- New tech has potential to reduce costs of production, energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions
- MOU key step in building a new, environmentally friendly REE supply chain in the United States
- Two companies to create a new entity that will hold exclusive license to the technology as it specifically relates to REE metal making
Energy Fuels (NYSE American: UUUU) (TSX: EFR) is partnering with Nanoscale Powders LLC (“NSP”) with plans to develop a novel technology for the production of rare earth elements (“REE”) metals (https://nnw.fm/Iwb7M). In the announcement, Energy Fuels noted that the Nanoscale’s patented rare earth metal-making technology has potential to revolutionize the rare earth metal space.
“We believe this technology, which was initially developed by NSP, and will be advanced by the company and NSP working together, has the potential to revolutionize the rare earth metal making industry by reducing costs of production, reducing energy consumption, and significantly reducing greenhouse gas emissions,” the company stated when announcing the execution of the memorandum of understanding (“MOU”). “Producing REE metals and alloys is a key step in a fully integrated REE supply chain, after production of separated REE oxides and before the manufacture of neodymium iron boron magnets used in electric vehicles, wind generation and other clean energy and advanced technologies.”
The country’s leading uranium mining company, in 2021 Energy Fuels began making its mark in the REE sector. A newcomer to the space, UUUU is committed to building a new, environmentally friendly REE supply chain in the United States, and the company has made impressive progress, including beginning production of an intermediate rare earth product more advanced than any other U.S. company today. The agreement with NSP is another important step in Energy Fuels’ commitment to this new venture.
NSP initially started as a company focused on producing solar-quality silicon metals and refractory metal powders. However, the company eventually began turned its attention to the production of titanium and alloy powders through sodium reduction before its most recent breakthrough — the development of an innovative process to create REE metals from REE oxides.
The partnership between the two companies appears ideal, with NSP bringing its tech to the table while Energy Fuels contributes the rare earth material and industrial-scale processing facility. At its White Mesa Mill in Utah, UUUU is currently producing mixed REE carbonate while recovering uranium from natural monazite sands, which are produced as a low-cost byproduct of heavy mineral sands mining in the U.S. and around the globe. Energy Fuels’ REE carbonate is the most-advanced REE product being produced in the country today.
According to the MOU, the two companies will create a new entity that will hold an exclusive license to the technology as it specifically relates to REE metal making. The agreement outlines phased development of the project, with Energy Fuels having the right to earn up to a 100% interest in the entity and technology. UUUU will be providing more than $1 million in funding for the project to begin with; in addition, the company agreed to fund future approved annual budgets as required for commercialization of the project, up to a maximum total expenditure of $10 million over three years.
“Metal-making is a critical step in the rare earth supply chain,” said Energy Fuels president and CEO Mark S. Chalmers. “Energy Fuels has already restored monazite ‘crack-and-leach’ capabilities to the U.S. at our White Mesa Mill in Utah, where today we are producing a high-purity mixed rare earth carbonate, which is ready for separation. No other company in the U.S. is currently producing a high-purity REE product ready for separation at commercial levels. We are also quickly moving toward adding solvent extraction separation equipment at the Mill and associated permitting that will allow us to produce commercial separated rare earth oxide powders in the coming years. In fact, we are already well advanced with piloting these capabilities on a continuous 24/7 basis at the mill today.
“The next step in rare earth processing and refining is turning those separated rare earth oxide powders into usable rare earth metals and alloys, particularly NdPr metal needed for NdFeB magnets used in EVs, wind generation and other technologies,” Chalmers continued. “If successful, Nanoscale’s metal-making technology could be orders of magnitude safer and less expensive than the current established technology. This is the type of technology we as Americans need to develop to produce advanced rare earth materials in a cost-competitive manner, while achieving the highest standards of protection of public health, safety and the environment. Nanoscale Powders has proven their technology on a small scale, and we look forward to working with them to advance the technology to pilot scale, and then to commercial scale in the coming years. Our relationship with Nanoscale Powders demonstrates Energy Fuels’ commitment to fully integrating a domestic REE processing supply chain in the most optimal and environmentally prudent manner possible.”
For more information, visit the company’s website at www.EnergyFuels.com.
NOTE TO INVESTORS: The latest news and updates relating to UUUU are available in the company’s newsroom at http://ibn.fm/UUUU
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