Ferroniobium Demand Already Showing Signs of Strong Growth, With 2019 Consumption Rising 66.7% over 2018
CENTENNIAL, Colo., June 22, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- The United States and more than a dozen nations are considering plans to launch major infrastructure initiatives to repair roads and bridges, build out global 5G and rural broadband communications networks, and encourage deployment of lighter-weight and more energy efficient transportation technologies, partly as a means of jump-starting economies amid the COVID-19 pandemic. These initiatives point to a potential long-term boom in demand for critical minerals such as niobium and scandium, according to NioCorp Developments Ltd. ("NioCorp" or the "Company") (TSX: NB; OTCQX: NIOBF).
"Major infrastructure and advanced transportation programs will undoubtedly increase consumption of critical minerals that strengthen steel and aluminum and play crucial roles in electronics and communications," said Mark A. Smith, CEO and Executive Chairman of NioCorp. "Niobium is used in megastructure construction, transportation systems, advanced electronics applications, and other crucial technologies that are core to strengthening national infrastructure systems. Similarly, Scandium is expected to deliver important benefits to a variety of transportation platforms, clean energy systems, and electronic infrastructure technologies."
"Once we are able to secure project financing necessary to move the Project to construction and operation, we expect that NioCorp's Elk Creek Superalloy Materials Project can help the world achieve its infrastructure and advanced transportation goals with 'Made in USA' critical minerals," Mr. Smith said.
"Global consumption of ferroniobium has been sharply rising in recent years," Mr. Smith noted. "Using published data from Roskill, industry analysts estimate that ferroniobium consumption in 2019 was approximately 117,500 metric tons, a 66.7 percent increase over estimated consumption in 2018 of 70,500 metric tons."
"Niobium and scandium also play particularly powerful roles in their respective applications because of the positive environmental benefits they deliver," added Mr. Smith. "Niobium helps to create lightweight structures and extend their useful life, which reduces environmental impacts and gives taxpayers a better bang for their buck. Scandium's ability to create lightweight transportation platforms helps to improve fuel economy and reduce air emissions, including greenhouse gases."
"Both of these critical and strategic metals are absolutely essential to long-lasting, energy-efficient, and environmentally sound infrastructure systems and advanced transportation technologies that consumers and taxpayers expect government leaders to support," he added.
In the U.S., both Democrats and Republicans are proposing plans to significantly ramp up investment in infrastructure development. Other nations also have announced plans to increase investment in infrastructure development and energy efficiency, including the following: Australia, European Union, Canada, Mexico, Indonesia, China, The Philippines, South Korea, Germany, UK, Mexico, New Zealand, Israel, and others.
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For More Information:
Contact Jim Sims, VP of External Affairs, NioCorp Developments Ltd., 720-639-4650, [email protected]
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
Certain statements contained in this document may constitute forward-looking statements, including statements related to an expected increase in demand for niobium and scandium as a result of national infrastructure development initiatives, expectations that the Project will reach production stage and will benefit from such infrastructure initiatives if the Company is able to secure project financing, the expectation that scandium will deliver important benefits to a variety of transportation platforms, clean energy systems, and electronic infrastructure technologies, and the potential benefits of niobium and scandium. 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.
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SOURCE NioCorp Developments Ltd.