A rare earth elements supply chain in the U.S. is advancing with the announced shipment of Energy Fuels to Neo Performance Materials. Both companies announced this Wednesday that the first container of approximately 15 more is already on its way from the U.S. to Europe.
Firstly, the container that Energy Fuels completed is a 20 tons of mixed rare earth carbonate; that Energy Fuels produced at its White Mesa Mill in Utah. The container is the first one of 15 more expected, that the company will send to Neo Performance Materials’ in Estonia.
Secondly, this milestone advances the creation of a U.S.-to-Europe supply chain of rare earth elements. Consequently, Energy Fuels will keep up the production and treatment of monazite sand; mined in Georgia (U.S.) by Chemours for both the rare earth elements and naturally occurring uranium that it contains.
Thirdly, the new supply chain will begin with monazite sand processed into RE Carbonate at Energy Fuels’ Mill in Utah; as said above. Then, the RE carbonate will be processed by Neo at its Silmet rare earth processing facility in Sillamäe, Estonia; into separated rare earth oxides and other value-added rare earth compounds.
Moreover, Neo is the only commercial producer of separated rare earth oxides in Europe. While the commercial-scale production of RE Carbonate by Energy Fuels; from a U.S. mined rare earth resource positions Energy Fuels as the only company in North America; that currently produces a Monazite-derived, enhanced rare earth material.
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Rare earth elements demand in Europe, Japan and Russia
In addition, the physical delivery of this product also represents the launch of a new, environmentally responsible rare earth supply chain; one that allows for source validation and also tracking from mining through to final end-use applications; for manufacturers in North America, Europe, Japan, and also other nations.
Furthermore, Energy Fuels and Neo agreed and signed a definitive supply agreement; under which companies will maintain the above-mentioned supply chain; but with a focus of using rare earth elements into permanent magnets and other rare earth-based advanced materials.
On the other hand, about the relevance of the supply chain, Constantine Karayannopoulos, Neo’s Chief Executive Officer, said. “This innovative U.S.-to-Europe supply chain will supplement Neo’s existing rare earth supply from our long-time Russian supplier. Indeed, it will also enable Neo to expand value-added rare earth production in Estonia to meet growing demand in Europe for these materials. “
Finally, Mark S. Chalmers, President and CEO of Energy Fuels, concluded. “This supply chain is also very good news for end-users of rare earth products in the U.S., Europe, Japan and elsewhere.”