Energy Fuels Inc (NYSEAMERICAN:UUUU) (TSX:EFR) announced Monday a further boost to its rare earths production aims as it revealed it is set to be awarded a US government contract.
The Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Fossil Energy (FE) and the National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL) are looking to award the uranium firm, a contract that will see it working with a team from Penn State University, to develop a conceptual design to commercially produce mixed rare earth oxides (REO) from coal-based resources, Energy Fuels said in a statement.
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Furthermore, the DOE can award Energy Fuels a contract to complete a feasibility study on this initiative.
"Energy Fuels has been carrying out substantial work over the past year to explore the potential for implementing a commercial rare earth recovery and processing program at our White Mesa Mill," said Mark Chalmers, CEO of Energy Fuels.
"This initiative to produce REOs from coal-based resources is complementary to our ongoing efforts and will potentially broaden the sources of REE feedstock available to us in the future. We also hope this project opens the door for us to work with the DOE and other agencies on future rare earth initiatives."
Chalmers noted that rare earths were used in a host of technologies, including cell phones, computers, renewable energy generation, batteries and military applications but that the USA did not currently have a fully integrated rare earth supply chain.
The Department of Energy has already demonstrated that extracting rare earth elements (REE) from coal and coal-based resources is feasible. These resources include coal refuse, over/under burden materials, and ash from power generation.
Energy Fuels applied for a grant in June 2020, as the rare earth elements (REEs) contained in these coal-based resources are similar to the REEs contained in other materials that the firm is currently evaluating in its rare earth program.
Energy Fuels is the largest uranium mining company in the US. It also produces vanadium from certain of its projects, as market conditions warrant, and is assessing the potential to implement a commercial rare earth recovery and processing program at its White Mesa mill in Utah.
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