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AIDEA Bolsters Support for Ucore's Bokan Heavy Rare Earth Element Project 


February 10, 2020
Monday PM

(SitNews) - The Alaska Industrial Development and Export Authority(AIDEA) is the development finance arm of the State of Alaska. AIDEA has financed hundreds of projects around the state from smaller businesses to larger infrastructure development projects.  AIDEA has been involved in mineral development and mining infrastructure financing.

Ucore announced today that AIDEA, with the support of Alaska Governor Michael Dunleavy, recently expressed its renewed and augmented interest in "... working toward the development of a processing plant for rare earth metals in Southeast Alaska and the eventual development of the Bokan rare earth deposit on Prince of Wales Island."

jpg Bokan Mountain located on Prince of Wales Island in Southeast Alaska is the proposed site of a heavy rare earth element mine.

Bokan Mountain located on Prince of Wales Island in Southeast Alaska is the proposed site of a heavy rare earth element mine.
Photo Credit: Susan Karl, USGS

"Ucore is grateful to AIDEA for its continued support of our efforts toward project development in Southeast Alaska," said Jim McKenzie, President & CEO of Ucore.  

McKenzie said, "The $145 million AIDEA bonds authorization by the Alaska Legislature for the Bokan Rare Earth Project, and the recent notification regarding potential AIDEA conduit bond financing for the Alaska SMC uniquely positions Ucore in its pursuit to advance these projects.  The current U.S. government initiatives to liberate North America from Chinese dependence on REEs require an element of self-funding that the AIDEA financing may provide or contribute to, and it distinguishes the potential development of Bokan apart from other Heavy REE projects."

"Ucore is embarking on a series of incremental engineering and technical development activities to bolster its knowledge of Bokan and to enhance its capabilities regarding the planned Alaska SMC separation and purification facility," stated Mike Schrider, COO of Ucore.  

Schrider said, "AIDEA's potential financing assistance will be fundamental as we look to aggregate these various technical initiatives within the eventual feasibility study that is ultimately required for the development of the Bokan mineral resource."

 The recent AIDEA Letter (pdf) also stated:

"According to media reports, the U.S. Army recently sent out memos to a select group of companies that are advancing potential U.S.-based rare earth processing plants requesting information on the costs to develop separation facilities that can produce heavy rare earths.  The Army is considering funding up to two-thirds of the costs required to establish at least one domestic facility which can separate these heavy rare earths into the individual metals needed for military hardware.

AIDEA understands Ucore was one of the recipients of the U.S. Army memorandum and therefore the authority wanted to express its continued interest in providing financing for Ucore's Bokan project and its proposed development of a REEs processing plant located in Alaska.

In 2014, the Alaska Legislature, in Senate Bill 99, authorized AIDEA, at its discretion, to issue up to $145 million dollars in AIDEA bonds to finance the infrastructure and construction costs of the Bokan-Dotson Ridge rare earth element project, which is owned by Ucore.

In addition to the bonds authorized by the Alaska State Legislature, AIDEA also has the ability to provide financing to Ucore by issuing conduit bonds to potentially support financing the construction of a processing plant. Conduit bonds are issued on the basis of the revenue produced by a financed project. AIDEA has issued conduit bonds for a variety of projects, and can issue this type of bond based on the approval of its Board.

We would be glad to provide the U.S. Army with any additional information it may need about AIDEA finance programs which could apply to Ucore."

According to Ucore, the prospective AIDEA-provided financing is an expected integral component of Ucore's planned objective of developing: (i) the individual heavy rare earth element (" HREE")  and co-products processing and separation plant, the Alaska Strategic Metals Complex (the " Alaska SMC") which may commence with alternative U.S. or U.S. allied feedstocks; and (ii) its planned ultimate source of rare earth element (" REE") feedstock, the Bokan mineral resource.

Quoting a news release, AIDEA's support of these two components of Ucore's M³ Plan is important to Ucore as the Company seeks additional project funding through recent U.S. Government initiatives specifically devoted to enhancing the domestic supply, separation, and purification of individual rare earth oxides over the next decade. These initiatives may provide federal funding opportunities to domestic entities that can raise from one-third to one-half of a project's total required capital funding while meeting the requirements set forth by the U.S. Government.


On the Web:

Bokan Field Project Underway
SitNews - July 21, 2011

Road Access to Niblack and Bokan MInes Would Assist Southeast Alaska's Ecomony
SitNews - January 31, 2013

Ketchikan Man Appointed to Ucore Rare Metals' Advisory Board
SitNews - February 18, 2014

Bill of Significant Importance to Southeast Alaska's Economy Passed on Final Day
SitNews - April 26, 2014

Ketchikan Selected As Site for Ucore's 1st U.S. Strategic Metals Complex
SitNews - February 01, 2018

Ucore Sets 2020 Production Start Date for Ketchikan SMC
SitNews - March 05, 2019

Before Year Ended, Ucore Moved Closer to Construction of Strategic Metal Complex
SitNews - January 08, 2019

Ucore Hosts Senators Murkowski & Sullivan, Submits Proposition to US Department of Defense
SitNews - August 26, 2019

Alaska Governor Nominates Ucore's Bokan as a High Priority Infrastructure Project
SitNews - September 02, 2019


Edited By Mary Kauffman, SitNews

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