- Ucore is engaged in the exploration for and separation and scalable production of REEs in Canada and the US
- Ucore Chairman and CEO Pat Ryan recently presented at the Critical Minerals Institute Summit II, where he discussed the risk mitigation strategies Western countries could execute to disrupt China’s dominance in the REE space
- On its part, and having identified has identified the need and demand for US-based REE refining and processing facilities, Ucore is working on developing, upscaling, and commercializing RapidSX(TM)
- RapidSX(TM) is the company’s transformative advanced column-based solvent extraction technique for separating both light and heavy REEs; it offers numerous benefits over the conventional solvent extraction technique
- Ucore is commissioning its 52-stage RapidSX(TM) Demonstration Plant in Kingston, Ontario
The government of China has consistently increased the total annual mining quota issued to producers of rare earth materials for the past five years: what started at 105,000 tons in 2017, doubled to 210,000 tons in 2022. Still, this uptrend shows no signs of easing, as country earlier this year set the first batch of rare-earth mining for 2023 at 120,000 tons, up by about 20% year-over-year (https://ibn.fm/uIRjY).
According to observers, this increase is due to the need to stabilize the prices of neodymium-iron-boron (“NdFeB”) permanent magnets amid an expected surge in demand as the country pushes for broader adoption of electric vehicles (“EVs”). (NdFeB magnets are critical to the functioning of clean energy technologies like electric vehicle (“EV”) motors and wind turbines, as well as defense systems.)
In response to the higher government quota, state-owned resource developers have announced plans to expand production. The country’s largest player in the rare earth space, China Northern Rare Earth Group, for instance, announced it would invest $1.1 billion (7.8 billion yuan) to convert an existing refining and processing facility into one of the largest in the world (https://ibn.fm/xx9sJ).
Such investments continue to support China’s status as a leader in the production and processing of rare earth elements (“REE”). In fact, according to the Critical Minerals Market Review 2023, published by the International Energy Agency (“IEA”), China accounts for 70% of production and 90% of processing (https://ibn.fm/Z5smw).
Worried about this dominance, which threatens, among others, national security and workforce development, the United States has stepped up its own mining operations and investments, becoming the world’s second-largest producer of REEs. Unfortunately, the country still lacks sufficient refining capacity, so it sends most of its output to China for processing before importing it back. But with China considering prohibiting exports of certain rare-earth magnet technology (https://ibn.fm/5idlI), this dependence poses a massive risk.
“Make no mistake, the battle lines are being drawn as global energy transition is upon us,” said Pat Ryan, Chairman and CEO of Ucore Rare Metals (TSX.V: UCU) (OTCQX: UURAF), in his speech delivered at the Critical Minerals Institute Summit II in June (https://ibn.fm/0N1iM). “Massive Chinese investments, especially in the rare earth supply chain, have created a steadfast monopoly. Nationalistic goals that have cornered resources and technology, seriously challenge the innovative and free market solutions of the US and allied countries. What risk-mitigating strategies can the West unilaterally execute for its own needs, allowing entrepreneurial ideas that have led global growth decade after decade to be refocused?”
Ryan’s speech, titled “Risk Mitigating for a North American Rare Earth Supply,” centered around an entrepreneurial theme that has long guided the operations of Ucore: identify demand and then respond with innovation. On its part, Ucore, a company engaged in the exploration for and separation and scalable production of REEs in Canada and the US, identified the need and demand for US-based REE refining and processing facilities and has, ergo, been focusing on developing, upscaling, and commercializing RapidSX(TM), its transformative advanced column-based solvent extraction technique for separating both light and heavy REEs.
RapidSX(TM) is at least three times more efficient than conventional solvent extraction (“CSX”) with a shorter overall processing time and lower construction and operation costs even though both share the same chemistry and unit operational steps. Plus, according to Ucore, the transformative technique results in REE products that are virtually indistinguishable from those made in facilities that use CSX. (CSX is used the world over to commercially separate REEs.)
Ucore is commissioning its 52-stage RapidSX(TM) Demonstration Plant in Kingston, Ontario, announcing June 29 the acquisition of its third feedstock, made up of mixed light REE chemical concentrate, for commissioning trials (https://ibn.fm/nhdsb). “The underway commissioning process at the RapidSX(TM) Commercialization and Demonstration Facility is the single most significant leap in the development of the RapidSX(TM) technology platform and, once completed, will open the pathway to direct commercialization and monetization of Ucore’s business model,” commented Mike Shrider, Ucore Vice President and COO, in the press release.
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://ibn.fm/UURAF
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