- Energy Fuels, Neo join in initiative that will strengthen, diversify U.S. and European rare earth supply chains
- In 2021, UUUU will ship mixed rare earth carbonate to Neo’s plant in Europe, where it will be separated into commercial value-added product
- Partnership marks first time in two decades that monazite ore from U.S. will be used to manufacture separated rare earth materials outside of China
Energy Fuels (NYSE American: UUUU) (TSX: EFR) has joined with Neo Performance Materials (TSX: NEO) in a new rare earth production initiative that spans North American and European critical material supply chains (https://ibn.fm/YnEYB). The initiative, which calls for feedstock from the United States to be used to produce separated rare earth products in Europe, should strengthen and diversify both U.S. and European rare earth supply chains.
“Together, Energy Fuels, Neo and Chemours have successfully created an integrated rare earth supply chain based in the U.S. and Europe,” said Energy Fuels president and CEO Mark S. Chalmers. “Monazite is coveted globally as one of the highest-value rare earth minerals in the world, due to its excellent distribution of neodymium and praseodymium, as well as ‘heavy’ rare earths. It is already mined here in the U.S. and elsewhere around the world.
“However, until now, there has been no integrated ability to process monazite in the U.S. or Europe into the rare earth materials needed to supply the rapidly increasing demand for electric vehicles, renewable energy systems, and other clean energy and advanced technologies,” he continued. “Energy Fuels is proud to help solve this challenge for both U.S. and European markets. Under the agreement announced today, we plan to supply all or a portion of our mixed rare earth carbonate to Neo for several years, while also developing our own separation, metals, alloys and other downstream rare earth capabilities at the White Mesa Mill for supply into the U.S. as domestic markets grow. We appreciate the ability to be able to work with Mr. Karayannopoulos and the Neo team in reaching this important milestone, and we look forward to continuing our collaborations with Neo for many years to come.”
A leading U.S.-based uranium mining company, Energy Fuels has been working with Neo for almost a year in a technical collaboration focused on establishing a monazite processing and RE carbonate production capacity at Energy Fuels’ White Mesa Mill plant in Utah. In October 2020, Energy Fuels announced that it had successfully produced RE carbonate from monazite sands at the mill; subsequently, Neo’s Silmet facility in Estonia also successfully processed trial quantities of Energy Fuels’ RE carbonate. Neo manufactures the building blocks of many modern technologies that enhance efficiency and sustainability. The company’s advanced industrial materials, including magnetic powders and magnets, specialty chemicals, metals and alloys, are essential to numerous everyday products and emerging technologies.
That successful collaboration has led to the current initiative, which marks the first time in more than 20 years that monazite ore from the United States will be used as a feedstock to manufacture separated rare earth materials outside of China. The agreement calls for Energy Fuels to process natural monazite sands, which it obtains from the Chemours Company (NYSE: CC), into an RE carbonate beginning next year and ship a portion of that production to Neo’s rare earth separations facility in Estonia, which is the only operational rare earth separations facility in Europe. The facility has been separating rare earths into commercial value-added products for more than half a century. Under the terms of the agreement, Energy Fuels will supply increasing amounts of RE carbonate to Neo in 2021, thereby creating a new non-Chinese source of rare earths in 2021.
The initiative appears to be an ideal move by both companies. Because monazite is a byproduct from other mining operations, Energy Fuels anticipates that processing monazite ore for the recovery of rare earths will be a low-cost addition to its existing uranium production operations; no new mining needs to be licensed, financed or developed. Likewise, Energy Fuels and Neo will utilize its existing plants in Utah and Estonia, also avoiding the need to license, finance and develop new facilities with these capabilities. As a result, the two companies will product highly valuable material at a low cost and much smaller environmental footprint when compared to other projects.
Energy Fuels is the leading U.S.-based uranium mining company; the company also produces vanadium from certain of its projects, and it was the nation’s largest producer of this critical mineral in 2019. Headquartered in Denver, Colorado, UUUU holds three of America’s key uranium production centers: the White Mesa Mill in Utah, the Nichols Ranch in-situ recovery (“ISR”) Project in Wyoming, and the Alta Mesa ISR Project in Texas.
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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