Ucore Bolsters Management Team; Sets the Stage to Initiate U.S. Rare Earths Independence
Halifax, Nova Scotia--(Newsfile Corp. - June 17, 2020) - Ucore Rare Metals Inc. (TSXV: UCU) (OTCQX: UURAF) ("Ucore" or the "Company") is pleased to provide the following information with respect to senior management appointments, in addition to the implementation of its MINE to METAL to MARKET plan of strategic actions (the "M³ Plan").
Management Team Appointments
With the recent integration of the Company's acquisition of Innovation Metals Corp. ("IMC") and its proprietary RapidSX™ technology for the separation and purification of critical metals, including rare-earth elements ("REEs"), lithium ("Li"), nickel ("Ni") and cobalt ("Co"), Ucore is preparing itself to serve its shareholders as a company that is: (i) on the threshold of the first phase of production related to its M3 Plan and associated revenue; and (ii) through RapidSX™, potentially expanding into battery-material supply chains, in addition to REEs.
Dr. Kurt Forrester - Vice President, Metallurgy
Ucore is very pleased to announce the appointment of Chartered Chemical Engineer and Chartered Professional Metallurgist Dr. Kurt Forrester, CEng, MIChemE, MAusIMM(CP) as the Company's Vice President of Metallurgy.
Dr. Gareth Hatch, CEng, FRSA, FIMMM, FIET, CEO of IMC and CTO and Director of Ucore stated, "Kurt's impressive skill set, experience and expertise will be instrumental as we commercialize the RapidSX™ separation technology platform for REEs, Li, Ni, Co, et al.; develop the Alaska SMC, and in parallel, progress through the feasibility study for the Bokan-Dotson Ridge Rare Earth Element Project."
During his 15-year career, Dr. Forrester has been professionally engaged as an engineering consultant in the metals and minerals, environmental and applied-research domains. His work includes process development, feasibility assessment, as well as detailed engineering design. Dr. Forrester has a broad experience base across several commodities including REEs and industrial minerals. A two-time graduate of the University of Sydney, Dr. Forrester holds a BEng degree (First-Class Honours) in Chemical Engineering and a PhD in Engineering.
Ty Dinwoodie - President
Ucore is also very pleased to announce the appointment of Ty Dinwoodie as the new President of Ucore. A senior corporate strategic advisor and marketing professional with an extensive background in market and industry analysis for the global critical-minerals/critical-materials sectors, Mr. Dinwoodie specializes in Li-ion battery materials (Li, Ni, graphite, Co) and REEs - with a particular focus on North American security of supply and downstream transformational installed capacity.
"Ucore welcomes Ty as a valued new addition to the leadership team," stated Pat Ryan, P.Eng., Ucore Chairman and Interim CEO. "Ty brings to Ucore a wealth of upstream and downstream REE and other critical-materials technology experience. He has served as an effective executive officer and senior advisor for several private and public technology and advanced materials companies - including IMC - in North America, Europe and Australia."
Previously, Mr. Dinwoodie served as President and Corporate Secretary of TSXV-listed Alabama Graphite Corp. prior to arranging, negotiating and overseeing the company's acquisition by a NASDAQ-listed company in 2018. He also served as Chief Marketing Officer for additive-manufacturing metal-powders producer Equispheres Inc., where he was instrumental in the company's founding, development of its business strategy and commercialization of its proprietary atomization technology.
Mr. Dinwoodie is the Chairman of Benchmark Mineral Intelligence's annual Benchmark Summit in Washington D.C., sits on the Board of Directors of the National Alliance for Advanced Technology Batteries ("NAATBatt International") and is an active member of the United States Energy Association ("USEA"), the American Society of Mechanical Engineers ("ASME"), the Governance Professionals of Canada ("GPC"), the Canadian Investor Relations Institute ("CIRI"), and the U.S. based National Investor Relations Institute ("NIRI"). Mr. Dinwoodie studied economics at McMaster University and physics at Laurentian University.
Search for New Permanent CEO
As announced on June 15, 2020, the Company's Board of Directors is leading a search for a permanent CEO for Ucore, with this process expected to be completed in the coming months.
U.S. REE Supply-Chain Development
"Ucore is highly encouraged by and supportive of recent developments within the U.S. Federal Government ("USG") to enhance REE development funding within the United States," said Pat Ryan. "Ucore is in the midst of its strategic plan to establish the core of the U.S. REE supply-chain resurgence through critical separation-technology deployment, the development of the Alaska Strategic Metals Complex ("SMC"), the parallel progression of the Bokan-Dotson Ridge Rare Earth Element Project and the collaboration of significant industry participants through all phases of the REE supply chain. Ucore's M³ Plan is significantly enhanced by the demonstrated pilot-scale capabilities of IMC's RapidSX™ technology, with a clear path to commercialization and a formidable business strategy with potentially significant and diverse financing opportunities."
"The Company is extremely pleased with the USG's increasing determination to fund and assist with the development of a U.S. based REE supply chain," added Mike Schrider, P.E., Vice-President & COO of Ucore. "However, although Ucore is actively pursuing USG assistance, the Company is not dependent on prospective USG participation to see the Company's plans come to fruition. Ucore is privately funding several required precursor initiatives to achieve its stated goals and the Company remains in discussions with the Alaska Industrial Development and Export Authority ("AIDEA") to include an Alaska-centric solution to U.S. rare earth independence from China."
Engagement of J.A. Green & Company
Ucore's efforts in Washington D.C. are spearheaded by the engagement of government-relations firm J.A. Green & Company, led by well-known strategic-materials advocate Jeff Green. Dr. Hatch is an advisor to J.A. Green & Company and has been working with Mr. Green for more than 10 years.
Recently, Mr. Green offered his thoughts to Defense News regarding an unprecedented suggestion by the Pentagon to raise spending limits under the Defense Production Act ("DPA"). The legislative proposal, which was submitted to the U.S. Congress for consideration in the upcoming National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2021, would allow the U.S. Department of Defense ("DoD") to invest up to US$350 million to address each of the five REE supply-chain node shortfalls identified by the five REE Presidential Determinations issued in July 2019. The following is an excerpt from the Defense News article "Pentagon legislation aims to end dependence on China for rare earth minerals."
"To me, this is the biggest thing that has happened to rare earths in a decade," Jeffery Green, a defense industry consultant and advocate for government intervention on rare earth materials, said Monday. "The policy shift is the government realizing they have to put serious bucks into this."
Mr. Dinwoodie stated, "With the recent acquisition of IMC, the RapidSX™ technology, the Company's enhanced management team, the closing of our recent fully subscribed $2.8 million financing, and its burgeoning relationships with major strategic partners, Ucore has uniquely positioned itself to build an independent U.S. REE supply chain. We look forward to updating our investors and stakeholders on multiple technical and business-development initiatives over the coming weeks and months."
About Ucore Rare Metals Inc.
Ucore is focused on rare and critical metals resources, extraction and beneficiation technologies with potential for production, growth, and scalability. The Company has a 100% ownership stake in the Bokan-Dotson Ridge Rare Earth Project. Ucore's vision and plan is to transition to become a leading advanced technology company that provides mineral separation products and services to the mining and mineral extraction industry. This vision includes the development of the Alaska SMC in Southeast Alaska and the development of the Company's rare earth minerals property located at Bokan Mountain in Alaska.
Ucore is listed on the TSX Venture Exchange under the trading symbol "UCU" and in the United States on the OTC Markets' OTCQX® Best Market under the ticker symbol "UURAF". For further information, please visit www.ucore.com.
About Innovation Metals Corp.
IMC has developed the proprietary RapidSX™ process, for the low-cost separation and purification of REEs, Ni, Co, Li and other technology metals, via an accelerated form of solvent extraction. IMC is commercializing this approach for a number of metals, to help enable mining and metal-recycling companies to compete in today's global marketplace. IMC is a wholly owned subsidiary of Ucore Rare Metals Inc.
For more information, please visit www.innovationmetals.com.
This press release includes certain statements that may be deemed "forward-looking statements". All statements in this release (other than statements of historical facts) that address future business development and/or acquisition activities (including any related required financings), timelines, litigation outcomes, events or developments that the Company expects, are forward looking statements. Although the Company believes the expectations expressed in such forward-looking statements are based on reasonable assumptions, such statements are not guarantees of future performance or results and actual results or developments may differ materially from those in forward-looking statements. In regard to Ucore's M3 Plan of Action and the disclosure in the "About Ucore" section above, the Company has assumed that it will be able to procure or retain additional partners and/or suppliers, in addition to Innovation Metals Corp., as suppliers for Ucore's expected future Alaska SMC. Ucore has also assumed that sufficient external funding will be found to prepare a new National Instrument 43-101 technical report that demonstrates that the Bokan Project is feasible and economically viable for the production of both REE and co-product mineral materials and metals and the then prevailing market prices based upon assumed customer off-take agreements. Ucore has also assumed that sufficient external funding will be found to develop the specific engineering plans for the Alaska SMC and its construction. Factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from those in forward-looking statements include, without limitation: IMC failing to protect its intellectual property rights in RapidSX™; RapidSX™ failing to demonstrate commercial viability in large commercial-scale applications; Ucore not being able to procure additional key partners or suppliers for the Alaska SMC; Ucore not being able to raise sufficient funds to fund the specific design and construction of the Alaska SMC; adverse capital-market conditions; unexpected due-diligence findings; unexpected or adverse outcomes in the currently outstanding litigation matters between Ucore and IBC Advanced Technologies, Inc.; the emergence of alternative superior metallurgy and metal-separation technologies; the inability of Ucore and/or IMC to retain its key staff members; a change in the legislation in Alaska and/or in the support expressed by AIDEA regarding the development of Bokan and/or the Alaska SMC; the availability and procurement of any required interim and/or long-term financing that may be required; and general economic, market or business conditions.
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