CENTENNIAL, Colo., Sept. 07, 2016 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — NioCorp Developments Ltd. (“NioCorp” or the “Company”) (TSX:NB) (OTCQX:NIOBF) (FSE:BR3) is pleased to announce the successful conclusion of five metallurgical pilot plant runs that have tested the Company’s Scandium, Niobium, and Titanium production operations under continuous conditions. These pilot plants were constructed and operated at the SGS facility in Lakefield, Ontario.
Two of the pilots involved separate one-week runs of a Scandium Solvent Extraction Circuit, a conventional technology that would be used in the Company’s flagship Elk Creek Project production process to separate and concentrate Scandium. The first pilot was completed between July 18 and July 23, 2016, and the second pilot was competed between August 8 and August 12, 2016. Scandium losses were less than 1% when averaged over the two weeks of operation, representing excellent performance for a solvent extraction operation. These results will be combined with data from upstream and downstream metallurgical results to determine, through follow-on testing, the ultimate recovery of Scandium to a final commercial product.
In addition to the Scandium Solvent Extraction Pilot, the Company completed two pilot runs of its Acid Baking technology from July 25 to July 29 and from August 15 to August 20, 2016. The Acid Bake operation dissolves Niobium and Titanium for subsequent recovery in the Company’s Niobium and Titanium production operations.
Finally, the Niobium and Titanium production operations (Nb/Ti Pilot) were piloted between August 29 and September 2, 2016. The Nb/Ti Pilot successfully produced kilogram quantities of Niobium that will be used in the final testing of the Company’s Ferroniobium production operation, along with kilogram quantities of a Titanium product that will be evaluated for prospective sales.
“I am extremely pleased with the rapid progress that has been made in completing numerous metallurgical pilot plants over the past two months,” said Scott Honan, President of Elk Creek Resources Corporation, the wholly-owned NioCorp subsidiary that is developing the Elk Creek Project. “The pilot plants have demonstrated our ability to run key Scandium, Niobium, and Titanium production processes on a continuous basis, and have provided critical data that will allow our engineering design team to complete design work in these areas of the Elk Creek Project.”
The Company is now proceeding toward its final pilot plants necessary to complete the Elk Creek Project Feasibility Study, including those related to regenerating and recycling acid used in the Elk Creek Project production process and additional Scandium recovery and purification operations.
On Behalf of the Board of Directors,
Executive Chairman, CEO, and Director
Qualified Persons: Eric Larochelle, B.Eng of SMH Process Innovation, a Qualified Person as defined by National Instrument 43-101, is responsible for the Elk Creek hydrometallurgical program and has read and approved the technical information contained in this news release.
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NioCorp is developing a superalloy materials project in Southeast Nebraska that will aim to produce Niobium, Scandium, and Titanium. Niobium is used to produce superalloys as well as High Strength, Low Alloy (“HSLA”) steel, which is a lighter, stronger steel used in automotive, structural, and pipeline applications. Scandium is a superalloy material that can be combined with Aluminum to make alloys with increased strength and improved corrosion resistance. Scandium also is a critical component of advanced solid oxide fuel cells. Titanium is used in various superalloys and is a key component of pigments used in paper, paint and plastics and is also used for aerospace applications, armor and medical implants.
Cautionary Note Regarding Forward-Looking Statements
Neither TSX nor its Regulation Services Provider (as that term is defined in the policies of the TSX) accepts responsibility for the adequacy or accuracy of this document. Certain statements contained in this document may constitute forward-looking statements, including but not limited to statements regarding potential future production at the Elk Creek Project, anticipated products to be produced at the Elk Creek Project, the future critical and strategic nature of Niobium and Scandium, , the timing, completion and results of a feasibility study for the Elk Creek Project. Such forward-looking statements are based upon NioCorp’s reasonable expectations and business plan at the date hereof, which are subject to change depending on economic, political and competitive circumstances and contingencies. Readers are cautioned that such forward-looking statements involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors that may cause a change in such assumptions and the actual outcomes and estimates to be materially different from those estimated or anticipated future results, achievements or position expressed or implied by those forward-looking statements. Risks, uncertainties and other factors that could cause NioCorp’s plans or prospects to change include changes in demand for and price of commodities (such as fuel and electricity) and currencies; changes or disruptions in the securities markets; legislative, political or economic developments; the need to obtain permits and comply with laws and regulations and other regulatory requirements; the possibility that actual results of work may differ from projections/expectations or may not realize the perceived potential of NioCorp’s projects; risks of accidents, equipment breakdowns and labor disputes or other unanticipated difficulties or interruptions; the possibility of cost overruns or unanticipated expenses in development programs; operating or technical difficulties in connection with exploration, mining or development activities; the speculative nature of mineral exploration and development, including the risks of diminishing quantities of grades of reserves and resources; and the risks involved in the exploration, development and mining business. NioCorp disclaims any intention or obligation to update or revise any forward-looking statements whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise.
The Elk Creek Project is exploratory in nature and investors should not assume that mineral resources at the project will ever be converted to SEC Industry Guide 7 or NI 43-101 mineral reserves with demonstrated economic and legal viability.
CONTACT: For More Information: Contact Jim Sims, VP of External Affairs, NioCorp Developments Ltd., 720-639-4650, email@example.com