Shares of Colorado mining junior rocket on US critical minerals list

US critical minerals list lights fire under Colorado mining junior

Up and away

Investors continued to pile into NioCorp Developments (OTCMKTS:NIOBF, TSX: NB) on Monday after the US Department of Commerce included all the metals the Colorado-based company plans to mine at its Elk Creek project on the US government’s register of critical minerals.

Over the counter units of NioCorp trading in New York were last trading up 7.5% bringing the stock's gains since the publication on Friday to 32% for a market value of $107 million.

In a release the company said the designation establishes the Elk Creek Project in southeastern Nebraska as one of only a handful of greenfield mining projects in the US that "proposes to produce multiple critical minerals – niobium, scandium, and titanium, in this case – that all have key uses in national defense and civilian technologies and upon which the US is currently 100% dependent on foreign nations such as China and Russia."

NioCorp has completed a positive feasibility study for the minerals used in super-alloys and said it obtained key US federal permits to build the $1 billion mine with a mine life of 32 years. The company also said 75% of Elk Creek's primary product – ferroniobium – is already under contract over the first 10 years of production.

German industrial giant ThyssenKrupp is one of its early customers and NioCorp said the project is eligible for German Government loan guarantees.

Uranium, platinum, lithium and cobalt are also on the final list of 35 critical minerals that the United States deems essential to its economic and national security and wants to produce more of domestically.

The full list of minerals is here.