- Energy Fuels has produced rare earth element (“REE”) concentrate on a pilot scale at wholly owned White Mesa Mill.
- The high-purity concentrate is ready to send to separation plant for final acceptance test work.
- Company used existing infrastructure and technologies, thereby avoiding years of permitting and development, as well as need for significant capital.
Energy Fuels (NYSE American: UUUU) (TSX: EFR) has produced a rare earth element (“REE”) carbonate concentrate on a pilot scale at its wholly owned White Mesa Mill, located in Utah (https://ibn.fm/WImVU). This may be the first REE concentrate produced from monazite sands at any significant quantity in North America in more than 20 years.
“Energy Fuels achieved a major milestone in U.S. rare earth element production when we successfully produced a REE Concentrate from a sample of monazite sands at our White Mesa Mill,” said Energy Fuels president and CEO Mark S. Chalmers. “Our company literally accomplished REE production in months, because we utilized existing resources, infrastructure and technologies. While it is still early days, and we still have a lot of work to do, this is a proud moment, not just for me, but for the entire Energy Fuels team who has diligently worked on making REE Concentrate production a reality.”
According to the company, the White Mesa Mill recovered the REEs, along with uranium, from one metric tonne of monazite sands. The concentrate is ready to send to a separation plant for final acceptance test work.
This milestone came relatively quickly, given that Energy Fuels just entered the REE space in April 2020. In just over six months, the company moved from laboratory-scale testing to producing pilot-scale REE Concentrate from a one tonne sample of monazite sands. The company possesses three tonnes of additional monazite sands samples, which it will use to further refine the process for recovering REEs and uranium from these types of ores.
The rapid progress made by Energy Fuels is reflective of its commitment to re-establish the ability of the U.S. to recover REEs and uranium from monazite sands using existing facilities and technologies. Additionally, as part of this commitment, the company is in negotiations to obtain additional sources of monazite sands for potential processing on a commercial scale at the Mill. Energy Fuels is also exploring the potential sale of REE Concentrate to a REE separation facility.
“By using existing infrastructure and technologies at the Mill to recover the uranium and the REEs from monazite sands, we are able to avoid the years of permitting and development, along with the tens, or even hundreds, of millions of dollars of capital that others would be faced with,” Chalmers said. “Assuming the company is able to secure adequate quantities of monazite sands, we expect to be in a position to produce commercial quantities of REE Concentrate by early 2021.
“Energy Fuels will always, first and foremost, be a uranium producer,” Chalmers continued. “We have been the number one uranium miner in the U.S. since 2017, a position we intend to keep for many years to come. However, when other complementary business opportunities arise with the potential to create significant cash flow utilizing our existing facilities and workforce, we will always take a hard look at them with an eye toward building shareholder value.
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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