Ucore Comments on Letter of Requisition to US Department of Defense
Halifax, Nova Scotia — (Feb. 1, 2011) Ucore Rare Metals Inc (TSX-V:UCU) (OTCQX:UURAF) (“Ucore” or the “Company”) is pleased to comment on a letter of requisition from Alaska lawmakers to the U.S. Secretary of Defense. On January 28, 2011, Alaska Senators Lisa Murkowski and Mark Begich joined with Colorado Representative Mike Coffman in a letter to Secretary of Defense, Robert Gates. The letter requests that the U.S. Department of Defense (“U.S. DOD”) act on an increasing need to document the use of strategic rare earth elements in U.S. weapons and advanced technology systems. The letter asserts that the Defense Department needs to document the growing dependence of the U.S. military on these critical metals, and catalogue current domestic sources of same, with a view to their secure near term procurement as China withdraws their availability to the U.S.
A copy of the complete letter is available at the following link:
China currently produces and supplies approximately 97 percent of the rare earth elements used by countries around the world. U.S. policymakers fear that China’s progressive near term cutbacks to the export of heavy rare earth elements such as Dysprosium and Terbium will compromise vital U.S. defense systems, as well as domestic competitiveness in increasingly important high-technology applications.
“Our modern technological economy, from hybrid cars to direct drive windmills to consumer electronics, requires rare earth dependent components and will impact product availability,” the lawmakers said. “Fully understanding the aggregate demand for rare earth materials and necessity of the demand will be essential to understanding the supply limits, the future market and formulating U.S. policy on these materials.”
“This high profile communication will elevate public awareness of a matter that directly impacts U.S. competitive capability at a world level in technology applications,” said Jim McKenzie, President & CEO of Ucore Rare Metals. “It also draws a pointed reference to a rapidly evolving gap in procurement for critical military and defense systems. The U.S. has a window of opportunity move toward self sufficiency in heavy rare earth metals, but needs decisive action to counter the threat posed by the lack of a secure domestic supply chain. The initiatives of Senators Murkowski and Begich and Representative Coffman are highlighting this issue in the national media and in Washington, which will serve to encourage a rapid response from key policymakers.”
A recent report from the U.S. Department of Energy predicts that it will take a concerted effort on the part of the U.S. to break domestic dependence for rare earths on Chinese supplies (U.S. DOE Critical Metals Strategy; Dec 2010:http://www.energy.gov/news/documents/criticalmaterialsstrategy.pdf ) It concludes that several critical technologies use materials at risk of supply disruptions in the short term. Four out of five of the rare earth elements specified in the report as being under threatened supply conditions are classified as heavy rare earth elements: Dysprosium, Terbium, Europium and Yttrium. The report calls for aggressive action to source a secure domestic supply of these strategic materials.
Responding to similar concerns, a report from the U.S. Geological Survey concluded that Ucore’s Bokan Mountain project in southeast Alaska is among the three largest domestic rare earth deposits in the U.S. (USGS; The Principal Rare Earth Elements Deposits of the United States; Report 2010–5220, November 2010; http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/11/101117184451.htm ) Of the three, the Bokan project has been documented as having the highest relative skew of the heavy rare earth elements specified as being the most critical to U.S. technology and the most threatened by the withdrawal of Chinese supply. Heavy rare earths such as Dysprosium and Terbium have more than doubled in value over the past 18 months, in response to the Chinese withdrawals.
“Ucore’s Bokan facility in Alaska is one of very few heavy rare earth deposits in the world outside of China capable of producing this product within 36 – 48 months,” said Jack Lifton, a noted international expert in rare earths. “The bulk of heavy rare earth deposits now being promoted as alternatives to Bokan will most assuredly take more than twice as long to develop, and at many multiples of cost in terms of infrastructure. Those alternatives do not meet the near term window of opportunity for the U.S. and are located on foreign soil in any event. The U.S. is fortunate to have such a critical near term supply within its own domain, with fully secure mineral title, and little to no chance of disruption of supply.”
Ucore Rare Metals Inc. is a well-funded junior exploration company focused on establishing REE, uranium and other rare metal resources through exploration and property acquisition. With multiple projects across North America, Ucore’s primary focus is the 100% owned Bokan – Dotson Ridge REE property in Alaska.
The Bokan – Dotson Ridge project is located 60 km southwest of Ketchikan, Alaska and 140 km northwest of Prince Rupert, British Columbia and has direct ocean access to the western seaboard and the Pacific Rim. The property is located in an area reserved for sustainable resource development with an existing road network providing access to the main target areas. REE mineralization at the Bokan-Dotson Ridge project occurs in a well-demarcated vein system related to a Mesozoic peralkaline granitic complex. The Bokan – Dotson Ridge project is the only rare earth project currently documented worldwide which is situated on immediate deep water access, considered a significant advantage in expediting mine production and limiting the capital costs associated with mine construction.
In 1989, a US Bureau of Mines study (Warner & Barker, USBM OFR 33-89) estimated that the greater Bokan area contains 37.8 million tons grading 0.50% TREO. This historical non-NI 43-101 compliant estimate equates to 374 million lbs of TREO and ranks as one of the most prospective and accessible heavy rare earth prospects in North America. The Warner & Barker report additionally concluded that there is a significant collateral mineralization of Nb and Zr at Bokan.
In 1996, a USBM study (Green & Harbuck) concluded that: “The Bokan Mountain area on Prince of Wales Island, AK, contains vast quantities of heavy rare earth minerals.” The report went on to postulate that the liberation of yttrium, considered a proxy for the prospective liberation of all HREE’s, is highly amenable to metallurgical cracking methodologies.
Readers are cautioned that the resource estimates quoted by the US Bureau of Mines were prepared prior to the implementation of National Instrument 43-101 and are therefore of a historical nature. No qualified person has done sufficient work to classify the historical estimate contained hereunder as current mineral resources. The Company is not treating the historical resource estimate as a NI 43-101 defined resource or reserve, and therefore the historical resource estimate should not be relied upon.
For further information, please contact Mr. Jim McKenzie, President and Chief Executive Officer of Ucore Rare Metals Inc. at: (902) 482-5214 or visit http://www.ucoreraremetals.com
This press release includes certain statements that may be deemed “forward-looking statements”. All statements in this release, other than statements of historical facts, that address future exploration drilling, exploration activities and events or developments that the Company expects, are forward-looking statements. Although the Company believes the expectations expressed in such forward-looking statements are based on reasonable assumptions, such statements are not guarantees of future performance and actual results or developments may differ materially from those in forward-looking statements. Factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from those in forward-looking statements include exploitation and exploration successes, continued availability of financing, and general economic, market or business conditions.