US Congress frees up USD$20M to support Ucore’s Bokan project, expands technological reach
In May 2017 the US Congress passed The Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2017 (the “Act”) which provides USD$20M in support to Ucore Rare Metals, Inc. (TSXV: UCU | OTCQX: UURAF) (“Ucore”) and partners.
In a perfect alignment of public and private interests the funds provide for the support of Ucore’s Strategic Metals Complex (SMC) facilities and its strategy of tailings processing/monetization at its Bokan-Dotson Ridge (“Bokan”) deposit in Southeast Alaska.
The development of US based REE resources and the remediation and economic development of resource-rich tailings sites using clean extraction technologies are high priorities for the U.S. government.
Ucore, with its partner IBC Advanced Technologies Inc., is pursuing the application of the SuperLig® metals separation and tailings processing platform.
In particular the grant provides $15 million to the National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL) for the development and testing of commercially viable separation technologies, which can be deployed in the near future to extract REE from the byproducts of coal mining.
Ucore has engaged NETL for the prospective application of the SuperLig® REE platform in the coal tailings sector, a resource-rich US asset in West Virginia and other areas of the Northern Appalachians. The ability to acquire and separate REE from aboveground resources at a commercially viable level would be a significant achievement in developing successful alternative supply sources in a Chinese-dominated market.
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Ucore is now engaged in the detailed engineering and planning of the SMC rare earth separation facility, a joint venture with IBC (see Ucore Press Releases from November 15, 2016 and May 25, 2017). The SMC will utilize SuperLig® Molecular Recognition Technology for the separation of REE, capitalizing on advanced pilot phase testing of the SuperLig®-One pilot platform. The SMC is being designed and engineered as a modular facility, capable of accepting feedstock from varying supply sources and a range of high quality concentrates. Ucore anticipates the release of a comprehensive design and build schedule for the SMC facility, including an economic analysis of supply sources, in the coming months. With prospective supply sources located in Quebec, Alaska and the Southeastern US, the selection of the location of the SMC is contingent upon incentives and logistical considerations from multiple competing jurisdictions.
The technology offers a broad spectrum of opportunities for other REE projects. For example in June 2017 Ucore announced that executed a Memorandum of Understanding (“MOU”) with Commerce Resources Corp. (TSXV: CCE) for the purpose of integrating feedstock from Commerce’s Ashram Project in Quebec (the “Ashram Project”) with Ucore’s recently announced rare earth separation facility and Strategic Metals Complex (“SMC”).
Under the terms of the MOU, Commerce will provide quantities of mixed rare earth carbonate concentrate, using material from the Ashram Deposit (the “Ashram Concentrate”), sufficient to perform bench and pilot scale testing of the metallurgy and metals separation metrics of the prospective feedstock. The bench work will be conducted by IBC Advanced Technologies of American Fork, Utah (“IBC”), with pilot scale test work expected to take place at the recently completed SuperLig®-One MRT pilot facility in Vineyard, Utah (see Ucore Press Release September 26, 2016).
The objective of the test work is to complete a definitive assessment of the suitability of the Ashram Concentrate as potential feedstock for the SMC, with a view to a subsequent long-term supply partnership and offtake relationship.
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>