Energy Fuels Engages Leading Consultant To Support Development Of Rare Earth Separation At White Mesa Mill In Utah

Energy Fuels Inc. (NYSE: UUUU) (TSX: EFR) (“Energy Fuels” or the “Company”) is pleased to announce that it has engaged Carester SAS (“Carester”) to prepare a scoping study for the development of a solvent extraction (“SX”) rare earth element (“REE”) separation circuit at the Company’s White Mesa Mill in Utah. Based in Lyon, France, Carester is one of the world’s leading global consultants on rare earth supply chains, with expertise in designing, constructing, operating and optimizing REE production facilities globally.
Carester has been engaged to support Energy Fuels’ planned development of REE separation capabilities at the White Mesa Mill, utilizing the Mill’s existing equipment and infrastructure to the extent applicable, to create a continuous, integrated and optimized rare earth production sequence. Carester’s scoping work will include an evaluation of the Mill’s current monazite leaching process, preparation of an REE separation flow sheet, capital and operating expense estimates, incorporation of new technologies where applicable, and recommendations on equipment vendors.
On March 1, 2021, Energy Fuels and Neo Performance Materials (“Neo”) announced the joint launch of a U.S.-Europe rare earth supply chain. With today’s announcement, the Company is now taking another important step toward launching a fully integrated “mine to market” U.S. rare earth supply chain in the coming years.
The Company is currently purchasing a minimum of 2,500 tons per year of natural monazite sands (“Monazite”) from Chemours’ Georgia (USA) heavy mineral sand operations. The Company is also in the process of securing additional supplies of Monazite from the U.S. and internationally, with an initial goal of processing approximately 15,000 tons of Monazite per annum for the recovery of REEs and uranium. Beginning in late-March, Energy Fuels began ramping up processing of Monazite at the White Mesa Mill, to produce a clean, mixed REE carbonate (“Carbonate”), an intermediate REE product ready for separation, the next step in a fully integrated REE supply chain. Energy Fuels intends to sell this intermediate product to an REE separation facility in Europe owned by Neo.
As previously announced, Energy Fuels is evaluating the potential to produce separated REE oxides, REE metals, REE alloys, and other value-added REE products at the White Mesa Mill (or nearby), with the intent of creating a fully integrated U.S. REE supply chain in the coming years. Engaging Carester to prepare a scoping study represents the next step in Energy Fuels’ development of these capabilities.
Carester’s REE separation and purification techniques utilize proven liquid-to-liquid SX extraction processes that have been successfully deployed around the world to produce REE products from feeds including Monazite. Carester’s team includes several individuals with significant experience processing Monazite for the recovery of REEs in France, China and elsewhere. The White Mesa Mill has utilized SX technology to produce uranium and vanadium products since the facility was commissioned in 1980. Therefore, the Company believes that Carester’s REE extraction processes can be incorporated into the Mill’s existing infrastructure in an efficient and cost-effective manner.
“Energy Fuels is absolutely focused on building fully integrated rare earth supply capabilities at our White Mesa Mill in the coming years, and we are pleased to have Carester on the team to support our efforts,” stated Mark S. Chalmers, President and CEO of Energy Fuels. “Since we began evaluating the potential to produce rare earth products in late-2019, Energy Fuels has partnered with only the best global experts at every opportunity, and the agreement with Carester is just another example of how our Company is advancing our strategy on the complete REE production sequence. The Carester team is widely recognized as one of the world’s foremost authorities in producing separated rare earth oxides and other value added rare earth products. Rare earth extraction, separation and purification can be complex. We believe that our extensive in-house processing experience, combined with Carester’s expertise, places the Company in an excellent position to successfully and cost-effectively help to restore critical domestic rare earth capabilities in the USA at the White Mesa Mill.
“As more clean energy and advanced technologies are deployed, more rare earth products will be required. However, technologies are only clean if every step in the supply chain from the mine to the final consumer product is clean. An electric vehicle is not ‘green’ if the raw materials that go into the vehicle are not responsibly produced. The U.S. has the highest standards for safety, efficiency, and environmental responsibility in the world when it comes to mining, processing, refining and manufacturing. Energy Fuels is working towards establishing a ‘clean’ and ‘green’ U.S. option for manufacturers who demand the highest standards in their rare earth raw materials.”
About Energy Fuels: 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 is in the process of ramping-up to commercial production of 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, and has the ability to produce vanadium when market conditions warrant, as well as REE Carbonate from various uranium-bearing ores. The Nichols Ranch ISR Project is currently on standby and has a licensed capacity of 2 million pounds of U3O8 per year. The Alta Mesa ISR Project is also currently on standby. 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,”