- Ucore Rare Metals Inc. is focused on establishing its proprietary solvent-based solution as a commercially advantageous and important alternative to standard rare earth (“REE”) processing
- U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai recently noted in a media interview that the REE supply chain is dependent on China for production and, to a greater degree, processing once ore has been removed from the ground
- Ucore’s development of its proprietary RapidSX(TM) REE processing solution promises an environmental impact advantage as well as advantages in cost and Western supply chain control
- Ucore also controls a rare earth mine prospect in Alaska that anticipates potentially developing someday as a new American REE source
U.S. trade policy makers continue to seek solutions to an economic power imbalance created by the modern tech industry’s dependence on The People’s Republic of China’s for certain metal elements that perform key functions in high-grade batteries.
The batteries supply power to a wide variety of technology used commonly by general consumers and government militaries alike. The near-total supply chain dependence on China for mining and, particularly, processing the ores that contain batteries’ critical rare earth metal elements (“REEs”) has become a significant source of concern among trade negotiators.
“China’s dominant position in the world market now in [rare earths] means that it is able to turn on the faucet and turn off the faucet,” U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai said during an August interview with MSNBC (https://ibn.fm/aoAai). “And until we are able to access and create additional supply chains we remain entirely vulnerable to that leverage.”
The imbalance reflects advantages nations such as China may exploit thanks to its nationalized controls over corporate operations, while Western governments maintain a more nuanced involvement in free market operations sustaining private industry.
But critical tech metal supply chain innovator Ucore Rare Metals (TSX.V: UCU) (OTCQX: UURAF) is attempting to become a leader in restoring REE supply chain independence to American nations through the development of a competitive REE ore processing solution that improves on the standard SX solvent-based procedures for separating REEs from the mined material they are found in.
Ucore’s proprietary RapidSX(TM) separation process is being developed as a faster, more environmentally conscious REE extraction alternative to the SX process used globally throughout the industry, and the company is preparing to begin construction this year on commercial-scale production facilities in the United States and, later, Canada.
A recent visit by U.S. Embassy staff to a Canadian Ucore facility that directly compares the output of RapidSX(TM) REEs to standard SX REEs “underscores the significance of our work in the rare earth minerals sector and highlights our dedication to pioneering eco-friendly resource solutions,” Ucore VP & COO Mike Schrider (P.E.) stated in a company news release (https://ibn.fm/0tpyt). “We believe that collaborations on an international level will play a pivotal role in shaping the future of sustainable technologies and strengthen our position of applying pioneering technological breakthroughs to bolster our forthcoming commercial rare earth separation facility in Alexandria, Louisiana.”
Tai noted a World Trade Organization case she worked on as a lawyer some years ago in which the WTO successfully objected to China’s decision to “pinch” the market for REEs. While REE prices were high, some domestic REE production resumed, but when prices again fell, American mines again shuttered their operations, she observed.
“China at some point very … smartly recognized the relevance of rare earths, and they started producing and selling to the world market at prices that we could not compete with, and our producers successively shut down,” she said. “(China was) able to pursue coordinated industrial and trade policies that allowed them to corner the market.”
Ucore’s RapidSX process aims to provide an American alternative to REE miners who must currently send their ore overseas to China for processing, and Ucore also anticipates the possibility of developing its own REE source at its Alaskan rare earth mine prospect, which holds more than 4.7 million metric tons of indicated rare earth ore — the equivalent of about 63.5 million pounds of collective rare earth metals, according to a 2015 resource assessment reported by the Alaska Journal of Commerce and shared by Sen. Lisa Murkowski (https://ibn.fm/iR3t9).
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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