- The rare earth element market expected to see interest from investors, governments around the world in coming year
- Supply will need to pick up to meet global demand for REEs, primarily from EVs
- Restoring REE production to U.S. will greatly benefit the nation’s economy and clean energy sector
Last year saw more major developments in the rare earth elements (“REE”) space than the last seven years combined, according to a recent InvesBrain report (https://ibn.fm/Mlutg). Energy Fuels Inc. (NYSE American: UUUU) (TSX: EFR), which has historically been a leading U.S. uranium mining company, is keenly interested in the space, as the company has unique licenses, infrastructure and capabilities that can be deployed in the REE sector.
“Following an uncertain 2020 on the back of the COVID-19 pandemic, the rare earth market continued to see interest from investors and governments around the world in 2021,” the report stated. “Rare earths, used in the high-strength magnets found in much of the latest tech, from smartphones to wind turbines to electric vehicles (“EVs”), will be a primary focus for the resource sector well into the next decade as more countries in the west work to create supply chains less dependent on China.”
As a new year begins, the growth the REE sector saw in 2021 is expected to continue, according to many analysts. “There are key supply and demand dynamics to pay attention to that could impact rare earths. A key demand catalyst in 2022 will be how the chip shortage develops,” the article noted.
According to Ryan Castilloux, managing director of Adamas Intelligence, a firm that provides independent research and advice on markets for critical metals and minerals, if the global chip shortage eases this year, allowing the auto industry to return to normal, he expects demand for all major rare earths to grow healthily. And if demand continues to grow at this pace, supply will need to pick up to meet the need for REEs globally.
While China will almost certainly remain a key output player, Castilloux said that the next two to three years will be transitional for the supply chain outside of China in a number of ways. “We’ll see the beginnings of some major changes in 2022 outside of China and by 2025 should see a more diverse supplier landscape, albeit one still dominated by China,” Castilloux said.
One of those diverse suppliers will undoubtedly be Energy Fuels, which has seen monumental progress in its efforts to enter the REE market. The company made its initial foray into the REE sector in 2019, and in September 2020, it commenced the production and shipments of an intermediate rare earth element product, called mixed rare earth carbonate, at its White Mesa Mill in Utah (https://ibn.fm/Gguw0). This is the most advanced REE material being produced in the U.S. today. Energy Fuels is set to install REE separation, and potentially REE metal-making and alloying, capabilities at the White Mesa Mill in the next few years.
“This is an exciting time for all of us at Energy Fuels in both the uranium and rare earth sectors,” said Energy Fuels president and CEO Mark Chalmers. “Restoring rare earth production to the United States will greatly benefit the entire U.S. economy and manufacturing sector by providing a domestic source of clean energy materials produced to the highest global standards for environmental protection, sustainability and human rights, while also allowing for source validation and tracking from mining through final end-use applications.
“With the increased demand for rare earths — up to a fivefold demand increase over the next 10 years — we will need all hands-on deck,” he continued. “Combined with the current resurgence in uranium, rare earths represent a truly an immense opportunity.”
Energy Fuels is a leading US-based uranium mining company, supplying U3O8 to major nuclear utilities. Energy Fuels also produces vanadium, as market conditions warrant, as well as rare earth carbonate. With corporate offices are in Lakewood, Colorado, near Denver, and all of its assets and employees in the United States, Energy Fuels holds three of America’s key uranium production centers: the White Mesa Mill in Utah, the Nichols Ranch ISR Project in Wyoming, and the Alta Mesa ISR Project in Texas.
For more information, visit the company’s website at www.EnergyFuels.com.
NOTE TO INVESTORS: The latest news and updates relating to UUUU are available in the company’s newsroom at http://ibn.fm/UUUU
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