NioCorp (TSX:NB - OTCQX:NIOBF - FSE:BR3) is developing North America's only Niobium / Scandium / Titanium project located near Elk Creek, Nebraska. It is the highest grade Niobium project in North America and the largest prospective producer of Scandium in the world. NioCorp has completed resource definition, geohydrology, geotechnical, meteorological, environmental and metallurgical work programs necessary to complete a feasibility study for the project and expects to complete a feasibility study for the project in late 2015
NioCorp recently completed a second Preliminary Economic Assessment (PEA2), which significantly improved project economics as a result of better metallurgical performance and an optimized mine plan. The PEA2 production rates over a 32 year operating life would be 7,490 tonnes per annum (tpa) Ferroniobium, 97 tpa Scandium Trioxide and 23,960 tpa Titanium Dioxide. Scandium production increased 661% versus the original PEA announced in April 2015.
NioCorp aims to be part of the solution for the world's strategic and critical Niobium and Scandium needs. Niobium is a crucial component in high strength, low-alloy steels for bridges and buildings, high pressure oil and gas pipelines, lightweight and fuel efficient cars and is also used in the manufacture of stainless steel, MRI machines, wind turbines and jet engines. Scandium is used as an alloy with aluminum, dramatically increasing strength and weldability while improving corrosion resistance. Its properties are useful in the aerospace and automobile industries, and are critical in advanced fuel cell technologies.
NioCorp’s PEA2 economics were announced on August 4, 2015 and the PEA2 technical report was filed issued on September 4, 2015. PEA2 projects a pre-tax NPV of US$3.07 billion (US$2.30 billion after-tax), a pre-tax IRR of 31.7% (27.6% after-tax), and average pre-tax cash flow of US$438 million per year after upfront capital costs of US$979 million. PEA2 economics were calculated using an 8% discount rate.
Since 2009, Niobium prices have ranged between US$37 and US$43/kg, reflecting its steady growth and stability in the marketplace. Scandium prices are expected to range between US$3,000 - US$4,000/kg through 2023, according to a third party marketing study produced by OnG Commodities LLC. Demand for both Niobium and Scandium is expected to increase over time.