Infrastructure Critical Minerals
As nations around the world invest in programs to strengthen and expand transportation and other infrastructure systems, increasing attention is being focused on Niobium. Why? Because when added to steel, Niobium makes it stronger, lighter in weight, and highly resistant to corrosion. Niobium-contained High Strength, Low Alloy (HSLA) steel is increasingly used in buildings, bridges, dams, and other large construction and mega-steel projects. HSLA steel highly bridges with Niobium can be designed to last more than a century of use, as opposed to conventional highway bridges that may last only 30-40 years before having to undergo major repair work.
Scandium presents potentially revolutionary applications in transportation applications, which play a vital role in the ultimate cost of transportation infrastructure systems. For example, Scandium’s potential to lightweight commercial jetliners, automotive applications, and mass transit systems may have major implications for transportation infrastructure projects such as roads, bridges, tunnels, airports, and other transportation hubs.
Below are just a few examples of how these three superalloy materials are utilized in construction and infrastructure technologies around the world.
Aerospace Applications That Utilize NioCorp’s Planned Products
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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