The Government of Canada has given Nova Scotia’s rare earth technology developer Ucore Rare Metals Inc. (TSX-V: UCU) (OTCQX: UURAF) a $4.28 million grant to help demonstrate the commercial practicality of a separation system.
On Monday, Ucore announced acquiring the funding for its RapidSX rare earth element separation platform.
The company will produce high-grade samples of neodymium, praseodymium and a compound containing both elements at its 5,000-square-foot facility in Kingston, Ontario over a six-month period.
They will be separated from approximately 14 tonnes of feedstock obtained from sources in the U.S. and Canada. The company’s commercialization partner Kingston Process Metallurgy operates the facility.
Those two rare earths are particularly needed for magnets and the company aims to produce them at an acceptable level of purity for wind energy, automotive and other equipment manufacturers. The project will conclude by the end of March 2025 and is valued at about $8.3 million.
The news follows China tightening its grip on the supply of rare earths coming out of the country. The world’s top producer of the elements announced in August that it was implementing stricter export controls on germanium and gallium, two metals needed for computer chips and an assortment of electronic devices.
“China’s recent announcements of increased scrutiny over the export of rare earth elements have raised concerns regarding the ongoing availability of these critical materials,” said Ucore’s CEO Pat Ryan.
“The development of an alternative North American rare earth supply chain is more important than ever as the world moves toward the electrification of its vehicle fleet and other green initiatives.”
Ucore says its technology is superior to other rare earth separation systems because it requires 70 per cent less floor space. The company claims it is more environmentally sustainable and has a much greater throughput rate as well.
Ucore also has a rare earth processing facility in Louisiana and is actively mining the Bokan deposit in Alaska, which contains rare metals like zirconium and niobium. The company was founded in 2006.