:
Dr. Gisele Azimi, P.Eng.
Dr. Azimi is an associate professor at the University of Toronto, jointly appointed by the Departments of Chemical Engineering & Applied Chemistry and Materials Science & Engineering. She is a Canada Research Chair in Urban Mining Innovations and is also a registered Professional Engineer in Ontario. Dr. Azimi’s expertise spans the fields of electrochemistry, extractive metallurgy, materials design and fabrication, materials separation and organic/inorganic chemistry. She received her doctorate from the Department of Chemical Engineering and Applied Chemistry at the University of Toronto in 2010. Prior to her University of Toronto faculty appointment in 2014, Dr. Azimi completed two postdoctoral appointments at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in the Departments of Materials Science and Engineering and Mechanical Engineering respectively.
Dr. Azimi has been recognized by several ‘young researcher’ awards including the Emerging Leaders of Chemical Engineering Award, the McCharles Prize, the CSChE Innovation Award, the Canadian Journal of Chemical Engineering Lectureship Award, the TMS Young Leaders Award, the Spark Professorship, and the Connaught New Researcher Award. She has been recognized for her teaching and mentorship and received the Burgess Teaching Award. Dr. Azimi established and leads the Laboratory for Strategic Materials, a large and successful research group at the University of Toronto, focused on critical materials.
Dr. Azimi’s research interests include sustainability and advanced materials & manufacturing research themes, with a particular emphasis on advanced recycling and urban mining, and valorization of waste streams to produce strategic materials such as REEs. She has also served as an editor of Rare Metal Technology 2018, Rare Metal Technology 2019, Rare Metal Technology 2020, and Rare Metal Technology 2021.
Dr. Christian Ekberg
Dr. Ekberg is a full professor at Chalmers University of Technology in Gothenburg, Sweden. He has been Stena’s Chair in Industrial Materials Recycling since 2007 and a full professor in nuclear chemistry since 2012. Dr. Ekberg was previously head of the joint Department of Nuclear Chemistry and Industrial Materials Recycling at Chalmers, and is currently leader of the Energy and Materials Division.
Dr. Ekberg began his research at Chalmers with the modeling of chemical systems, focused on uncertainty and sensitivity analysis, and how uncertainties in chemical-model inputs affect the outputs. He later shifted focus to the experimental determination of stability constants, primarily via solvent extraction. After completing a postdoctoral research fellowship at the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organization (“ANSTO”), Dr. Ekberg returned to Chalmers and became responsible for research on separation and transmutation nuclear chemistry, while also expanding research on thermodynamics and solvent extraction.
More recently, Dr. Ekberg has broadened the focus of his research to include the production and recyclability of novel innovative nuclear fuels. He was instrumental in founding the Sustainable Nuclear Energy Centre (“SNEC”) at Chalmers and was its scientific leader and later director. He founded the national Competence Centre Recycling (“CCR”) in 2007 and was the first director of the National Swedish Academic Initiative for Nuclear Technology (“SAINT”).
Dr. Ekberg has been a member of the International Steering Committee for the International Solvent Extraction Conference (“ISEC”) since 2013. He has refereed papers for more than a dozen international scientific journals, and is a member of various editorial boards, including for the journal Solvent Extraction and Ion Exchange.
Dr. Ekberg holds a master’s degree in chemical engineering and a Ph.D. degree in nuclear chemistry, both from Chalmers. He has published over 250 scientific papers, numerous reports, and has authored or co-authored 10 books or book chapters, including Hydrolysis of Metal Ions and Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) Recycling: Research, Development, and Policies in 2016 and Radiochemistry and Nuclear Chemistry in 2013. Dr. Ekberg is an elected member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Engineering Sciences (“IVA”) as well as the Royal Society for Arts and Sciences (“KVVS”).
Mr. Furkhat Faizulla
Mr. Faizulla is a founding member of Advanced Material of Japan Corporation (“AMJC”), one of the largest traders of rare metals in Japan. He has more than 20 years of rare-metal trading and marketing experience, specializing in REEs, tungsten and other critical metals. One of Japan’s leading REE trading companies, AMJC specializes in the procurement and sale of REEs and other critical materials, including tungsten and titanium ore concentrates, oxide and metals. As well as heading AMJC’s North America office, Mr. Faizulla is also Managing Director of his own metals-trading company.
Mr. Faizulla was a co-founder of IMC and served as an Independent Director of IMC from the Company’s inception, until its acquisition by Ucore Rare Metals Inc. in May 2020. Fluent in English, Japanese, Chinese and Uzbek, he holds a bachelor’s degree in Economics from Shanghai Jiao Tong University and a master’s degree in International Business from Hiroshima University.
Dr. V. I. ‘Lucky’ Lakshmanan, CEng, FIMMM, FCAE, FCIM
A long-time friend and colleague of IMC since the Company’s inception, Dr. Lakshmanan is the Chief Executive Officer, Vice Chairman and co-Founder of Process Research ORTECH Inc. (“PRO”), based in Mississauga, Ontario. An internationally renowned teacher, scientist and innovator in the areas of hydrometallurgy and sustainable development, Dr. Lakshmanan is a named inventor on multiple patents and has more than 45 years of hands-on experience in technology development and commercialization, with both private and public sector entities. He moved to Canada in 1974, after serving as a lecturer at the University of Birmingham in the UK. He subsequently held prominent positions in Canada’s engineering/technology sector, with companies such as Noranda, Eldorado Nuclear and ORTECH Corporation. He co-founded PRO in Mississauga in 1999 and has guided it to become a global leader in sustainable process technologies.
Dr Lakshmanan has channeled his passion for community service through numerous initiatives, supporting organizations like the Indo-Canada Chamber of Commerce, the Canada India Business Council, TiE Toronto, and IC-IMPACTS. Dr Lakshmanan is a co-founder and Past Chair of the Canada India Foundation, a public-policy organization, where he organized several sectoral Canada-India public policy forums and was instrumental in three visits to Canada by India’s former President, Dr. Abdul Kalam. Inspired by the late Dr Kalam, he has conducted conferences on Smart Villages at the University of Toronto and has sponsored clean drinking-water systems and a mobile hospital in rural India.
Born and educated in India, Dr. Lakshmanan obtained his Ph.D. in Chemistry from Bombay University and is a Fellow of the Canadian Academy of Engineering and the Canadian Institute of Mining, Metallurgy and Petroleum. He has published more than 150 papers and written several books on science, process engineering and public policy. Dr. Lakshmanan co-authored Innovative Process Development in Metallurgical Industry: Concept to Commission in 2016.
Dr Lakshmanan’s contributions to science and community service have earned him numerous awards and honors, including the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal, the Sherritt Hydrometallurgy Award, the MetSoc Environmental Award, the Sir Joseph Flavelle Award for Technical Innovation, and the Lifetime / Outstanding Achievement Award from the Indo-Canadian Chamber of Commerce.
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About Ucore Rare Metals Inc.
Ucore is focused on rare and critical metals resources, extraction, beneficiation and separation technologies with potential for production, growth, and scalability. Ucore has a 100% ownership stake in the Bokan-Dotson Ridge Rare Earth Element Project in Southeast Alaska. Ucore’s vision and plan is to transition to become a leading advanced technology company that provides metal separation products and services to the mining and mineral extraction industry. Innovation Metals Corp. is a wholly owned subsidiary of Ucore.
Through strategic partnerships, this vision includes disrupting the People’s Republic of China’s dominance of the US REE supply chain through the development of a heavy rare earth processing facility – the Alaska Strategic Metals Complex (“Alaska SMC”) in Southeast Alaska and the long-term development of Ucore’s heavy rare earth element mineral resource property located at Bokan Mountain on Prince of Wales Island, Alaska.
For further information, please visit www.ucore.com.
About Innovation Metals Corp.
IMC has developed the proprietary RapidSX™ process, for the low-cost separation and purification of REEs, Ni, Co, Li and other technology metals, via an accelerated form of solvent extraction. The RapidSX technology combines the proven chemistry of solvent extraction (“SX”) with a significantly more effective method of enabling the chemistry to reach completion. IMC is commercializing this approach for a number of metals, to help enable mining and metal-recycling companies to compete in today’s global marketplace.
For more information, please visit www.innovationmetals.com.
About the RapidSX™ Technology
IMC developed the RapidSX separation technology with the assistance of US$1.8 million in funding from the United States Department of Defense (“US DoD”), resulting in the production of commercial-grade, separated REOs at the pilot scale. RapidSX combines the time-proven chemistry of conventional SX with a new column-based platform, which significantly reduces time to completion and plant footprint, as well as potentially lowering capital and operating costs. SX is the international REE industry’s standard commercial separation technology and is currently used by 100% of all REE producers worldwide for bulk commercial separation of both heavy and light REEs. Utilizing similar chemistry to conventional SX, RapidSX is not a “new” technology, but represents a significant improvement on the well-established, well-understood, proven conventional SX separation technology preferred by REE producers.
The “About Ucore” section of this press release includes certain statements that may be considered “forward-looking statements” regarding, among other things, the development of the Alaska SMC, the use of Innovation Metals Corp.’s RapidSX technology, and the long-term development of Ucore’s heavy rare earth element mineral resource property located at Bokan Mountain in Alaska, USA. All statements in this release (other than statements of historical facts) that address future business development, technological development and/or acquisition activities (including any related required financings), timelines, events, or developments that the Company expects, are forward-looking statements. Although the Company believes the expectations expressed in such forward-looking statements are based on reasonable assumptions, such statements are not guarantees of future performance or results and actual results or developments may differ materially from those in forward-looking statements. In regard to the disclosure in the “About Ucore” section above, the Company has assumed that it will be able to procure or retain additional partners and/or suppliers, in addition to Innovation Metals Corp., as suppliers for Ucore’s expected future Alaska SMC. Ucore has also assumed that sufficient external funding will be found to prepare a new National Instrument 43-101 (“NI 43-101”) technical report that demonstrates that the Bokan Mountain Rare Earth Elements project (“Bokan”) is feasible and economically viable for the production of both REE and co-product mineral materials and metals and the then prevailing market prices based upon assumed customer off-take agreements. Ucore has also assumed that sufficient external funding will be secured to develop the specific engineering plans for the Alaska SMC and its construction. Factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from those in forward-looking statements include, without limitation: Innovation Metals Corp. failing to protect its intellectual property rights in RapidSX; RapidSX failing to demonstrate commercial viability in large commercial-scale applications; Ucore not being able to procure additional key partners or suppliers for the Alaska SMC; Ucore not being able to raise sufficient funds to fund the specific design and construction of the Alaska SMC and/or the continued development of RapidSX; adverse capital-market conditions; unexpected due-diligence findings; the emergence of alternative superior metallurgy and metal-separation technologies; the inability of Ucore and/or Innovation Metals Corp. to retain its key staff members; a change in the legislation in Alaska and/or in the support expressed by the Alaska Industrial Development and Export Authority (“AIDEA”) regarding the development of Bokan and/or the Alaska SMC; the availability and procurement of any required interim and/or long-term financing that may be required; and general economic, market or business conditions.
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