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Energy Fuels eyes expansion into rare earth elements, in talks with US government

The company is primarily a uranium producer, but many ores and alternate feed materials that contain uranium also contain recoverable quantities of REEs

Cubes with elements on them
Energy Fuels is in discussions with the U.S. government about the potential to recover REE's at White Mesa Mill

Energy Fuels Inc (NYSEAMERICAN:UUUU) (TSX:EFR) updated investors Friday on its forays into the rare earth element (REE) sector at its White Mesa Mill property in Utah.

The company is primarily a uranium producer, but many ores and alternate feed materials that contain uranium also contain recoverable quantities of REEs, the company said, which in some cases can be processed under the Mill's existing license and permits

In addition to uranium and vanadium, the mill is licensed for the production of other minerals, including tantalum, which made the US Department of the Interior's Critical Minerals List.

READ: Noble Capital repeats Market Perform rating on Energy Fuels after Trump calls for strategic uranium reserve

"Energy Fuels is very lucky to own a facility like the White Mesa Mill due to its considerable flexibility,” CEO Mark Chalmers said in a statement. “Energy Fuels will always primarily be a uranium miner. However, when other opportunities arise to diversify and generate cash flow, we will carefully evaluate them, especially when the US government is backing those efforts.”

The Lakewood, Colorado-based company is in discussions with several entities, including the US government, about the potential to recover both light and heavy REEs at the White Mesa Mill, as well as uranium from certain natural ores and alternate feed materials.

In January, President Trump directed the US Department of Defense “to take actions to develop and purchase equipment and materials needed for creating, maintaining, protecting, and expanding production capability for [REEs]," in a letter to the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs and the House Committee on Financial Services.

Energy Fuels has engaged with the government and other REE companies to begin initial evaluation and potential pilot testing of REE recovery. 

Bench-scale tests indicate that certain of these types of ores and alternate feed materials can be processed using mainly existing mill equipment and that any necessary upgrades would require minimal time and cost. The White Mesa Mill has the capacity to process 2,000 tons of ore per day. 

“The processing of natural ores and alternate feed materials for the recovery of REEs in addition to uranium is just such an opportunity for Energy Fuels,” Chalmers said. “We believe Energy Fuels' White Mesa Mill could be the ideal location to process certain REE-bearing uranium ores and alternate feed materials in the US, thereby loosening China's stranglehold on this critical industry. We look forward to working with the US government and other companies to bring REE production back home to the United States."

Upcoming conferences

Additionally, Energy Fuels announced its plan to attend a pair of conferences in March.

The company will be present at the convention of the Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada (PDAC), held March 1-4 at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre. 

Management will man booth #2452 in the Investors Exchange near the main entrance to the exhibit hall. On March 2, CEO Mark Chalmers will give a presentation during the PDAC Uranium Session in Room 801B discussing its uranium and vanadium businesses, along with the aforementioned opportunities the company is pursuing in land cleanup and recovery of rare earth elements.

On March 17, Chalmers will attend the annual ROTH Conference at the Ritz-Carlton in Dana Point, California. His presentation is scheduled for 1:30 pm PT (4:30 pm ET). He will also be available for one on one meetings by request.

Contact Andrew Kessel at [email protected] 

Follow him on Twitter @andrew_kessel

Quick facts: Energy Fuels Inc.

Price: 2.25 CAD

Market: TSX
Market Cap: $264.43 m

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Energy Fuels to make a play for the rare earth elements industry

Energy Fuels Inc (NYSEAMERICAN:UUUU) (TSE:EFR) CEO Mark Chalmers tells Proactive the uranium producer is planning to enter the rare earth elements industry. Chalmers explains how the company's fully-licensed White Mesa Mill, the only uranium and vanadium mill in operation in the US today, can...

on 04/17/2020

3 min read