NioCorp Applauds White House Executive Order on Critical Minerals; Predicts Initiative May Spark a New Era of Expanded Investment in U.S. Minerals Production
Niobium, Scandium, and Titanium -- and Nebraska’s Elk Creek Project -- May Land in the “Sweet Spot of Criticality” Under This Initiative, NioCorp’s CEO Says
CENTENNIAL, Colo. (December 21, 2017) – NioCorp Developments Ltd. (“NioCorp” or the "Company”) (TSX:NB, OTCQX:NIOBF, FSE:BR3) today applauded the leadership of the White House in issuing an Executive Order yesterday aimed at accelerating U.S. production of critical minerals upon which the U.S. is largely import dependent.
Mark Smith, Executive Chair and CEO of NioCorp
“The Executive Order signed this week by President Donald J. Trump marks a significant departure from U.S. Executive Branch policy priorities of recent years because of its focus on actively and aggressively supporting increased mining and processing in the U.S. of critical minerals,” said NioCorp Executive Chairman and CEO Mark Smith. “It goes further in this regard than any other such Presidential directive I have seen in my more than 36 years in this industry.”
“First and foremost, it establishes some very important policy directives to all federal agencies,” Mr. Smith said. “For example, it dictates that it is now ‘the policy of the Federal Government to reduce the Nation’s vulnerability to disruptions in the supply of critical minerals, which constitutes a strategic vulnerability for the security and prosperity of the United States.’ It calls for ‘increasing activity at all levels of the supply chain, including exploration, mining, concentration, separation, alloying, recycling, and reprocessing critical minerals.’ It directs federal agencies to ‘promote streamlining leasing and permitting processes to expedite exploration, production, processing, reprocessing, recycling, and domestic refining of critical minerals.’”
“Further, it sets a timeline of only 60 days for Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke and Defense Secretary James Mattis to identify a list of critical minerals that will become the focus of federal efforts under the Executive Order,” Mr. Smith said. “This is an aggressive timeline for action that signals to me that the President intends to place a high priority on this effort.”
“In my estimation, this Executive Order may provide the spark that launches a new era of expanded investment and growth in the environmentally responsible production of critical minerals in the U.S.,” said Mr. Smith. “We very much welcome such a forceful statement of Administrative policy, and we applaud President Trump’s and Secretary’s Zinke’s leadership in this regard.”
Mr. Smith noted: “Critical minerals are defined in yesterday’s Executive Order as ‘(i) a non-fuel mineral or mineral material essential to the economic and national security of the United States, (ii) the supply chain of which is vulnerable to disruption, and (iii) that serves an essential function in the manufacturing of a product, the absence of which would have significant consequences for our economy or our national security.’ Under these definitions, all three of the superalloy metals – niobium, scandium, and titanium – planned for production by NioCorp at its Nebraska-based Elk Creek Project should qualify. In fact, I believe that the Elk Creek Project may land in the sweet spot of criticality under this Executive Order.”
“We look forward to working closely with the Trump Administration, the Congress, and state and local leaders in Nebraska as the policies and initiatives of this Executive Order are further refined and implemented,” Mr. Smith concluded.
On Behalf of the Board of Directors
Executive Chairman, CEO and Director
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Source: NioCorp Developments Ltd.
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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 can be combined with Aluminum to make super-high-performance 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 has extensive uses in aerospace, defense, transportation, medical, and other applications. It also is a key component of pigments used in paper, paint and plastics.
Neither TSX nor its Regulation Services Provider (as that term is defined in the policies of the TSX) accepts responsibility for the adequacy or accuracy of this document. Certain statements contained in this document may constitute forward-looking statements, including but not limited to potential future production at the Elk Creek Project, anticipated products to be produced at the Elk Creek Project, the future critical and strategic nature of niobium and scandium, anticipated costs of production at the Elk Creek Project being competitive, and anticipated competitive advantages. Such forward-looking statements are based upon NioCorp’s reasonable expectations and business plan at the date hereof, which are subject to change depending on economic, political and competitive circumstances and contingencies. Readers are cautioned that such forward-looking statements involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors that may cause a change in such assumptions and the actual outcomes and estimates to be materially different from those estimated or anticipated future results, achievements or position expressed or implied by those forward-looking statements. Risks, uncertainties and other factors that could cause NioCorp’s plans or prospects to change include risks related to the Company's ability to operate as a going concern; risks related to the Company's requirement of significant additional capital; changes in demand for and price of commodities (such as fuel and electricity) and currencies; changes in economic valuations of the Project, such as Net Present Value calculations, changes or disruptions in the securities markets; legislative, political or economic developments; the need to obtain permits and comply with laws and regulations and other regulatory requirements; the possibility that actual results of work may differ from projections/expectations or may not realize the perceived potential of NioCorp’s projects; risks of accidents, equipment breakdowns and labor disputes or other unanticipated difficulties or interruptions; the possibility of cost overruns or unanticipated expenses in development programs; operating or technical difficulties in connection with exploration, mining or development activities; the speculative nature of mineral exploration and development, including the risks of diminishing quantities of grades of reserves and resources; and the risks involved in the exploration, development and mining business and the risks set forth in the Company’s filings with the SEC at www.sec.gov.. NioCorp disclaims any intention or obligation to update or revise any forward-looking statements whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise.