Mark Smith explains why niobium is the unsung hero of the metals industry
NioCorp Developments Limited (TSX: NB | OTCQX: NIOBF | FSE: BR3) is developing North America’s only niobium / scandium / titanium project. Located near Elk Creek, Nebraska, the Elk Creek Project is the highest grade niobium project in North America, as well as the largest prospective producer of scandium in the world. NioCorp is positioned to emerge as the United States’ only producer of niobium and scandium. These elements are unique and valuable superalloy materials that are strategic and critical to many industries and national defense technologies.
No new niobium mines have come into production since 1976. Three years ago, Geoscience Australia combined and averaged all the “critical metals” lists (compiled by the United States, Britain, the European Commission, Japan and South Korea) and found that niobium rated the seventh most critical metal in the world (after rare earths, gallium, indium, tungsten, platinum group metals and cobalt).
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April 26, 2016 — Mark A. Smith, President, CEO and Chairman of NioCorp Developments, describes the primary uses of this critical – and technology – metal. “To me that is one of those unsung heroes in the metal industry is niobium,” he says in this explanation of what part niobium plays in today’s world. Its key role is providing strength to steel and, in so doing, means less steel has to be used – and when it comes to automobiles, for example, that extra lightness means big fuel savings.
Those primary uses are:
- Infrastructure and architecturally large buildings
- The automobile industry, and
- Providing strength and corrosion resistance in oil pipelines.
Mark A. Smith: Niobium is one of those very special elements that a lot of people don’t really understand how much it’s used in today’s world. Let’s talk about its primary uses though.
The very first use, about 45% of all the niobium used in the world today, is for infrastructure or architecturally large buildings. That’s because it provides the strength that you need for the steel, it lightens the steel and it makes it much easier to haul materials to the site. I mean, just think about the large bridge in France that was built, the largest suspension bridge in the world and because they used a niobium based steel they were able to reduce the weight of the steel and the concrete used to build that bridge by 60%. Just think of the cost savings for that project because you don’t have to haul all that heavy material onsite and the emissions that we save because of hauling those materials onsite … to access the full video, click here
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