- Company awarded government grant that could total $1.45 million to develop design for production of rare earth elements
- UUUU excited to play role in effort to develop domestic sources of rare earth production
- Energy Fuels announced entry into REE sector earlier this year, ideal complement to company’s other rare earth initiatives
Energy Fuels (TSX: EFR) (NYSE American: UUUU), a leading producer of uranium in the United States, along with a team from Penn State University has been awarded a government grant for an initial amount of $150,000 to develop a design for the production of rare earth elements (“REE”) from coal-based resources (https://nnw.fm/xHyfF). The contract was awarded by the U.S. Department of Energy (“DOE”) Office of Fossil Energy (“FE”) and the National Energy Technology Laboratory (“NETL”). If Energy Fuels is successful at the conceptual design phase, the DOE could award Energy Fuels an additional $1.3 million to complete a feasibility study.
“We are excited to have the opportunity to work with the DOE office of Fossil Energy, the National Energy Technology Laboratory, and Penn State on this important rare earth initiative,” said Energy Fuels president and CEO Mark S. Chalmers. “Energy Fuels has been carrying out substantial work over the past year to explore the potential for implementing a commercial rare earth recovery and processing program at our White Mesa Mill. This initiative to produce REOs from coal-based resources is complementary to our ongoing efforts and will potentially broaden the sources of REE feedstock available to us in the future. We also hope this project opens the door for us to work with the DOE and other agencies on future rare earth initiatives.”
The contract calls for Energy Fuels and a team of experts from Penn State to evaluate and develop a conceptual design to allow for the commercial production of mixed rare earth oxides from coal-based resources in an environmentally benign fashion. In addition, the contract also notes that DOE may award Energy Fuels a contract for the completion of a feasibility study on this initiative.
The DOE has already demonstrated the technical feasibility of extracting rare earth elements from coal and coal-based resources, but the department is looking to fast-track the advancement of commercially viable technologies to produce REEs from coal-based resources, including coal refuse, over/under burden materials, power generation ash and others.
Earlier this year, Energy Fuels announced its entry into the REE sector, noting that it believes its fully licensed and constructed White Mesa Mill could play a key role in bringing the REE supply chain back to the U.S. from China (https://nnw.fm/sXThx). The company applied for the DOE/NETL grant in June, in part because the REE minerals contained in these coal-based resources are similar to the REE minerals contained in other materials UUUU is evaluating as part of its REE program.
The contract provides initial funding for Energy Fuels and the Penn State team to complete a detailed conceptual design and flowsheet for the possible commercial operation of a facility that produces REOs from coal-based resources. Once that is complete, the DOE will determine whether to provide additional funding for the development of a feasibility study. It is also possible that the DOE could participate in the funding of a facility that performs this work.
“Rare earths are used in a host of advanced and everyday technologies, including cell phones, computers, renewable energy generation, batteries, automobiles, and military applications,” said Chalmers. “However, the U.S. does not currently have a fully integrated rare earth supply chain. Therefore, the government has made it a priority to assist in the development of domestic sources of rare earth production. With this award, we are excited to play a role in this effort, while also pursuing our other complementary rare earth initiatives. We also hope this DOE program puts Energy Fuels on the radar for other U.S. government rare earth initiatives.”
Based in Lakewood, Colorado, Energy Fuels holds three of America’s key uranium production centers: the Nichols Ranch (ISR) project in Wyoming, the Alta Mesa ISR Project in Texas and the White Mesa Mill in Utah – the only conventional uranium mill operating in the United States today. Together, these facilities have a licensed capacity of more than 11.5 million pounds of U3O8 per year. With an asset portfolio that boasts more uranium production facilities, in-ground resources, production capacity and experienced personnel than any other producer, Energy Fuels is in a unique position to maintain its position as the leading producer of uranium in an era of viable transformation of the U.S. nuclear industry.
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://nnw.fm/UUUU
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