Ucore Rare Metals Inc. is a development-stage mining company focused on establishing rare metal resources with the potential for near-term production. Ucore’s primary focus is the 100% owned Bokan – Dotson Ridge Rare Earth Elements “REE” property in Alaska, located 60 km southwest of Ketchikan, Alaska. Approximately 40% (by weight) of the rare earth elements contained in the Dotson Ridge deposit are Heavy Rare Earth Elements, “HREE.” The Bokan Mountain project covers 30 sq. km (19 sq. miles). Bokan is the only REE deposit worldwide with immediate deep water access.
Molecular Recognition Technology, “MRT,” a Potential Game-Changer
Ucore Rare Metals, Inc. (TSXV: UCU | OTCQX: UURAF) is rare in a number of ways. Rare for its meaningful skew towards Dysprosium, Terbium & Yttrium; among the most critical, high-demand HREEs on the planet. Rare by securing a pre-approved $145 million long-term loan from the State of Alaska, representing 2/3’s of Ucore’s upfront capital requirements. Rare in sitting on the largest NI 43-101 compliant HREE deposit in the U.S. Rare because Ucore could possibly generate cash flow next year from the use or sub-licensing of its game-changing MRT technology, “MRT.” Rare with a stamp of approval from globally renowned REE expert Jack Lifton. Mr. Lifton has nothing but praise for the tremendous announcements made in press releases on March 2nd & March 3rd. I submit that Ucore offers a rare and quite compelling, investment opportunity.
If nothing else comes across or is remembered, please understand the significance of the March 2nd press release stating that Ucore successfully separated each of the REEs at high purity and high recoveries from its own Bokan Dotson-Ridge feedstock in Alaska. In a must see, March 24th, 12 minute interview, Jack Lifton **, [see disclosure below] Founding Principal of Technology Metals Research, LLC said, quote,
“I’ve heard in the last day or so that people refer to this technology [MRT] as revolutionary, in fact it’s evolutionary…. This is so logical, to apply this kind of technology to the separation of the rare earths….quite frankly I am very optimistic that [Ucore] will be able to scale this technology up. It is not new, it’s not revolutionary, this is a logical, additional application of MRT.”
Mr. Lifton said A LOT more than that…. I urge readers to click on the link above to hear the entire video interview. Also completed at about the same time, an excellent interview of CEO Jim McKenzie. Essentially, Ucore Rare Metals has obtained exclusive rights to a proven technology that’s been successfully deployed at commercial scale at roughly 40 metals processing facilities around the world. Ucore is scaling up MRT to process its own resource in Alaska as well as offering to toll process/refine third-party REEs. As Mr. Lifton said, this is evolutionary, not revolutionary. From an investor’s point of view, the March 3rd press release is equally important. Why? Ucore has, quote,
“…entered into an agreement with IBC Advanced Technologies Inc. (“IBC”) to acquire the global exclusive rights to IBC’s Molecular Recognition Technology (“MRT”) for rare earth separation and recycling applications, in addition to tailings processing.”
U.S. Based Ucore Could be Part of the Solution in Mitigating the World’s Reliance on China
Ucore has exclusive worldwide rights to use MRT not just for REEs, but also for remediation of tailings ponds and waste dumps containing previously unrecoverable (uneconomic) metals and minerals. MRT has been short-listed to help remediate radioactive water at the contaminated Fukushima site in Japan. If one doesn’t believe the CEO or Mr. Lifton, consider that the initial version of MRT received the 1987 Nobel Prize in Chemistry. Not only is Ucore in an enviable position with regard to its Alaskan property and MRT, the implications for MRT for the REE sector are potentially huge. For example, think about China’s chokehold on REEs (and other metals & minerals). CEO McKenzie points out that,
“Global manufacturers like Siemens and ThyssenKrupp will accelerate the current movement to source Rare Earth Elements from resources outside of China. Security of supply, environment concerns and fears of Chinese ‘resource nationalism’ will continue to steer this development. Every major global manufacturer is deploying similar strategies. Even the Chinese are developing these ‘primary resource’ relationships in the rest of world, “ROW”. There have been 4 or 5 ROW-Chinese deals in 2015 alone. This trend will continue to drive up the value of HREE projects, especially near-term projects like our Bokan-Dotson Zone deposit in Alaska.”
The reason I’m going on and on about MRT is quite simple. The near-term application of MRT could enable Ucore to generate cash flow next year. Beyond that, the company’s flagship project is expected to reach production 1h, 2018. With Ucore’s pre-approved $145 million long-term loan from the State of Alaska, these developments greatly de-risk the company. I believe that the company’s rights to deploy MRT at Bokan Dotson-Ridge and elsewhere could, alone, be worth Ucore’s total market cap. And, the value of Ucore’s Alaskan HREE-skewed deposit could, alone, also cover the current market cap. Either way, investors have a very compelling opportunity to participate in a potentially substantial increase in the stock price.
Market Largely Ignoring the De-Risking of Ucore & the Blue-Sky Upside Potential, Well Beyond the Use of MRT Internally
To say that the market is ignoring recent developments would be an understatement. Instead of the valuation moving higher on these key events, the stock price since March 3rd is down 15% from $0.33 to $0.28. The current valuation could easily move higher upon ongoing advances. Near-term catalysts include demonstrating MRT at, “semi-commercial” scale, testing peer REEs company material, reclamation opportunities and submitting a Plan of Operations.
Digging a little deeper, it seems reasonable that additional debt capital could be arranged after the $145 million long-term loan. Lenders and strategic partners would take that as a meaningful vote of confidence. Therefore, equity dilution in coming years should be relatively small compared to the hundreds of millions facing most aspiring REE juniors. Debt capital from a friendly lender is increasingly difficult to come by. If the State of Alaska is willing to dole out a $145 million long-term loan in support of this project, what does that suggest about Ucore’s ability to secure the necessary permits and approvals?