- UUUU, RadTran to study the recovery of thorium, radium, from existing rare earth carbonate and uranium process streams
- The alliance has the potential to develop commercial technologies and sources of isotopes needed for a new domestic medical supply chain
- Partnership aims to alleviate major bottleneck in the targeted alpha therapy market
Due to its highly unique licenses, capabilities, and expertise, Energy Fuels (NYSE American: UUUU) (TSX: EFR) is able to supply critical minerals and materials that no other company in the U.S. – or possibly outside of China – is able to do. Energy Fuels’ business revolves around its ability to recover and properly manage uranium and radionuclides in one-of-a-kind ways in the U.S. Energy Fuels is the leading U.S. uranium producer. The company just began producing rare earths by unlocking the value of a mineral called monazite, because this mineral contains the radioactive elements, uranium and thorium. And, UUUU’s most recent strategic partnership takes the company into an entirely new realm: the world of medicine.
Last month Energy Fuels entered into a strategic alliance with RadTran LLC to evaluate the recovery of thorium, as well as possibly radium, from the company’s existing rare earth carbonate and uranium process streams (https://ibn.fm/cT29O). RadTran is a Colorado-based technology development company focused on closing critical gaps in the procurement of medical isotopes for these applications. The two companies will work together to evaluate the potential to use thorium from existing rare earth and uranium process streams for the production of medical isotopes needed for emerging targeted alpha therapy (“TAT”) cancer therapeutics.
“At its heart, the Energy Fuels’ Alliance with RadTran is about maximizing the value and human benefit of our existing uranium and rare earth feeds at the White Mesa Mill,” said UUUU president and CEO Mark S. Chalmers. “Energy Fuels has a long track record of ethically and responsibly processing a wide variety of naturally occurring radioactive materials at the White Mesa Mill for the recovery of uranium and, more recently, rare earths. In our view, recovering medical isotopes from these same streams, that would otherwise be lost to direct disposal, is a great way to maximally use all of our feeds. Indeed, we are essentially replicating China’s ‘monazite plan.’
“China purchases monazite from around the globe, recovers the uranium for use in their nuclear industry, recovers the thorium presumably for use in their nuclear and pharmaceutical industries, and recovers the rare earths for processing into advanced materials needed for various clean energy and advanced technologies,” Chalmers continued. “Our White Mesa Mill is a facility unique to the United States that has the potential to do the same thing at world standards.”
According to the announcement, this new initiative complements Energy Fuel’s existing uranium and RE carbonate businesses, as it involves investigating the recovery of isotopes in existing process streams at the company’s White Mesa Mill in Utah. The alliance, UUUU officials pointed out, “has the potential to develop commercial technologies and sources of isotopes needed for a new domestic medical supply chain.”
Uranium and thorium are long-lived, naturally occurring radioactive elements that decay into a series of different elements as they lose alpha or beta particles. Certain elements in or derived from the uranium and thorium decay chains emit alpha particles, which are currently being studied by major pharmaceutical companies that are developing therapies to treat cancer on a cellular level while minimizing damage to surrounding healthy tissue. Supplies of these isotopes are limited, however, and existing production methods are costly and unable to scale-up to meet widespread demand as new drugs are developed and approved. This lack of supply is a major obstacle in the research and development of new TAT drugs.
Energy Fuels and its White Mesa Mill may offer a possible solution to this medical supply chain dilemma. The only licensed and operating conventional uranium mill in the United States, the Mill recently began production of RE carbonate from natural monazite sands, which contain thorium-232 and radium-226. Normally these would be disposed of in the Mill’s tailings impoundments, but the new agreement is the first step in recovering these elements for use in medical isotope to treat cancer.
“The Alliance between Energy Fuels and RadTran is remarkable as it aims to alleviate the major bottleneck in the targeted alpha therapy market,” said RadTran founder and CEO Dr. Saleem Drera. “Upon the successful production of these isotopes at the Mill, this alliance will allow pharmaceutical companies who are developing targeted alpha therapies to progress through clinical trials and deploy therapeutics commercially without the hinderance of isotope supply.”
If successful, this alliance could generate significant future cashflow for Energy Fuels in the medical isotope industry, both in human trials over the next several years and once available for widespread cancer treatment. In addition, the company could play a crucial role in supporting cancer research and creating a new, U.S.-based medical supply chain that adheres to the highest global standards for human rights, sustainability, safety and environmental protection.
“We believe Energy Fuels has the potential to create a domestic supply of thorium and possibly radium that can be harvested using RadTran’s technologies for use in the production of the next generation of cancer therapies, a potentially multibillion dollar industry,” said Chalmers. “And we would be accomplishing this in a way that is environmentally beneficial and highly congruent with Energy Fuels’ recycling and sustainability goals. We look forward to working with RadTran on this important initiative.”
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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