Ucore Completes Washington Meetings & Sets Out Strategy for Heavy REE Production in U.S.
Halifax, Nova Scotia — (Feb. 15, 2011) Ucore Rare Metals Inc (TSX-V:UCU) (OTCQX:UURAF) (“Ucore” or the “Company”) is pleased to announce that it has completed a series of meetings with lawmakers in Washington, DC. to discuss the initiatives required to recreate a complete domestic supply chain for the U.S. rare earth magnet manufacturing industry.
Ucore representatives conferred with a number of congressional leaders and Washington-based officials of the State of Alaska. The parties discussed the need for near term initiatives to provide a secure domestic source for strategically sensitive metals such as Dysprosium and Terbium. The metals, classified as Heavy Rare Earth Elements, and their associated alloys and magnetic end products, have been noted as being critically important to U.S. military applications, as well as the American high technology and clean energy sectors.
In the meetings, Ucore set out a rapid two-pronged approach to Heavy Rare Earth development in the U.S.:
1. A Mining Enterprise targeting a Dysprosium-rich, Heavy Rare Earth concentrate sourced from a fully permittable and near-term capable site at Bokan Mountain in southeastern Alaska.
2. A Metallurgical Refining Complex to recapture the value-added segment of the rare earth processing chain within U.S. borders, and to service a secure and wholly contained domestic magnet-making industry, at a location pending finalization.
“We’re impressed with the pro-active stance of leaders in Washington, DC to recapture an industry in which the U.S. was the de facto world leader not very long ago,” said Jim McKenzie, President and CEO of Ucore. “Ucore has the stated goal of becoming the first enterprise to commercially produce Dysprosium in the form of a high purity metal for magnet alloys entirely on U.S. soil, and to do so at minimal expenditure of time and financial outlay. We believe that Bokan is the only realistic location to achieve this goal in the near term, and is increasingly acknowledged as such by key federal policymakers.”
“We’re grateful for and support the lawmakers’ recommendation that the U.S. Defense Department stockpile Rare Earth metals and alloys,” continued McKenzie. “The recommendation underlines the need for the U.S. to create a comprehensive self-contained rare earth supply chain for the U.S. in the near term, including securing the supply of Heavy Rare Earths, without which this goal would be impossible. The idea is to reconstruct a competitive American rare earth supply-chain, from mine mouth to alloy to magnet. The issue impacts no less than the ability of the U.S. to remain competitive at a world level in military, automotive and ultra high technology applications, at which China increasingly excels.”
On February 1, 2011 the Washington, DC based think tank the American Security Project noted “the United States’ reliance on technology, particularly for military applications, is the biggest cause for concern” as it relates to shortage of rare earth metals as early as 2012. Their near-term recommendations include stockpiling rare earth metals and developing new mines, which are integral components of Ucore’s strategic plan. (See the following for more information: http://americansecurityproject.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/02/Rare-Earth-Metals-and-US-Security-FINAL.pdf)
The Fiscal Year 2012 President’s Budget for the U.S. Department of Energy (US DOE) contains funding for the creation of a rare earth “Energy Innovation Hub.” The hub will bring together top scientists to conduct cross-disciplinary research related to critical materials and rare earth elements in what the US DOE describes as an effort modeled after the “Manhattan Project.” (See the following for more information: http://www.slideshare.net/energy/secretary-chus-fy-2012-budget-briefing )
In its December 2010 Critical Materials Strategy, the Department of Energy identified five rare earth metals (dysprosium, neodymium, terbium, europium and yttrium), as most critical in the short term. Ucore’s Bokan project is considered by many to be the only facility capable of commercially providing four out of five of these critically strategic materials domestically to the U.S. market in the foreseeable future. (See the following for more information:http://www.energy.gov/news/documents/criticalmaterialsstrategy.pdf)
Ucore Rare Metals Inc. is a well financed junior exploration company focused on establishing Rare Earth Elements (REEs), uranium and other rare metal resources through exploration and property acquisition. With multiple prospective projects, 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 has direct ocean access to the western seaboard and the Pacific Rim. The property is believed to be the only Heavy Rare Earth deposit in development worldwide that is located on immediate deep water anchorage. Geographic accessibility, always considered a major factor in mine feasibility, is often the single most critical impediment to successful mine economics. The non requirement of building major pipeline and highway infrastructure over extensive terrain can be expected to materially reduce Capex requirements, while eliminating years of scoping, permitting, environmental assessment, and construction.
The Bokan property is situated in an area reserved for sustainable resource development by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, with no indigenous populations, and with an existing road network providing access to the primary areas targeted for development. REE mineralization at the Bokan-Dotson Ridge project occurs in a well-demarcated vein system related to a Mesozoic peralkaline granitic complex.
In 1989, a U.S. Bureau of Mines study (USBM) (Warner & Barker, USBM OFR 33-89) estimated that the greater Bokan area contains 37.8 million tons grading 0.50% Total Rare Earth Oxides (TREO). This estimate equates to 374 million lbs of TREO and ranks Bokan as one of the most accessible heavy rare earth prospects outside of China. The Warner & Barker report also concluded that there is additionally a significant collateral mineralization of Niobium and Zirconium 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.” This report went on to assert that the liberation of Bokan yttrium, considered a proxy for the prospective liberation of all HREE’s, is highly amenable to well-known existing metallurgical cracking and separation technologies.
Readers are cautioned that the resource estimates quoted by the USBM were prepared prior to the implementation of Canadian 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.