Ucore Initiates Advanced Engineering & Design for Alaska Rare Earth Separation Plant

5/7/2018, 11:39 AM (Source: GlobeNewswire)

HALIFAX, Nova Scotia, May 07, 2018 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Ucore Rare Metals Inc. (TSXV:UCU) (OTCQX:UURAF) (“Ucore” or the “Company”) is pleased to announce it has engaged IBC Advanced Technologies, Inc. (IBC) of American Fork, Utah, to commence advanced engineering and design procedures for the U.S. Specialty Metals Complex (SMC) to be constructed in Ketchikan, Alaska (see Ucore Press Release: http://ucore.com/ucore-announces-location-selection-for-u-s-strategic-metals-complex-smc). 

On March 5, 2018, Ucore announced a 2020 production start date for the Ketchikan-based SMC (see Ucore Press Release: http://ucore.com/ucore-sets-2020-production-start-date-for-alaska-smc). The agenda includes an advanced engineering and design (E&D) program commencing in 2018, comprised of two primary phases:

  PhaseEngineering & Design Item and Description
1. Plant 1.1 Feedstock - Reconfirmation of Feedstock Geochemistry and Down Selection of Candidate Feedstocks; Feedstock Test Work; Consideration of Individual and Blended Production Lines Over the Life of the Plant.

1.2 Plant Requirements - Finalization of the Plant Requirements Document.

1.3 Process Flow Diagrams – MRT & non-MRT.

1.4 Process & Instrumentation Diagrams – MRT & non-MRT.

1.5 Arrangement Layouts & Details – MRT, non-MRT & On-site Analytical Laboratory.

1.6 Equipment and Chemical Lists - Including Purchase Specifications (Categorized by Lead Time) – MRT, non-MRT & Laboratory.

1.7 Programmable Logic Controller (PLC) Engineering – MRT & non-MRT.

1.8 Utilities - Finalization of the Facility Dimensional, Power, Compressed Air, HVAC, Water, and Environmental Requirements.
1.9 Economic Model - Routine Updates & Finalization of Engineering Inputs to the Project Economic Model and Schedule.

2. Facility 2.1 Codes - Building Code & Zoning Requirements.

2.2 Site Specific Studies, including:

  • Boundary Survey and Topography
  • Soils Report
  • Site Plan Design
  • Architectural Rendering
  • Review of Mechanical, Electrical & Environmental Requirements
2.3 Facility Requirements - Finalization of the Facility Requirements Document.

2.4 Design Engineering - Architectural, Civil, Electrical and Mechanical Design Drawings & Specifications.

2.5 Equipment Lists – Including Purchase Specifications (Categorized by Lead Time).

2.6 Permit Applications
2.7 Economic Model - Routine Updates & Finalization of Engineering Inputs to the Project Economic Model and Schedule.



“Having IBC commence E&D activities is a significant milestone for the Alaska SMC,” said Mike Schrider, COO of Ucore. “Completion of IBC’s initial test work and engineering tasks will allow us to engage other engineering specialists regarding the non-MRT [Molecular Recognition Technology] portions of the Plant such as the product dissolution and acid/wastewater recycling sections.  Once those systems are designed, we will then be in a position to commence discussions with local Alaskan engineers regarding our facility requirements to house the REE separation plant based on the specific site we select in Ketchikan.”

“The Ucore-IBC alliance in the REE sector builds on IBC’s proven capabilities to develop, scale-up and commercialize selective separation systems for a number of diverse and complex applications,” stated Jim McKenzie, President and CEO of Ucore. “By extrapolating the knowledge gained from the SuperLig® One rare earth pilot plant, we have a clear plan of execution for the Alaska SMC. When completed, we will have established a significant domestic source of saleable rare earth oxides, which will go a long way towards establishing technology metals independence for the US in an environmentally sustainable and safety conscious manner.”

The E&D process will culminate in a technical and economic document which will form the basis of financing discussions with the Alaska Industrial Development and Export Authority (AIDEA), pursuant to Senate Bill 99 (SB99). In 2014, Ucore announced the SB99 initiative, which included the unanimous support of the Alaska State Legislature for the investment of up to USD $145 Million in REE mining and separation facilities in South East Alaska, subject to review and approval by AIDEA (see Ucore Press Release: http://ucore.com/ucore-comments-on-unanimous-passing-of-sb-99-by-alaska-state-senate). 

Entrepreneur of the Year

Ucore is additionally proud to announce that the Company has been awarded Entrepreneur of the Year by the Ketchikan Chamber of Commerce. In an event hosted by the Chamber on April 21, 2018, Jason Custer, Executive Secretary for the Chamber attributed the recognition by the selection committee to Ucore’s tremendous investment in the region around the development of the Bokan-Dotson Ridge Rare Earth Project and now the proposed Ketchikan based strategic rare earth separation complex. 

“Ketchikan was selected as the preferred location to construct Ucore’s inaugural Specialty Metals Complex to separate feedstock sourced from alternate projects, due to favorable container shipping logistics, an experienced and loyal local workforce, and the close proximity to our primary in-situ rare earth resource,” explained Randy Johnson, Advisory Board Member to Ucore. “We thank the Chamber for this overture of recognition. The award is a strong indication of the local support and the desire to diversify industry in Southeast Alaska and make this the environmentally conscience rare earth supply region for the nation.”  

Qualified Person

Michael Schrider, P.E., Chief Operating Officer of Ucore Rare Metals Inc., has approved the scientific and technical content of this news release and is the Qualified Person responsible for its accuracy under NI 43-101 regulations. Mr. Schrider, holds a B.Sc. degree in engineering from the University of New Orleans and is a Registered Professional Engineer in the State of Louisiana.

About IBC

IBC Advanced Technologies, Inc. is an award-winning, green chemistry selective separations company based on innovative MRT products. Headquartered in American Fork, Utah, with manufacturing facilities in Utah and Houston, Texas, IBC has supplied industrial, governmental and academic customers worldwide with environmentally friendly products, processes and services for over 30 years.

IBC specializes in MRT, utilizing green chemistry to achieve highly selective separations of metal ions in complex matrices. Based on Nobel Prize-winning technology (1987), IBC’s proprietary products and processes are used worldwide by premier metals refining and mining companies such as Tanaka Kikinzoku K.K. (Japan), Asarco Grupo Mexico (USA), Impala Platinum Ltd. (South Africa), and Sino Platinum (China). The Japanese Government (Mitsubishi Research, Inc.) previously awarded to IBC a highly competitive subsidy grant, “Demonstration Project for Seawater Purification Technologies,” concerning the selective separation of the radionuclides strontium and cesium from contaminated seawater at Fukushima, Japan.

IBC’s expertise is illustrated by its extensive development and commercialization of separations systems for platinum group metals (“PGM’s”) at a world level. PGM’s are analogous to the rare earth elements, in that they are considered difficult to selectively separate due to their constituent chemical similarities.

About Ucore

Ucore Rare Metals is a development-phase company focused on rare metals resources, extraction and beneficiation technologies. The Company has a 100% ownership stake in the Bokan project. On March 31, 2014, Ucore announced the results of Senate Bill 99, allocating an investment of up to USD $145 Million in REE mining and extraction infrastructure in South East Alaska.

For further information regarding the Alaska SMC, please contact Mr. Randy MacGillivray, VP Project Development of Ucore Rare Metals Inc. at: +1 (604) 842-9802, randy@ucore.com or visit http://www.ucore.com

Cautionary Notes
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, research and development timelines, 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 or setbacks, research and develop successes or setbacks, continued availability of financing, and general economic, market or business conditions.

MRT is at advanced testing stages and has yet to be proven, at a commercial scale, for the separation of rare earth elements. The Company has not yet released an economic assessment on the use of MRT for the separation of rare earth elements and does not yet have any specific contracts for the processing of rare earths using MRT.

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

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