Mark Smith on how big the role of NioCorp is in the global supply of scandium
August 26, 2015 — In a special InvestorIntel interview, Publisher Tracy Weslosky speaks with Mark Smith of NioCorp Developments Ltd. (TSX:NB | OTCQX:NIOBF | FSE:BR3) on NioCorp’s recently updated PEA and how it has increased their production capability for scandium by 661%. Mark goes on to explain how the present global demand for scandium is controlled by existing supply and that NioCorp is focused on securing offtake agreements as they work towards completing their feasibility study. Further to this, Mark discusses the value of scandium and the need for scandium in our society right now, the market’s rising interest in renewable energy storage and NioCorp’s focus on fuel cell technology.
Tracy Weslosky: Mark I really enjoyed your webcast, your corporate update. I thought it was a fantastic.
Mark A. Smith: Thank you very much.
Tracy Weslosky: I noticed you quoted research analyst Barry Allen from Mackie Research because he said that NioCorp is not the same company after reviewing your updated PEA. He was probably referring to the fact that your scandium resource is up 661% after this. Can you explain how this happened?
Mark A. Smith: The production capability for scandium is up 661%. That is largely is driven by the fact that we’ve eliminated the flotation section in our process flow sheet. Originally when we put the process flow sheet we were very targeted. It’s just the way we get as engineers and metallurgists. We’re very targeted on how to maximize or optimize our recovery of niobium. Through the floatation process we were sending about 90% of our scandium out to the tailings basin where it would never be recovered again. You know, we just kind of started thinking about the value of scandium and the need for scandium in our society right now. It was a brilliant thing when one of our metallurgists said, why don’t we get rid of the floatation section and send all of the resource through the hydromet plant? Then the 90% that we were sending out to tails goes to the hydromet plant and it’s all recoverable then downstream in the solvent extraction process. It was a brilliant move. I’m glad we have a fabulous team of metallurgists here, including the guys from SGS who have done a great job for us.
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Tracy Weslosky: Further to this conversation topic of scandium, I want to stay on this for just a minute because the renewable energy storage market is what we at InvestorIntel are calling the new industrial revolution. I mean, it’s huge. I don’t think our audience may necessarily appreciate how big scandium is and how big the role of NioCorp is in the global supply. I’d love for you to speak to that Mark.
Mark A. Smith: Well, the fuel cell technology is what we’re focused on. That can cover a broad range of things including storage. The fact that a company, like Bloom Energy has the technology to take the fuel cell industry way beyond where it currently is, and their only restriction it seems is the supply of scandium, we can solve that problem and have solved that problem with the changes in our process flow sheet. Needless to say, we are anxious to start our discussions with Bloom Energy. I should note Tracy that we’re talking to no fewer than 10 different people on the demand side for scandium right now. We are very focused on getting those offtake agreements…click here to access the rest of this interview
Disclaimer: NioCorp Developments Ltd. is an advertorial member of InvestorIntel.
An accomplished entrepreneur and corporate finance professional, Tracy Weslosky is the CEO for InvestorIntel Corp. and the VP of Business Development for Bellotti Capital Partners ... <Read more about Tracy Weslosky>