Last week, Neo Performance and Energy Fuels Inc. (NYSE American: UUUU) (TSX: EFR) created a new U.S.-Europe supply chain for rare earth minerals when the first shipment of 20 tons of rare earth carbonate was shipped to Neo’s rare earth separation facility from the latter company’s production White Mesa Mill in Utah.
Energy Fuels expects to send out more shipments as it processes more of the monazite sand ore for the uranium and rare earth minerals it contains. The sand ore is mined by Chemours in its Georgia operations.
Rare earth elements are crucial elements needed for various advanced technologies and clean energy applications, advanced optics, wind turbines, medicine, catalysts, computers, cell phones, electric cars and national defense applications.
Monazite also holds considerable recoverable quantities of uranium, which is used in the production of carbon-free electricity through the use of nuclear technology.
The United States has been heavily reliant on China for its rare earth metals. This has been highlighted in the tensions between the two countries, which may hinder the U.S. from importing more of the critical mineral from China.
At the moment, Energy Fuels is the only company in the U.S. moving the commodity, despite the presence of other miners of rare earth minerals in the market that are occupied with permitting processes or sample testing in laboratories.
During an interview, Energy Fuels CEO Mark Calmers stated that projections showed that in the next decade, the demand for rare earth minerals would grow fivefold, noting that the company was making significant progress in comparison with other companies in North America. Chalmers added that the lack of a separation facility in America was what prompted the company to enter into a contract with Neo Performance Materials, which is the sole European manufacturer of separated rare earth oxides.
To begin with, the recently created supply chain will manufacture rare earth commodities from monazite, which will be processed into rare earth carbonate at Energy’s Utah White Mesa Mill. The carbonate will then be transported to Neo Performance’s Silmet processing facility located in Estonia, where it will be separated into different compounds, among them being rare earth oxides.
Energy Fuels is planning on building a separation facility at White Mesa in the near future. It has hired Carester SAS, a French company that specializes in the field of engineering and technical studies, to produce a scoping study which will include operating costs and capital for a full rare earth separations plant at its mill.
NOTE TO INVESTORS: The latest news and updates relating to Energy Fuels Inc. (NYSE American: UUUU) (TSX: EFR) are available in the company’s newsroom at http://ibn.fm/UUUU
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