Halifax, Nova Scotia--(Newsfile Corp. - October 14, 2020) - Ucore Rare Metals Inc. (TSXV: UCU) (OTCQX: UURAF) ("Ucore" or the "Company"), is pleased to announce that the Company has shipped more than 1.5 tonnes of rare-earth elements ("REEs") feedstock material produced from Ucore's Bokan-Dotson Ridge Heavy Rare Earth Project ("Bokan") in Alaska, USA, to the Innovation Metals Corp. ("IMC") RapidSX™ Commercialization and Development Facility ("CDF") in Kingston, Ontario, Canada. The Bokan REE feedstock was shipped from SGS Canada Inc.'s facilities in Lakefield, Ontario.
The Bokan heavy REE ("HREE") feedstock material will be used to produce a purified REE concentrate that will then be transformed into high-purity REE oxides ("REOs") via the RapidSX separation technology, to demonstrate the suitability of the Bokan material for producing commercial-quality REOs. IMC will focus on separating the highest-value REEs from the Bokan feed, specifically, terbium ("Tb"), dysprosium ("Dy"), in addition to neodymium ("Nd") and praseodymium ("Pr"). Ucore's Bokan project has a unique geological endowment, positioning it as a predominant U.S. source for HREEs - in particular, Dy and Tb - which together with the light REEs ("LREEs") Pr and Nd are non-substitutable critical inputs for the production of REE permanent magnets ("REPMs"). Essential in maximizing the efficiencies and capabilities of electricity in modern technologies, REPMs convert electrical energy into mechanical motion in electric-vehicle motors and high-efficiency turbines and generators require REPMs to achieve the opposite; to convert mechanical motion into electrical energy.
Ucore Chairman and Interim CEO, Pat Ryan, P.Eng., commented, "We are very excited to have IMC initiate the production of high-purity REOs from concentrates that will be produced from our Bokan HREE-rich feed material with the RapidSX technology. Ucore is advancing development plans for the Alaska Strategic Metals Complex ("Alaska SMC") in Ketchikan, Alaska. The Alaska SMC will serve as the first component of the Bokan Project."
"Ucore is developing our heavy REO production facility in Alaska because we believe the need for Bokan to go into production is inevitable. Alaska will be a vital hub for sourcing and subsequent production. In the shorter term, Alaska will be a critical hub for the processing of 'pre-Bokan' feedstocks, because that is what is needed now," stated Ucore VP and COO, Mike Schrider, P.E. "And when we require additional secure, domestic HREE supply, Bokan will be ready to deliver."
"As evidenced by our recently announced ALASKA2023 Alaskan-centric business plan, the State of Alaska is quite unique in terms of its deep appreciation for and understanding of the importance of critical and precious metal mining, processing and downstream refining, and will play a significant role in building a secure, domestic critical-materials supply chain," Mr. Schrider said.
The Alaska SMC is expected to be commissioned and in operation within three years (by Q4 2023), with estimated capital costs of less than US$35 million. The Alaska SMC will be designed to initially process Tb, Dy, Pr, and Nd from US-allied-sourced HREE and LREE feedstocks and, ultimately, HREE feedstock from the Bokan Project.
Presently, the United States has just one producing rare-earth mine; however, 100 percent of the mined REE material is shipped to China for processing and downstream refining. What the USA and its allies need immediately, especially in a post-COVID-19 pandemic paradigm, is a secure, complete domestic REE supply chain, fed from US-allied-sourced commercial REE producers. A REE mine is just part of the equation. Economic, commercial-scale downstream manufacturing capacity to produce finished heavy and light REO products is the critical path. With the ability to refine raw materials into high-purity REOs, the significant capital costs to build a REE mine can then be justified. Ucore's immediate business focus is to demonstrate the techno-economic capabilities to produce REOs in Alaska, predicated on the RapidSX technology. Once the REE downstream is established on U.S. soil, it will support - and eventually require - the raw material mined from Bokan.
IMC and Ucore look forward to providing further updates on the commercialization of the RapidSX technology for the separation of HREEs and LREEs in the coming months.
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Dr. Gareth Hatch, CEng, FRSA, FIMMM, FIET, Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of Innovation Metals Corp., is a Qualified Person as defined by National Instrument 43-101 ("NI 43-101") guidelines and has reviewed and approved the scientific and technical disclosure in this news release.
About Ucore Rare Metals Inc.
Ucore is focused on rare and critical metals resources, extraction and beneficiation technologies with potential for production, growth, and scalability. The Company has a 100% ownership stake in the Bokan-Dotson Ridge Rare Earth Project. Ucore's vision and plan is to transition to become a leading advanced technology company that provides mineral separation products and services to the mining and mineral extraction industry. This vision includes the development of the Alaska SMC in Southeast Alaska and the development of the Company's rare earth minerals property located at Bokan Mountain in Alaska.
Ucore is listed on the TSX Venture Exchange under the trading symbol "UCU" and in the United States on the OTC Markets' OTCQX® Best Market under the ticker symbol "UURAF". 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. 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. IMC is a wholly owned subsidiary of Ucore Rare Metals Inc.
For more information, please 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 solvent extraction ("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 HREEs and LREEs. Utilizing the same chemistry as 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 RapidSX technology is feedstock agnostic, having demonstrated the capability of separating and purifying materials from a variety of sources, in contrast to being tied to any one particular source. Due to its modular configuration and reduced number of stages, RapidSX is capable of readily reconfiguring for separating light REE-rich, heavy REE-rich and/or even blends of mixed REE feedstocks.
This press release includes certain statements that may be deemed "forward-looking statements". 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, litigation outcomes, 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 Rare Metals Inc." section above, the Company has assumed that it will be able to procure or retain additional partners and/or suppliers, in addition to IMC, as suppliers for Ucore's expected future Alaska Strategic Metals Complex ("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: IMC 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; unexpected or adverse outcomes in the currently outstanding litigation matters between Ucore and IBC Advanced Technologies, Inc.; the emergence of alternative superior metallurgy and metal-separation technologies; the inability of Ucore and/or IMC 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.
Neither the TSX Venture Exchange ("TSXV") nor its Regulation Services Provider (as that term is defined by the TSXV) accepts responsibility for the adequacy or accuracy of this release.
Vice President, Investor Relations
Ucore Rare Metals Inc.
+1 902 482 5214