In a news release, Energy Fuels Inc. (EFR:TSX; UUUU:NYSE.American) announced that it plans to process rare earth elements (REEs) ore at its White Mesa Mill, not mine or produce REEs, while continuing its primary business of uranium mining and production.
The company decided to enter the REE space after spending several months reviewing, testing and discussing the prospect with various technical experts and the U.S. government, the latter of which desires a domestic source of the REEs needed for national defense.
Energy Fuels believes it can turn its White Mesa Mill, a conventional uranium processing facility in Utah, into a "one-stop-shop for U.S. critical mineral processing, thereby reducing our reliance on China," Energy Fuels President and CEO Mark S. Chalmers said in the release. "We believe Energy Fuels holds a distinct advantage as an early mover in this high-value, high-growth sector, and we look forward to engaging with the U.S. government on this important national security initiative."
Because uranium and other radioactive elements are often found in REEs ore streams, it is difficult for U.S. companies to obtain the requisite licensing to construct and operate a facility to process REEs. The White Mesa mill, however, is already licensed and constructed, and therefore, could be used to recover both REEs and uranium from rare earth ore streams.
To advance its plan, Colorado-based Energy Fuels is evaluating REEs ore processing at its White Mesa Mill. If successful, the uranium firm intends to offer customers tolling or processing arrangements at White Mesa. Also, for help with testing, mineralogy, flowsheet development and pilot plant engineering at White Mesa, the company engaged ANSTO, an Australian company with expertise in the REEs sector and in management of radioactive materials.[NLINSERT]
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