NioCorp: A Critical Minerals Pure Play
In 2018, the US Government designed 35 minerals as “critical,” which means they are “essential to the economic or national security of the U.S. and which has a supply chain vulnerable to disruption.
In 2022, the government expanded the list to 50 minerals, but most added minerals were the result of the government listing each of the rare earth and platinum group minerals, instead of listing them as “mineral groups” in the 2018 list.
The latest list can be seen here.
All of the minerals that NioCorp plans to produce in southeast Nebraska are on the government’s critical mineral list. This includes niobium, scandium, and titanium. In addition, should NioCorp elect to add the rare earth elements neodymium, praseodymium, dysprosium, and terbium, each of those minerals are also designed as critical to the US
NioCorp is a pure-play critical minerals project.
The Most Critical of All
Which of these minerals are more critical than others?
A highly respected Washington, DC-based defense think tank known as Business Executives for National Defense (BENS) conducted a careful analysis of the relative criticality of the initial list of 35 critical minerals.
Their findings? These are the top three most critical minerals: (1) Rare Earths; (2) Scandium; (3) Niobium. Titanium was listed as the 24th critical mineral.
In short, not only will the Elk Creek Critical Minerals Project produce all critical minerals, it will produce the top three most critical minerals for the US.
Our Critical Minerals
NioCorp plans to produce some of the world's most critical minerals, including Niobium, Scandium, and Titanium.
- Robust global markets
- Steady pricing
- Growing use in Li-Ion batteries
- USA 100% dependent on imports
- NioCorp is 75% sold out already
NioCorp plans to make Ferroniobium, which is used as an additive to steel, making the steel much tougher, stronger, and more corrosion-resistent. Niobium-strengthened steel also allows for lighter-weight applications, reducing energy consumption and harmful air emissions.
- Powerful alloy with Aluminum
- Lightweights vehicles / aircraft
- Demand limited by low production
- USA 100% dependent on imports
- NioCorp is 12% sold out
Scandium is a remarkable element with many uses, including as an additive to aluminum. It makes for alloys that are much stronger and corrosion-resistant than other aluminum alloys. Scandium also allows these alloys to be reliably welded, which opens up many applications in transportation and aerospace.
- Large global markets
- Premium on high purity
- Critical to US defense
- US largely dependent on imports of mineral concentrate
Titanium is a highly sought-after refractory metals and is used across many industries, including industrial processes, aerospace and defense, medical applications industry, and many more. The U.S. is highly reliant upon foreign imports of this critical mineral, including (historically) from Russia and Ukraine.
FEASIBILITY ANALYSIS UNDERWAY
Magnetic Rare Earth Elements
NioCorp is also conducting technical and economic analyses on the potential addition to its planned product suite of several magnetic rare earth oxides, shown below, which are forecast to experience large supply shortages because of sharply rising demand.
Also known as "NdPr" or "Didymium Oxide," this purified rare earth oxide is indispensable to the manufacturing of high-performance rare earth permanent magnets. These magnets are crucial to electric vehicles and other energy efficient applications.
Like Dysprosium, Terbium is "heavy" rare earth is used in a variety of electronic, automotive, and other applications, including high-performance rare earth permanent magnets. The Elk Creek Project contains the largest indicated Terbium Mineral Resource in the U.S.
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