Halifax, Nova Scotia--(Newsfile Corp. - September 23, 2019) - Ucore Rare Metals Inc. (TSXV: UCU) (OTCQX: UURAF) ("Ucore" or the "Company") is pleased to report on two very positive recent developments under the MINE Component of its M3 Plan of Action, regarding Shovel Ready initiatives for the Bokan-Dotson Ridge Rare Earth Project ("Bokan" or the "Project"):
- VALUATION OF CO-PRODUCTS
The Company has now received initial results from the first phase of a scientific co-products metals report (the "CPM") conducted by Mr. Edwin H. Bentzen III, a consulting metallurgical engineer of Arvada, Colorado. The results have exceeded the Company's expectations regarding the number of viable co-product elements present in the two existing leach streams (residue and leachate). The initial scope of the CPM included the identification and location of potentially valuable (and yet to be considered in the overall Project economics) co-product metals that presently co-exist within the Bokan flowsheet. In particular, the findings indicate that the elements beryllium, zirconium, niobium, and hafnium appear in sufficient concentrations to warrant inclusion in the Company's ongoing analysis of metals of potential contributory value in the Bokan mine design; incidental concentrations of titanium and vanadium will also be considered.
"Previous laboratory programs were diligent in tracking co-product metals during the extensive studies conducted during the development of the Bokan flowsheet, as documented in the published 2013 PEA", said Bentzen. "We have successfully determined the concentrations of each element of interest at each major juncture of the flowsheet process studies. Our analysis then included the potential contribution of each of these existing metals from both the non-magnetic reject and the final leach residue, in order to estimate their contributions within the leach solution itself."
Buoyed by the initial CPM results, Ucore has now engaged Aurora Geosciences (Alaska) Ltd. of Juneau, Alaska ("Aurora") to analyze the existing Project data to determine the specific amounts of inferred and/or indicated co-product elements and to correspondingly update the 2015 mineral resource with this new data. Ucore intends to utilize this forthcoming data to update the incremental costs associated with extracting each of the co-product elements from the updated mineral resource. The results will also be used to apply the net contained value of the co-products as a revenue credit against the 2013 Preliminary Economic Assessment's ("PEA") estimated production cost of USD$122.78 per tonne of mined ore (or approximately USD$146 per tonne of mined ore in 2019 USD, assuming an inflation rate of 2-1/2% per year since 2013).
"The CPM study has delivered a very positive first screening of the value-added co-product metal values present in existing product streams," observed Mike Schrider, COO of Ucore. "As we commence with the engineering steps to incorporate solvent extraction into the overall Bokan process flow sheet, the next co-product steps after the mineral resource update will be to develop the optimized recovery path and to determine the associated incremental costs for these value-added co-product metals in order to fully understand the net economic upside potential for the overall Bokan project."
"The CPM project has a mission of placing a value on the previously unassessed complementary metals at Bokan" said Jim McKenzie, President & CEO of Ucore. "These are non-rare earth metals, which had not been factored into the published 2013 PEA. The initial results described in the CPM report are a significant development as we embark on our M3 Plan of Action to develop Bokan to a shovel ready status and to find ways to lower the required REE market pricing threshold to commence actual mine site construction."
- EXPEDITED PERMITTING
Based on the outcome of a recent meeting President Trump and Alaska Governor Michael Dunleavy, and in consultation with the Alaska federal delegation of Senator Murkowski (R-AK) , Senator Sullivan (R-AK) and Representative Young (R-AK); the White House has now instructed Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue to acknowledge the exemption of the Tongass National Forest from the 2001 Roadless Area Conservation Rule (the "Roadless Rule").
A state-specific roadless rule would determine which currently designated roadless areas in the Tongass National Forest would require a different management designation to further Alaska's economic development or other needs, while still conserving roadless areas for generations to come. The USDA Forest Service plans to finalize an Alaska roadless rule by June 2020.
"Eliminating the Roadless Rule review will increase the efficiency of Project permitting," explained Mike Schrider. "This potential action, combined with Governor Dunleavy's request for High Priority Infrastructure Project designation for Bokan, should allow Ucore to gain approvals for the Project in a substantially shorter time frame, adding to the Project's appeal as a potential near-term source of critical rare earths to the American defense, energy, and technology sectors."
"Natural resource development projects such as Bokan will continue to be regulated and designed with due environmental considerations," said Randy MacGillivray, Ucore VP of Project Development. "The Ucore team takes environmental stewardship very seriously, and we are especially proud of our unique, clean, green operating plan that takes advantage of X-ray ore sorting and recycling to provide for a proposed underground mine project without a tailings dam."
"This instruction demonstrates the Trump Administration's commitment to establishing U.S. independence from Chinese critical metals in concert with responsible natural resource development in Southeast Alaska," said Jim McKenzie. "With the possibility of now being able to optimize access to the Project and to now consider the effect of co-products on our required REE market pricing, we expect to reduce the required break-even price for REE production and shorten the Project payback period. We eagerly await further details from the Bokan project team on these important initiatives."
Disclosure of the nature of a PEA in compliance with NI 43-101 Guidelines: A PEA is preliminary in nature; it includes inferred mineral resources that are considered too speculative geologically to have the economic considerations applied to them that would enable them to be categorized as mineral reserves, and there is no certainty that the PEA will be realized.
Ucore Rare Metals is a development-phase company focused on rare and critical metals resources, extraction and beneficiation technologies with near term potential for production, growth and scalability. The Company has a 100% ownership stake in the Bokan-Dotson Ridge Rare Earth Project. On March 31, 2014, Ucore announced the unanimous support of the Alaska State Legislature for Senate Bill 99 (2014), which authorized the AIDEA to issue up to USD$145 million in bonds for the infrastructure and construction costs of the Bokan-Dotson Ridge Rare Earth Project.
Ucore's vision and plan is to transition to become a leading advanced technology company that provides metal separation products and services to the mining and mineral extraction industry. This vision includes the development of the Alaska SMC in Southeast Alaska and the development of the Company's rare earth minerals property located at Bokan Mountain in Alaska (an NI-43-101 technical report was filed on SEDAR on March 14, 2013).
For further information, please contact Mr. Jim McKenzie, President & CEO of Ucore Rare Metals Inc. at: +1 (902) 482-5214 or visit <http://www.ucore.com>.
Michael Schrider, P.E., COO of Ucore, has approved the scientific and technical content of this news release and is the Qualified Person responsible for its accuracy. Mr. Schrider, is a registered professional engineer in the State of Louisiana, holds a B.S. degree in engineering from the University of New Orleans and a M.Eng. degree in mining engineering (mineral processing emphasis) from The University of Arizona.
Mr. Edwin H. Bentzen III, a consulting metallurgical engineer, has approved the scientific and technical content of the third party representations set out in this news release and is the Qualified Person responsible for their accuracy. Mr. Bentzen received a B.Sc. degree in 1967, at the Mackey School of Mines, University of Nevada, Reno, with a Minor in Chemistry. He has worked with industrial minerals while at the Minerals Research Laboratory, in Asheville, N.C. and been employed by the Colorado School of Mines Research Institute, Ore Sorters (North America) Inc., Hazen Research, MD Mineral Technologies, Lyntek Inc. and Resource Development Inc. He is active in SME (Registered Member) and is past President of the Colorado Section SME.
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 business 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. Ucore has assumed that it will be able to procure an SX partner or SX supplier for the Alaska Strategic Metals Complex ("Alaska SMC"). Ucore has also assumed that sufficient external funding will be found to prepare a new NI 43-101 technical report that demonstrates that the Bokan Project is feasible and economically viable for the production of both REE and co-product mineral materials and metals and the then prevailing market prices based upon assumed customer off-take agreements. Ucore has also assumed that sufficient external funding will be found to develop the specific engineering plans for the Alaska SMC and its construction. Ucore has also assumed that it will in the near future be able to obtain interim financing and sufficient additional financing to acquire IBC in compliance with the terms contemplated in the existing agreements with IBC and its shareholders holding a majority of its shares. Ucore has also assumed that there will be no material adverse findings in its upcoming expected comprehensive due diligence review of IBC. Factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from those in forward-looking statements include: Ucore not being able to procure an SX partner or supplier 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 acquire IBC (including the non-acquisition payments owed under the previous and existing agreements with IBC); adverse capital market conditions; unexpected due diligence findings; unexpected or adverse outcomes in the currently outstanding litigation matters between Ucore and IBC; resistance to or noncompliance by IBC or its key shareholders with the existing agreements; the emergence of alternative superior metallurgy and metal separation technologies; the inability of IBC to retain its key staff members and clients; the inability of IBC to protect its intellectual property; unexpected transaction costs or other deal completion setbacks; a change in the legislation in Alaska and/or in the support expressed by AIDEA regarding the development of Bokan; the availability and procurement of any required interim and/or long-term financing that may be required; and general economic, market or business conditions.
No new drilling or assaying occurred in 2019 and no new exploration drilling is expected to be required in order for the Company's external experts to develop an updated mineral resource for Bokan that includes REE and the numerous co-product materials.
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