The Elk Creek Project is the pure-play critical minerals project that features the highest-grade primary Niobium deposit under development in North America, large-scale production of Scandium, and the second-largest indicated-or-better
rare earth resource in the U.S.1
The Project is guided by the Equator Principles ESG framework and incorporates recycling, water conservation, and many other sustainability strategies. It also presents a large Scope 3 greenhouse gas reductions potential. Details here.
- 38-year mine life with 2.69-year after-tax payback period from production onset.
- Pre-tax Net Present Value (“NPV”) of $2.8 billion and Internal Rate of Return (“IRR”) of 29.2%; after-tax NPV of $2.35 billion and IRR of 27.6%
- Average annual EBITDA of $403 million over Life of Mine (“LoM”); average EBITDA margin over LOM of 68%
All key federal, state, and local permits have been secured to allow start of construction.
NioCorp owns a key land parcel in southeast Nebraska on which the Project’s mine infrastructure and supporting operations will be located. This parcel also gives NioCorp ownership of the mineral rights to more than 90% of the Project’s Mineral Resource and Mineral Reserve.
The Project is sited on private land with agreements in place with local landowners. The Project enjoys strong support from local communities and state and local government, including state tax relief valued at as much as $200 million over 10 years. (Detail here).
NioCorp’s planned products have been determined to be “Critical Minerals” by the U.S. Government.3
NioCorp’s products are all powerful light-weighting metals that are critical to technologies that help reduce harmful air emissions, including CO2. (See this analysis).
Much of the Project’s planned production over the first 10 years is pre-sold:
- 75% of the Project’s projected Ferroniobium production over the first 10 years of production is under sales contract.
- 50% of FeNb production to ThyssenKrupp enables in-principle eligibility for a German Government Loan Guarantee of > $146M-$179M.4
- 12% of average annual scandium production over first 10 years has been sold to Traxys North America, a global leader in specialty metals. This sales agreement was the largest single scandium sales contract ever negotiated at the time.
Highly experienced Board of Directors and management team, with >200 years of collective experience in minerals development, including commercial-scale production of separated rare earths. See background on our Board here, and management here.
- Indicated or better mineral resource. Based on data from the “Critical Mineral Resources of the United States—Economic and Environmental Geology and Prospects for Future Supply,” U.S. Geological Survey, 2017.
- June 2022 Elk Creek Project Feasibility Study.
- Federal Register notice of May 18, 2018.
- Receipt of such a loan guarantee is subject to final approval and other conditions.
See these disclaimers on the use of non-GAAP references.
Superalloy Blog Posts
As the U.S. looks to repair crumbling infrastructure systems, I expect to see more high-performance steels (HPS) used in structures like bridges because of the many powerful benefits they deliver. HPS steels containing a small amount of ferroniobium – which NioCorp plans to produce in southeast Nebraska at our Elk Creek Superalloy Materials Project once we are funded and in operation – are among the strongest and most durable steels on the market today.
If a $2 trillion U.S. infrastructure package is enacted, it could create a major, long-term demand boom for the critical minerals needed by infrastructure and advanced transportation systems, according to NioCorp’s CEO Mark Smith.
One global macro trend is highly likely to accelerate in the aftermath of COVID-19: increased investment in domestic materials supply chains as a means of reducing the reliance of Western nations on supply chains in developing nations. Asia’s dominance in many strategic supply chains has become painfully obvious since the COVID-19 pandemic erupted.
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