The United States was once a thriving producer of rare earth elements (“REEs”), a group of 17 elements deemed critical to clean energy and modern technologies. REEs are used in a bevy of applications including cell phones, computers, electric vehicles, defense equipment, renewable energy systems and more. China has dominated global rare earth markets, driving out competitors and controlling nearly all of the world’s processing capacity. China has wielded this monopoly of the REE supply chain to influence foreign policies, a weaponization that threatens the economic and national security of the U.S. and other countries around the world. Against this backdrop, the U.S. government is committed to ending its dependence upon China for REEs, and Energy Fuels Inc. (NYSE American: UUUU) (TSX: EFR) (Profile) is among the leaders with projects that intend to re-ignite REE production in the U.S., which in Energy Fuels’ case, is expected as soon as early 2021. In December 2020, the company advanced its entry into the REE market by inking a three-year supply agreement with the Chemours Company (NYSE: CC) to acquire a minimum of 2,500 tons per year of natural monazite sand ore, one of the highest-grade and highest-value rare earth minerals in the world. Yet, the relatively tiny quantity of natural monazite the company will be acquiring from Chemours contains close to 10% of total U.S. demand for rare earths. Chemours is the nation’s leading miner of monazite, a reddish-brown phosphate mineral sand containing high concentrations of REEs and uranium. Companies are looking to shift their supply chains away from China, as EV maker Tesla Inc. (NASDAQ: TSLA) recently did by becoming a lithium miner in Nevada to supplement its other material feeds. Tech juggernaut Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL) is following a different path, using recycled REEs in its latest products with plans for the entire corporate footprint to have net zero climate impact by 2030. Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy SA (OTC: GCTAF) has challenges of its own as a major supplier of wind turbines, which requires REEs in their construction.
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About Energy Fuels Inc.
Energy Fuels is a leading U.S.-based uranium mining company, supplying U3O8 to major nuclear utilities. The company also produces vanadium from certain of its projects, as market conditions warrant, and anticipates commencing commercial production of rare earth element (“REE”) carbonate in 2021. Its corporate offices are in Lakewood, Colorado, near Denver, and all of its assets and employees are in the United States. Energy Fuels holds three of America’s key uranium production centers: the White Mesa Mill in Utah, the Nichols Ranch in-situ recovery (“ISR”) Project in Wyoming, and the Alta Mesa ISR Project in Texas. The White Mesa Mill is the only conventional uranium mill operating in the U.S. today, has a licensed capacity of over 8 million pounds of U3O8 per year, has the ability to produce vanadium when market conditions warrant and is completing final test-work for the production of REE carbonate from various uranium-bearing ores. The Nichols Ranch ISR Project is on standby and has a licensed capacity of 2 million pounds of U3O8 per year. The Alta Mesa ISR Project is also on standby and has a licensed capacity of 1.5 million pounds of U3O8 per year. In addition to the above production facilities, Energy Fuels also has one of the largest NI 43-101 compliant uranium resource portfolios in the U.S. and several uranium and uranium/vanadium mining projects on standby and in various stages of permitting and development. The primary trading market for Energy Fuels’ common shares is the NYSE American under the trading symbol “UUUU,” and the company’s common shares are also listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange under the trading symbol “EFR.” For more information, visit the company’s website at www.EnergyFuels.com.
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