- China has demonstrated their intension to weaponize access to critical metals, with restrictions on germanium and gallium scheduled for August, and rare earth metals used in permanent magnets could be next
- China accounts for 90% of the gallium and 80% of the germanium supply exports used in the United States and other European countries
- Gallium and germanium are two materials important for the production of semiconductor chips, and China’s control of the market makes it exceedingly difficult for secure production without a North American supply
- Ucore’s RapidSX(TM) technology utilizes similar chemistry to conventional SX and significantly improves the well-established, well-understood, proven conventional SX separation technology preferred by REE producers
- Ucore’s developing North American REE supply chain includes plants in Louisiana, Alaska, and Canada
Gallium and germanium are two materials important for producing semiconductor chips and key ingredients for power electronics chips, Radio Frequency chips, wireless communication, and high-speed signaling – used in applications like electric vehicles, data centers, 5G, radar, GPS, and wireless communications. China accounts for 90% of the gallium and 80% of the germanium supply exports used in the United States and other European countries. The growing tensions between China and countries worldwide have created a growing number of restrictive trade actions from both sides. Most recently, according to a Business Today article, China’s export curbs on gallium and germanium, two important elements for the production of semiconductors, threatens to disrupt the chip supply chain and increase the price of semiconductors and associated products (https://ibn.fm/y2bL4).
The United States is believed to hold the world’s largest germanium mines, but it does not extract the raw material, an expensive process for obtaining the required purity. Ucore Rare Metals (TSX.V: UCU) (OTCQX: UURAF), a critical metals separation technology company executing an ESG-centered plan toward establishing a comprehensive North American critical metals supply chain, has developed a transformative commercial-ready technology for separating and purifying critical metals. Ucore intends to deploy its RapidSX(TM) technology in pursuit of a critical metals supply chain independent of China and Western original equipment manufacturers – most notably in the automotive industry and renewable energy.
The global semiconductor market size was valued at $527.88 billion in 2021. The market is expected to grow from $573.44 billion in 2022 to $1.38 trillion in 2029, growing at a CAGR of 12.2%. This growth is attributed to the increased consumption of consumer electronic devices across the globe and the production of electric vehicles (https://ibn.fm/tXEsl).
Although not a new technology, RapidSX(TM) combines the time-proven chemistry of conventional solvent extraction (“SX”) with a new column-based platform that significantly reduces time to completion and plant footprint and potentially lowers capital and operation costs. SX is the international rare earth element (“REE”) industry’s standard commercial separation technology and is currently used by all REE producers worldwide for bulk commercial separation of both heavy and light REEs.
Ucore’s RapidSX(TM) technology utilizes similar chemistry to conventional SX and significantly improves the well-established, well-understood, proven conventional SX separation technology preferred by REE producers. The commissioning of Ucore’s RapidSX(TM) Demonstration Plant is underway in Kingston, Ontario, and is designed to demonstrate the commercial capabilities of its technology. Ucore’s RapidSX(TM) Demonstration Plant will show:
- The techno-economic advantages of the RapidSX(TM) technology platform
- The processing of tens of tons of heavy and light REE concentrates in a simulated production environment
- The platform’s ability to operate for thousands of semi-continuous run-time hours
- Production of high-purity NdPr, praseodymium, neodymium, terbium, and dysprosium rare earth elements for early OEM product qualification trials
The demonstration plant is located within Ucore’s 5,000-square-foot RapidSX(TM) Commercialization and Demonstration Facility run by its laboratory partner, Kingston Process Metallurgy Inc.
By 2025, Ucore expects to commercially separate US-friendly sources of REEs and supply OEMs with REOs required to produce rare earth permanent magnets, essential in electric motors and generators. The company intends to contribute to this initiative through the near-term development of heavy and light REE processing facilities in Louisiana and the subsequent development of Strategic Metals Complexes in Alaska and Canada – as well as a longer-term development of its 100% owned Heavy Rare Earth Element (“HREE”) mineral resource property at Bokan Mountain on Prince of Wales Island, Alaska.
For more information, visit the company’s website at www.Ucore.com.
NOTE TO INVESTORS: The latest news and updates relating to UURAF are available in the company’s newsroom at https://ibn.fm/UURAF
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