Ucore gets C$4.3 million federal grant for REE demo plant in Ontario

The RapidSX demonstration plant in Kingston, Ont. Credit: Ucore Rare Minerals

Ucore Rare Metals (TSXV: UCU) has received a C$4.3 million grant from the federal government to demonstrate its Rapid SX rare earth element (REE) separation technology capabilities. The plant is located in Kingston, Ontario, and has a total budget of C$8.3 million.

The Canadian government support will be used to commercialize Ucore’s RapidSX technology specifically for light REEs. High-purity samples of praseodymium, neodymium, and praseodymium-neodymium compound will be made. The company expects to process between 13 and 15 tonnes of mixed rare earth carbonates and oxides from sources in Canada and the United States.

The funding follows a $4 million grant in June from the US Department of Defense, which was aimed at producing the heavy REE magnet materials, terbium and dysprosium.

Ucore says the new funds will help it qualify its light REE critical magnet materials with automotive, wind energy and consumer original equipment manufacturers.

In a release, Pat Ryan, Ucore chair and CEO noted the importance of breaking China’s dominance of critical mineral supply chains.

“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,” Ryan said. “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.”

The project is to be completed by Mar. 31, 2025.

Ucore plans include near-term development of the commercial heavy and light rare earth processing facility in Louisiana, subsequent strategic metal complexes in Canada and Alaska, and the longer-term development of Ucore’s 100% controlled Bokan-Dotson Ridge heavy REE project on Prince of Wales Island in Alaska.

China’s dominance of rare earth elements and other critical minerals necessary to manufacture advanced and green technologies continues to raise alarms in the West. However, Australia’s Vital Metals (ASX: VML), which has surface rights at the Nechalacho rare earth project in the Northwest Territories, ran into trouble with its C$55 million REE separation plant in Saskatchewan this year.