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NioCorp To Deploy Additional Environmental Controls To Minimize Air Emissions at its Proposed Nebraska Critical Minerals Mine

Lower Emissions Profile Qualifies the Project for a State Construction Air Permit 
Rather Than a Costlier and More Cumbersome Federal Air Permit

CENTENNIAL, Colo., June 24, 2019 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- NioCorp Developments Ltd. ("NioCorp" or the "Company") (TSX: NB; OTCQX: NIOBF) is pleased to announce that advanced emissions control technologies it plans to deploy in its proposed Elk Creek Superalloy Materials Project (the “Project”) are now expected to reduce air emissions below levels that would trigger the need for a federal air permit under the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (“EPA”) Prevention of Significant Deterioration (“PSD”) program.  The Project now expects to apply for a State Construction Air Permit from the Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality (“NDEQ”), which is designed to ensure the maintenance of air quality standards for lower-emissions projects.

NioCorp’s efforts to reduce its air emissions, and associated environmental impacts, is expected to allow the Project to navigate a more efficient permitting process than is typically encountered under the U.S. EPA’s PSD process.  For example:

  • Federal air permits that govern higher-emitting facilities require a more extensive application process and often involve longer timelines for approvals than non-PSD processes.  NioCorp’s project may therefore benefit from a more efficient air emissions permitting regime;

  • The often-complex and costly Best Available Control Technology (“BACT”) assessment required under the U.S. EPA’s PSD program may no longer be necessary for the Project;

  • While still very rigorous, air emissions modeling protocols for lower-emitting facilities are less complex than for higher-emitting facilities under the U.S. EPA’s PSD process, which may save applicants time and money, and;

  • The Project may be eligible for a variance under state law to allow construction to start before a final State Construction Air Permit is issued.

NioCorp’s early efforts to recycle process reagents is expected to reduce the emissions profile of its superalloy materials manufacturing plant.  In addition, it plans to minimize expected emissions through such technologies as baghouses, scrubbers, low nitrogen oxide (NOx) combustion systems, state-of-the-art acid regeneration, and other technologies.

“Our goal from day one of this Project was to produce environmentally friendly superalloy materials in an environmentally friendly manner,” said Mark A. Smith, CEO and Executive Chairman of NioCorp.  “Our plans to recycle chemical reagents as much as possible, employ advanced emissions scrubber technologies, and utilize low NOx combustion burners are expected to help us to significantly reduce our air emissions profile.  By making the early investment necessary to reduce our environmental impacts, we strive to do what is right by the environment while also reaping the benefits of navigating a more efficient environmental permitting process.”

Scott Honan, President of Elk Creek Resources Corp., the operating subsidiary of NioCorp Developments Ltd., said: “The State of Nebraska’s Construction Air Permit process is very rigorous, and rightfully so.  Our team looks forward to continuing to engage with Nebraska’s air quality regulators, as we have since 2016, to ensure that this Project meets or exceeds all air quality standards set by the State of Nebraska.”

The Company expects to submit an application to the State Construction Air Permit program in July of 2019.

@NioCorp $NB $NIOBF #Niobium #Scandium #ElkCreek

For More Information

Contact Jim Sims, VP of External Affairs, NioCorp Developments Ltd., 20-639-4650, jim.sims@niocorp.com

About NioCorp

NioCorp is developing a superalloy materials project in Southeast Nebraska that will produce Niobium, Scandium, and Titanium. Niobium is used to produce superalloys as well as High Strength, Low Alloy ("HSLA") steel, which is a lighter, stronger steel used in automotive, structural, and pipeline applications.  Scandium is a superalloy material that can be combined with Aluminum to make alloys with increased strength and improved corrosion resistance.  Scandium also is a critical component of advanced solid oxide fuel cells.  Titanium is used in various superalloys and is a key component of pigments used in paper, paint and plastics and is also used for aerospace applications, armor and medical implants.

Cautionary Note Regarding Forward-Looking Statements

Neither TSX nor its Regulation Services Provider (as that term is defined in the policies of the TSX) accepts responsibility for the adequacy or accuracy of this document.  Certain statements contained in this document may constitute forward-looking statements, including statements regarding plans to deploy advanced emissions control technologies in the Project and expected reduction in air emissions as a result thereof, the potential for the Project to navigate a more efficient permitting process, air emissions permits that the Company expects to pursue, the timing of any air permit application, and the results of those efforts including potential cost savings.  Such forward-looking statements are based upon NioCorp’s reasonable expectations and business plan at the date hereof, which are subject to change depending on economic, political and competitive circumstances and contingencies. Readers are cautioned that such forward-looking statements involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors that may cause a change in such assumptions and the actual outcomes and estimates to be materially different from those estimated or anticipated future results, achievements or position expressed or implied by those forward-looking statements. Risks, uncertainties and other factors that could cause NioCorp’s plans or prospects to change include risks related to the Company's ability to operate as a going concern; risks related to the Company's requirement of significant additional capital; changes in demand for and price of commodities (such as fuel and electricity) and currencies; changes in economic valuations of the Project, such as Net Present Value calculations, changes or disruptions in the securities markets; legislative, political or economic developments; the need to obtain permits and comply with laws and regulations and other regulatory requirements; the possibility that actual results of work may differ from projections/expectations or may not realize the perceived potential of NioCorp’s projects; risks of accidents, equipment breakdowns and labor disputes or other unanticipated difficulties or interruptions; the possibility of cost overruns or unanticipated expenses in development programs; operating or technical difficulties in connection with exploration, mining or development activities; the speculative nature of mineral exploration and development, including the risks of diminishing quantities of grades of reserves and resources; and the risks involved in the exploration, development and mining business and the risks set forth in the Company’s filings with Canadian securities regulators at www.sedar.com and the SEC at www.sec.gov. NioCorp disclaims any intention or obligation to update or revise any forward-looking statements whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise.