Ucore Rare Metals Inc. (TSX.V: UCU) (OTCQX: UURAF) at Forefront of Race to Develop Western Rare Earth Refining Solutions

  • A recent Reuters report focused its attention on rare earth mining companies’ efforts to strengthen American self-sufficiency in the production of natural elements vital to modern computerized products
  • Rare earth element (“REE”) enterprise Ucore Rare Metals Inc. is gaining attention as a company focused on the refining of already mined rare earths to specialize in a particular sector of the supply chain, using its proprietary RapidSX(TM) technology
  • The rare earth supply chain has been a subject of concern for years because of China’s near-monopoly on mining, refining, and production, for permanent magnets, strategic because of their use in a wide variety of applications, including electric vehicles and fighter jets
  • The high value placed on strengthening rare earth supply chain independence is demonstrated in the multi-million dollar award Ucore has received from the U.S. Department of Defense, accompanied by a $4.28 million award from Canada, to advance its RapidSX(TM) commercialization

A range of concerns among government leaders and industry professionals have created a high-pressure competition to develop new REE refining solutions among Western enterprises. Issues that involve REE-based products include climate change, the mining industry’s forced reliance on Chinese companies for processing rare earth elements (“REEs”) used in modern computerized products, and also resource supply chain impediments sparked by the COVID pandemic and political sea changes.

Canadian-based Ucore Rare Metals (TSX.V: UCU) (OTCQX: UURAF) is at the leading edge of the race, currently in the process of developing its Louisiana facility for the commercial-scale use of its proprietary RapidSX(TM) REE high-efficiency processing technology.

As evidence of the importance that REE processing capability presents in sustaining a wide variety of large-scale goals and policies, Ucore has benefitted from millions of dollars in project funding provided this year by U.S. and Canadian national government agencies (https://ibn.fm/Y1mFK).

“The existing rare earths refining process is a nightmare. … That’s why there are so many companies promising new methods, because we need new ones,” University of Arizona mining and geological engineering professor Isabel Barton told Reuters in a recent report on the REE refining race (https://ibn.fm/ouBPC).

The report noted that Ucore initially planned to mine a rare earths deposit in Alaska, where it has an effective 100 percent ownership stake, but that Ucore “changed tack” in 2022 to focus on refining after perceiving a flaw in the West’s strategy to weaken China’s minerals dominance by trying to master both mining and refining steps simultaneously.

Others who are involved in the industry appear to be following suit in their strategies. 

“Mining companies should focus on finding new deposits,” Luisa Moreno, the president of a Canadian REE mining company, told Reuters. “You probably should let refining be handled by others that specialize in that.” The company has expressed an interest in licensing Ucore’s technology, the report notes.

Ucore has spent the last several months demonstrating the capabilities of its RapidSX(TM) REE processing technology at a facility in Ontario, where it has conducted head-to-head comparisons between RapidSX(TM) and the industry-standard for REE solvent extraction (known as CSX, or simply SX).

The company’s preparations to launch commercial-scale operations at its Louisiana Strategic Metals Complex (“SMC”) facility — building up to 7,500 metric tons of total rare earth oxide (“TREO”) production from an initial 2,000 metric tons startup — is the first of three planned SMCs in the United States and Canada.

Ucore is in talks with 17 mining companies currently to buy their lightly processed supplies of rare earths and have them shipped to the Louisiana SMC for processing and eventual production of the permanent magnets key to computerized products ranging from uses in electric vehicles to U.S. fighter jets.

China’s decision in late November requiring government approval of its companies’ high-grade graphite exports, another element of the computerized products supply chain, focused additional attention on the industry trend because of concerns about Chinese authorities’ ability to pick and choose which companies will obtain Chinese graphite if they wish (https://ibn.fm/2kM60).

For more information, visit the company’s website at www.Ucore.com.

NOTE TO INVESTORS: The latest news and updates relating to UURAF are available in the company’s newsroom at https://ibn.fm/UURAF

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