Ucore Rare Metals Inc. (TSX.V: UCU) (OTCQX: UURAF) Looking to Bolster North American REE Dominance Amid China’s Move to Ban Rare Earth Metal Exports

  • Nikkei Asia has reported plans for China to amend its 2020 technology export restriction list with propositions to either ban or restrict exports of technology to process and refine rare earth elements
  • These developments have encouraged both Washington and Tokyo to develop rare earth supply chains with little to no dependence on China
  • Ucore has long been focused on growing North America’s REE self-reliance in response to these developments, and its recent announcement of a $75 million investment in capital expenditures (CapEx) over the next four years points to a company committed to helping North America achieve full autonomy and independence in this sector

Ucore Rare Metals (TSX.V: UCU) (OTCQX: UURAF), a critical metals (“CM”) separation technology company, is eyeing new opportunities, mainly stemming from recent developments in China that could see the country ban rare earth metal exports. In a move that seeks to reduce the over-reliance on China for its rare earth elements (“REE”) imports, the company is looking to develop and scale its North American facilities, as evidenced by recent investments in this area. By doing so, it hopes to reduce the vulnerability of North American companies reliant on these elements.

In 2020, China updated its technology export restriction list, which proposed either a ban or restriction of exports of technology to process and refine rare earth elements. In what can be described as an interesting development, Nikkei Asia has reported plans to amend this restriction list, with proposals to prohibit or even limit exports of alloy tech intended to make high-performance magnets derived from rare earths (https://ibn.fm/TEkdE).

This makes the second time China has reduced the export of rare earth metals and used it as a bargaining chip to influence trade and politics in its favor. In 2010, the country stopped all rare earth metal exports to Japan for two years following the Senaku Islands dispute. As a country that controls 84% share of the global market in neodymium magnets and over 90% interest in samarium cobalt magnets, China has a clear upper hand, hence its use of such punitive policies to grow its financial and, by extension, its political might.

Given the growing tensions, Washington and Tokyo have resorted to developing rare earth supply chains with little to no dependence on China. In addition, the two countries are steadily restricting exports of advanced semiconductor tech to China, aiming to blunt the nation’s rise in the high-tech field (https://ibn.fm/7315J). Ucore is central to North America’s REE self-reliance in response to these developments. Thus far, its initiatives indicate that the company and the nation are on the right path.

Ucore recently announced a $75 million investment in capital expenditure (“CapEx”) over the next four years to establish North America’s first modern technology REE separation and purification facility. Once installed in England Airpark Community in Alexandria, Louisiana, this facility will have a maximum production rate of 5,000 to 7,500 tons per annum of total rare earth oxide (“TREO”) throughput upon its completion. In addition, the facility will create at least 100 family-wage paying jobs by 2027, with the added potential of attracting other projects, which will create even more jobs (https://ibn.fm/myDOF).

As the global rare earth metals industry continues to evolve, and as associated materials and products continue to serve as the lifeline of various economies worldwide, there is a growing importance of having a non-China-dominated REE supply. While there are still some ways to go to achieve full autonomy and independence, Ucore is helping push the envelope in the right direction. Setting up facilities that bring North America closer to achieving that objective is a crucial first step in achieving that goal.

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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