HighlightsUcore is developing the Alaska SMC for the processing of rare earth elements in Southeast AlaskaVital Metals is producing rare earth concentrate from its Nechalacho rare earth project in NWT, CanadaVital Metals is constructing a Rare Earth Extraction Plant to produce a mixed rare earth chemical concentrate in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan from the Nechalacho depositThe Alaska SMC is planned to commence ...

Highlights

  • Ucore is developing the Alaska SMC for the processing of rare earth elements in Southeast Alaska
  • Vital Metals is producing rare earth concentrate from its Nechalacho rare earth project in NWT, Canada
  • Vital Metals is constructing a Rare Earth Extraction Plant to produce a mixed rare earth chemical concentrate in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan from the Nechalacho deposit
  • The Alaska SMC is planned to commence production of up to 2000 tonnes per annum (tpa) of individual rare earth oxides from US-allied feedstock by H1-2024
  • Vital Metals is expected to commence the supply of a minimum of 500 tpa of a cerium depleted concentrate to Ucore in 2024; expandable to over 2,500 tpa by 2026

Ucore Rare Metals Inc. (TSXV: UCU) (OTCQX: UURAF) ("Ucore" or the "Company") is pleased to announce the execution of a Memorandum Of Understanding ("MOU") setting forth certain nonbinding understandings and binding agreements between Ucore and Vital Metals Limited (ASX: VML) ("Vital Metals" or "Vital") (collectively the "Parties"). The MOU is the first step towards the establishment of a long-term supply agreement for the delivery of mixed rare earth chemical concentrate ("MREC") from Vital Metals' Nechalacho project to Ucore's planned Alaska Strategic Metals Complex ("Alasks SMC") in Ketchikan, Alaska. The MREC will be shipped from Vital's Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Rare Earth Extraction Plant which is expected to enter into production in 2022.

Vital Metals is Canada's first - and North America's second - rare earths producer, with production underway at their Nechalacho mine in the Northwest Territories, Canada. Vital aims to produce a minimum 5,000 tonnes of contained rare earth oxides ("REO") at Nechalacho by 2025. Mining at Nechalacho's North T Zone is underway as part of Vital Metals' Stage 1 production strategy. They are now crushing and sorting ore before it is sent to their Saskatoon cracking and leaching facility (the Rare Earth Extraction Plant) later in 2021. Vital has commenced drilling to define a mine plan for Stage 2 at Nechalacho as it works to develop a larger scale, longer life rare earths project.

Vital aims to become the lowest cost producer of mixed rare earth oxide outside of China by developing one of the highest grade rare earth deposits in the world and the only rare earth project capable of beneficiation solely by ore sorting. Vital Metals other projects include the high-grade Wigu Hill rare earth resource in Tanzania and the recently acquired Kipawa and Zeus heavy rare earth projects in Quebec, Canada.

Ucore is developing the Alaska SMC as the first planned component of the Bokan-Dotson Ridge Rare Earth Element Project ("Bokan"). The SMC will be initially designed to process up to 2,000 tonnes per annum (tpa) of US-allied MREC into individual rare earth oxides, expandable to over 5,000 tpa by 2026. The Alaska SMC will be based on the RapidSX™ rare earth element separation technology platform, developed by Ucore's wholly owned subsidiary, Innovation Metals Corp. ("IMC"). There is currently no commercial rare earth separation taking place in North America and Ucore and Vital Metals envision the Nechalacho mine to Saskatoon to Ketchikan supply route as the first major step in the establishment of an independent North American supply chain.

The MOU outlines the intent for Vital to ship Ucore a minimum of 500 tpa of a cerium depleted MREC commencing in 2024, expanding to over 2,500 tpa as Ucore expands its capabilities by 2026. The parties envision shipping the MREC via rail service from Saskatoon to Prince Rupert, British Columbia, followed by a short marine transit of approximately 90 nautical miles to Ketchikan and the Alaska SMC.

"Vital Metals is the first rare earth producer in Canada and Ucore is racing to construct the first modern rare earth processing plant in the United States," said Mike Schrider, P.E., Ucore Vice President and COO. "The combination of our efforts clearly work together towards the collective goal of establishing an ex-China rare earth supply chain to ensure that Western world manufacturers have access to North American produced and sourced rare earth oxides. This partnership with Vital Metals signifies another critically important moment for the development of the Alaska SMC as we continue to cultivate collaborative relationships with potential upstream and downstream partners in the growing North American rare earth supply chain."

Vital Metals' Managing Director, Geoff Atkins noted that the MOU with Ucore was an important step in Vital positioning itself as a key supplier of rare earth feedstock in the North American critical minerals supply chain.

"This agreement is an important and exciting entrance into the North American downstream rare earth supply chain. To reach this agreement to ensure Ucore's Alaska SMC has a guaranteed supply of rare earth feedstock to service the North American market is an important milestone in the delivering Vital's business plan. This agreement will help position Vital as a critical supplier of rare earth feedstock into the North American market. We are continuing to grow our operations in Canada and are well-placed to supply both North America and Europe with the complete suite of rare earths," Mr. Atkins said.

"We look forward to further developing our relationship with Ucore with a view to finalising a definitive off-take agreement and the commencement of supply of feedstock for the Alaska SMC."

Terms of the MOU

The main terms of the non-binding MOU are as follows:

  • Vital will sell to Ucore a minimum of 500t REO (ex-cerium)/year by H1 2024.

  • Vital will expand its operations to supply to Ucore a minimum of 50% of Ucore's proposed 5,000t TREO/yr RE separation plant by 2026.

  • Customer acceptance protocols will include the supply of a sample (1-2kg) this quarter with a 1t sample supplied in H2 2022.

  • The MOU is subject to the completion of due diligence by each party.

  • The parties will negotiate one or more formal agreements ("Definitive Agreements") which will include such covenants, conditions, indemnities, representations and warranties as are customary for this type of transaction.

  • The rights and obligations of the parties under the MOU expire upon the execution of Definitive Agreements. Either party may terminate the MOU after seven months from the date of execution.

Ucore's development plan for the Alaska SMC calls for substantial completion of construction by the end of 2023, followed by commissioning, product qualification testing with Vital Metals' and other US-allied feedstock, and production of individual REOs in H1 of 2024. On October 7, 2021, Ucore announced the execution of a Memorandum of Agreement with Alaska's Southeast Conference for the funding of the Alaska SMC.

 

# # #

About Ucore Rare Metals Inc.

Ucore is focused on rare- and critical-metals resources, extraction, beneficiation, and separation technologies with potential for production, growth, and scalability. Ucore has a 100% ownership stake in the Bokan-Dotson Ridge Rare-Earth Element Project in Southeast Alaska, USA. Ucore's vision and plan is to become a leading advanced technology company, providing best-in-class metal separation products and services to the mining and mineral extraction industry.

Through strategic partnerships, Ucore's vision includes disrupting the People's Republic of China's ("PRC") control of the US REE supply chain through the development of a heavy rare-earth processing facility - the Alaska Strategic Metals Complex in Southeast Alaska and the long-term development of Ucore's heavy rare-earth element mineral resource property located at Bokan Mountain on Prince of Wales Island, Alaska.

Ucore is listed on the TSXV under the trading symbol "UCU" and in the United States on the OTC Markets' OTCQX® Best Market under the ticker symbol "UURAF".

For further information, please visit www.ucore.com.

Forward-Looking Statements

This press release includes certain statements that may be deemed "forward-looking statements" regarding, among other things, the Company's ALASKA2023 Business Plan as well as the upcoming prospective financing activities involving the Company and AIDEA. All statements in this release (other than statements of historical facts) that address future business development, technological development and/or acquisition activities (including any related required financings), timelines, litigation outcomes, 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 or results and actual results or developments may differ materially from those in forward-looking statements. In regard to the disclosure in the "About Ucore Rare Metals Inc." section above, the Company has assumed that it will be able to procure or retain additional partners and/or suppliers, in addition to IMC, as suppliers for Ucore's expected future Alaska Strategic Metals Complex ("Alaska SMC"). Ucore has also assumed that sufficient external funding will be found to prepare a new National Instrument 43-101 ("NI 43-101") technical report that demonstrates that the Bokan Mountain Rare Earth Elements project ("Bokan") is feasible and economically viable for the production of both REE and co-product metals and the then prevailing market prices based upon assumed customer off-take agreements. Ucore has also assumed that sufficient external funding will be secured to develop the specific engineering plans for the Alaska SMC and its construction. Factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from those in forward-looking statements include, without limitation: Innovation Metals Corp. ("IMC") failing to protect its intellectual property rights in RapidSX™; RapidSX failing to demonstrate commercial viability in large commercial-scale applications; Ucore not being able to procure additional key partners or suppliers for the Alaska SMC; Ucore not being able to raise sufficient funds to fund the specific design and construction of the Alaska SMC and/or the continued development of RapidSX; adverse capital-market conditions; unexpected due-diligence findings; the emergence of alternative superior metallurgy and metal-separation technologies; the inability of Ucore and/or IMC to retain its key staff members; a change in the legislation in Alaska and/or in the support expressed by the Alaska Industrial Development and Export Authority ("AIDEA") regarding the development of Bokan and/or the Alaska SMC; the availability and procurement of any required interim and/or long-term financing that may be required; and general economic, market or business conditions.

Neither the TSXV nor its Regulation Services Provider (as that term is defined by the TSXV) accepts responsibility for the adequacy or accuracy of this release.

CONTACT
Mark MacDonald

Vice President, Investor Relations
Ucore Rare Metals Inc.

+1 902 482 5214
mark@ucore.com

To view the source version of this press release, please visit https://www.newsfilecorp.com/release/100166

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USFS Issues Authorization for Ucore's Bokan-Dotson Ridge Sampling Program

  • Ucore conducted Bokan field mapping work in September 2021
  • Ucore to conduct the Bokan channel and bulk sampling program during the Summer 2022 field season
  • All required state and federal permits are now in hand for the Summer 2022 field season

Ucore Rare Metals Inc. (TSXV: UCU) (OTCQX: UURAF) ("Ucore" or the "Company") is pleased to announce that on November 10, 2021, the United States Department of Agriculture's Forest Service (the "USFS") issued a 1-year authorization for Ucore to commence with the Dotson Ridge 2021 Surface Exploration Project Plan of Operations (the "Project"). The Company has elected to conduct the sampling work during next summer's field season and now has all required state and federal Project permits for this work.

On May 12, 2021, Ucore announced the Project to upgrade its Bokan-Dotson Ridge heavy rare earth element ("HREE") mineral resource, disclosed in accordance with National Instrument 43-101 ("NI 43-101"), with a budget of approximately $400,000. The Project is expected to result in converting approximately 17-20% of the mineral resource to a new Measured mineral resource category; with over 90% of the new Measured material being drawn from currently Indicated mineral resource material and 10% from currently Inferred mineral resource material. This will be accomplished through the execution of approximately 50 additional channel samplings along the ≈2 km of exposed vein outcroppings of the Dotson Ridge Zone. Secondly, the Company will conduct bulk sampling activities to obtain ≈50 tonnes of additional mineralized material to facilitate prospective pilot-scale testing of its metallurgical recovery methods currently under laboratory-scale finalization at SGS Canada's Lakefield facility.

In September 2021, Ucore's COO, Mike Schrider, and Aurora Geosciences' General Manager, Alaska, Jim Robinson, P.Geo., conducted field mapping work to physically identify the two bulk sample areas and to coordinate next summer's field activities. Both of these activities are to ready the Company to conduct a Pre-Feasibility Study ("PFS") and/or a Feasibility Study ("FS") in the near future as the REO market continues to indicate a steady increase in response to the advent of the global adoption of electric vehicles ("EVs").

The Bokan Mountain Complex has approximately nine different historical REE mineralization zones[i] but only one of these, the Bokan-Dotson Ridge Zone, has been the focus of Ucore's rare earth mineral resource development. The Bokan-Dotson Ridge mineral resource remains open down-dip and along strike. After the Summer 2022 fieldwork is completed, the Company intends to conduct any additional exploration activities concurrently with prospective mine development activities.

Cannot view this image? Visit: https://orders.newsfilecorp.com/files/1119/103904_d3bee94b542a380e_001.jpg

Figure 1- Bulk Sampling Marking of REE Vein Outcroppings at Bokan-Dotson Ridge, September 22, 2021

To view an enhanced version of Figure 1, please visit:
https://orders.newsfilecorp.com/files/1119/103904_d3bee94b542a380e_001full.jpg

"The long-term development of Bokan is a fundamental tenet of our Alaska 2023 Plan, and Ucore is committed to the establishment of a heavy rare earth element mineral reserve and eventual mine at the Bokan-Dotson Ridge project," said Ucore VP & COO, Mike Schrider, P.E. "While we have the long-term development of the Bokan Mountain Complex in our sights, we are also committed to the near-term development of a comprehensive US-centric rare earth element supply chain. In our view, this starts with the development of the environmentally sound and technologically efficient Alaska Strategic Metals Complex ["SMC"] rare earth processing facility based on RapidSX™ separation technology. And the concurrent development of the accompanying infrastructure required to support the upstream and downstream elements of this emerging supply chain through the association of key industry suppliers, partners, and customers."

The advancements at Bokan are just one of many steps in the development of the ALASKA2023 Plan that Ucore is currently progressing, including:

  • Through its wholly owned subsidiary Innovation Metals Corp. ("IMC"), commercial demonstration and deployment of the RapidSX™ separation technology platform
  • Securing third-party allied-sourced feedstock for the Alaska SMC (see Ucore's October 19, 2021, news release regarding the MOU with Vital Metals)
  • Engineering planning for the Alaska SMC REE separation & purification plant founded on modern RapidSX™ technology
  • Securing offtake agreements for the sale of rare earth oxides
  • Forming strategic alliances for the production of rare earth metals and oxides
  • Working with prospective partners for various sources of project funding:
  • Engineering and testing for the Bokan-Dotson Ridge Zone mill flowsheet
  • Community and stakeholder engagement to ensure prudent environmental, social and corporate governance ("ESG") activities

###

About Ucore Rare Metals Inc.

Ucore is focused on rare- and critical-metals resources, extraction, beneficiation, and separation technologies with the potential for production, growth, and scalability. Ucore has a 100% ownership stake in the Bokan-Dotson Ridge Rare Earth Element Project in Southeast Alaska, USA. Ucore's vision and plan is to become a leading advanced technology company, providing best-in-class metal separation products and services to the mining and mineral extraction industry.

Through strategic partnerships, Ucore's vision includes disrupting the People's Republic of China's ("PRC") control of the US REE supply chain through the development of a heavy rare-earth processing facility - the Alaska Strategic Metals Complex in Southeast Alaska and the long-term development of Ucore's heavy rare earth element mineral resource property located at Bokan Mountain on Prince of Wales Island, Alaska.

Ucore is listed on the TSXV under the trading symbol "UCU" and in the United States on the OTC Markets' OTCQX® Best Market under the ticker symbol "UURAF".

For further information, please visit www.ucore.com.

Qualified Person

Ronald James (Jim) Robinson, B.Sc., P.Geo., an independent geologist and General Manager of Aurora Geosciences (Alaska) Ltd. of Juneau, Alaska, has prepared the technical data provided in this news release and is the qualified person responsible for its accuracy.

Forward-Looking Statements

This press release includes certain statements that may be deemed "forward-looking statements" regarding, among other things, the Company's ALASKA2023 Business Plan as well as the upcoming prospective financing activities involving the Company and AIDEA. All statements in this release (other than statements of historical facts) that address future business development, technological development and/or acquisition activities (including any related required financings), timelines, litigation outcomes, 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 or results and actual results or developments may differ materially from those in forward-looking statements. In regard to the disclosure in the "About Ucore Rare Metals Inc." section above, the Company has assumed that it will be able to procure or retain additional partners and/or suppliers, in addition to IMC, as suppliers for Ucore's expected future Alaska Strategic Metals Complex ("Alaska SMC"). Ucore has also assumed that sufficient external funding will be found to prepare a new National Instrument 43-101 ("NI 43-101") technical report that demonstrates that the Bokan Mountain Rare Earth Elements project ("Bokan") is feasible and economically viable for the production of both REE and co-product metals and the then prevailing market prices based upon assumed customer off-take agreements. Ucore has also assumed that sufficient external funding will be secured to develop the specific engineering plans for the Alaska SMC and its construction. Factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from those in forward-looking statements include, without limitation: Innovation Metals Corp. ("IMC") failing to protect its intellectual property rights in RapidSX™; RapidSX failing to demonstrate commercial viability in large commercial-scale applications; Ucore not being able to procure additional key partners or suppliers for the Alaska SMC; Ucore not being able to raise sufficient funds to fund the specific design and construction of the Alaska SMC and/or the continued development of RapidSX; adverse capital-market conditions; unexpected due-diligence findings; the emergence of alternative superior metallurgy and metal-separation technologies; the inability of Ucore and/or IMC to retain its key staff members; a change in the legislation in Alaska and/or in the support expressed by the Alaska Industrial Development and Export Authority ("AIDEA") regarding the development of Bokan and/or the Alaska SMC; the availability and procurement of any required interim and/or long-term financing that may be required; and general economic, market or business conditions.

Neither the TSXV nor its Regulation Services Provider (as that term is defined by the TSXV) accepts responsibility for the adequacy or accuracy of this release.

CONTACT

Mark MacDonald
Vice President, Investor Relations
Ucore Rare Metals Inc.
902.482.5214
mark@ucore.com

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