We need niobium, Mr. President
NioCorp Developments Ltd. (TSX: NB | OTCQX: NIOBF) last week announced Governor Pete Ricketts (R-NE) has nominated the Elk Creek Superalloy Project as a High Priority Infrastructure Project in response to the White House’s January 24, 2017 Executive Order entitled “Expediting Environmental Reviews and Approvals For High Priority Infrastructure Projects.”
Nebraska has played a significant part in the history of the USA and this project offers to rekindle the same kind of fiery enthusiasm that built the First Transcontinental Railroad.
The First Transcontinental Railroad (known originally as the “Pacific Railroad” and later as the “Overland Route”), which was a 1,912-mile (3,077 km) continuous railroad line constructed between 1863 and 1869 that connected the existing eastern U.S. rail network at Omaha, Nebraska/Council Bluffs, Iowa with the Pacific coast at the Oakland Long Wharf on San Francisco Bay.
A hundred and fifty years later, in this letter to the Administration, Governor Ricketts emphasizes the potential contribution of Nebraska in transportation:
“Key to the success of a national infrastructure re-building is utilizing as many American-made materials as possible – particularly the high strength steels that form the backbone of America’s transportation, manufacturing, and defense infrastructures. The Elk Creek Superalloy Project can help the U.S. produce American-made ‘super steels’ for infrastructure projects across all 50 states. The Project will establish the first-ever production in America of niobium, a metal that helps to make High Performance Steel (HPS). These super steels are increasingly used in highway bridges and in virtually all mega- steel infrastructure projects in order to reduce corrosion, lengthen lifespans, cut costs, and reduce environmental impacts. American-made HPS steel can help highway bridges last in excess of a century. That will reduce taxpayer costs and strengthen safety… We need niobium, Mr. President, yet we don’ t mine a single pound of it in the U.S. today. Nebraska wants to change that, and as rapidly as possible.”
I expect that Governor Rickett’s argument will strike a chord with President Trump’s White House intents to create American jobs in the steel industry.
NioCorp is developing a superalloy materials project in Southeast Nebraska that will produce Niobium, Scandium, and Titanium. Niobium is used to produce superalloys as well as High Strength, Low Alloy (“HSLA”) steel, which is a lighter, stronger steel used in automotive, structural, and pipeline applications. Scandium is a superalloy material that can be combined with Aluminum to make alloys with increased strength and improved corrosion resistance. Scandium also is a critical component of advanced solid oxide fuel cells. Titanium is used in various superalloys and is a key component of pigments used in paper, paint and plastics and is also used for aerospace applications, armor and medical implants.
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NioCorp also announced that it will hold a Nebraska Town Hall Meeting and Buffet Dinner to discuss the details of the Elk Creek Project Feasibility Study on Friday, September 8, 2017, at the Kimmel Ag Expo Center, 198 Plum Street, in Syracuse, Nebraska.
The Elk Creek Superalloy project is expected to yield 7,490 tonnes of Ferroniobium per year, 97 tonnes of Scandium Trioxide per year, and 23,960 tonnes of Titanium Dioxide per year.
NioCorp published a project technical report entitled “Amended NI 43-101 Technical Report – Updated Preliminary Economic Assessment – Elk Creek Niobium Project – Nebraska,” filed on SEDAR on October 2015.
Dr. Luc C. Duchesne is a Speaker and Author with a PhD in Biochemistry. With three decades of scientific and business experience, he has published ... <Read more about Dr. Luc Duchesne>