- Canada-based strategic metals innovator Ucore Rare Metals Inc. recently received word that the Canadian government will provide $4.28 million in non-dilutive, non-repayable funding to the company’s ongoing rare earth element (“REE”) separation technology development
- REEs are critical to the production of permanent magnets used in computerized technologies ranging from cell phones to national interests such as renewable energy infrastructure and military defense machinery
- China currently dominates the global market for mining, processing, and product creation for REEs, which underscores Western governments’ interests in developing an independent supply chain for REEs
- Canada’s award will help fund demonstration of Ucore’s RapidSX(TM) capabilities in head-to-head comparisons with the industry-standard CSX separation process for light REEs
- A similar $4 million award from the U.S. government is supporting the demonstration of RapidSX(TM) capabilities for separating heavy REEs, leading up to construction of a commercial facility for separating REEs in Louisiana
A modern-day type of “arms race” focused on computer magnet technology instead of military weaponry is leading Western governments to work with private companies on the development of their own supply chains for the magnets’ components.
Strategic metals innovator Ucore Rare Metals (TSX.V: UCU) (OTCQX: UURAF) is celebrating news that the Canadian government will add more than $4 million in non-repayable, non-dilutive funding to a $4 million award the company received from the U.S. government during the summer to demonstrate the effectiveness of Ucore’s trademarked rare earth separation technology.
The $4.28 million award from Canada will help Ucore showcase the capability of its RapidSX(TM) solution for separating light rare earth elements (“REEs”) — specifically praseodymium (Pr), neodymium (Nd), and a praseodymium|neodymium compound (NdPr) — while the U.S. grant is focused on heavy REE magnet materials terbium (Tb) and dysprosium (Dy), according to the Nov. 20 news release (https://nnw.fm/73iBV).
REEs are critical to the makeup of permanent magnets, which are used throughout the infrastructure of renewable energy — in wind turbines and electric vehicle motors, for example. They also are used in military applications such as missile guidance systems, and Ucore Chairman-CEO Pat Ryan recently noted that 920 pounds of rare earths are used in an F-35 fighter.
“China’s recent announcements of increased scrutiny over the export of rare earth elements have raised concerns regarding the ongoing availability of these critical materials. The development of an alternative North American rare earth supply chain is more important than ever as the world moves toward the electrification of its vehicle fleet and other green initiatives,” Ryan stated in the November news release.
That’s in large part because The People’s Republic of China controls the varied aspects of rare earth extraction, production and use in computerized products.
“The challenge is that 60 percent of rare earth resources are in China, but 87 percent of separation to the ‘critical seeds of technology’, as the Japanese call them — they are controlled by China,” Ryan said during Red Cloud Financial Services’ Fall Mining Showcase this month in Toronto (https://nnw.fm/T6ia2). “That means they’re reaching outside of China now and bringing material back into China for processing, and turning them into final products. And the final products — the rare earth permanent magnets — they’re 90 percent-plus of the global market. So they’ve really got a tight grip.”
Ucore aims to use RapidSX(TM) as a linchpin for re-establishing an REE supply chain in the Americas. The demonstration projects are taking place in Ontario and will lead to the use of RapidSX(TM) commercially once construction is completed at a processing plant — named a Strategic Metals Complex (“SMC”) — in Louisiana. Commissioning is expected at the end of next year there, with it becoming operational in early 2025.
The U.S. government’s funding award includes an additional $10 million to help launch the Louisiana operation, along with $15 million in incentives provided by Louisiana’s state government, according to Ryan.
“We made a number of trips to the White House, to the Pentagon, we talked about our tech,” Ryan said at the Toronto event. “We met with science people and they love what we’re doing.”
The company expects to build a second SMC commercial plant in Canada after completing startup work at the facility in Louisiana, and its long-term outlook includes potential development of an REE mining project in Alaska where the company owns a 100 percent interest in the site.
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://nnw.fm/UURAF
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