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VITAL and Ucore execute MOU for supply of rare earth carbonate

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Global Mining Review,

Vital Metals Ltd has signed a non-binding memorandum of understanding (MOU) with Ucore Rare Metals Inc. for a supply of rare earth carbonate.

Ucore is focused on developing rare earth processing technologies through its ALASKA2023 project, with the goal of fostering an independent American REE supply chain and aims to secure a US-allied REE feedstock source. The ALASKA2023 project focuses on developing a Strategic Metals Complex (SMC) heavy rare earth element (HREE) and light rare earth element (LREE) separation plant in Southeast Alaska, using Innovation Metal Corp.’s (IMC) proprietary RapidSX™ critical metals separation technology platform. On 7 October 2021 Ucore announced the execution of a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) with Alaska’s Southeast Conference for the funding of the Alaska Strategic Metals Complex (Alaska SMC).

Ucore’s Alaska SMC plant will have an initial 2000 tpy TREO separation and purification capacity, with a scheduled commencement date in 1H24. The Ucore Alaska SMC plant is expected to have an expanded capacity to at least 5000 tpy TREO by 2026.

Vital Metals’ Managing Director Geoff Atkins said the MOU with Ucore was an important step in Vital positioning itself as a key supplier of rare earth feedstock in the North American critical minerals supply chain.

“This agreement is an important and exciting entrance into the North American downstream rare earth supply chain. We are particularly excited that, similarly with REEtec’s position in the European market, Ucore represents the most advanced new rare earth separation company entering into the North American market. To reach this agreement to ensure Ucore’s Alaska SMC has a guaranteed supply of rare earth feedstock to service the North American market is an important milestone in delivering Vital’s business plan. This agreement, together with our binding off-take agreement with REEtec, will help position Vital as a critical supplier of rare earth feedstock into both the European and North American markets. We are continuing to grow our operations in Canada and are well-placed to supply both geographies with the complete suite of rare earths.”

“We look forward to further developing our relationship with Ucore with a view to finalising a definitive off-take agreement and the commencement of supply of feedstock for the Alaska SMC.”

Pat Ryan, P.Eng., Ucore Chairman and CEO, comments:

“Vital Metals is the first rare earth producer in Canada and Ucore is extremely pleased to be associated with a company that is on the leading edge of developing a North American rare earth element supply chain.”

“This partnership with Vital is an integral step in the development of the Alaska SMC, as Ucore continues to cultivate relationships with potential like-minded upstream and downstream partners in the evolving Western world market; with the ultimate goal of ensuring that original equipment manufacturers transforming to an electrified economy continue to have access to a comprehensive North American raw material and finished goods supply chain.”

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