Quantum Rare Earth Developments Corp. (CVE:QRE)(OTCQX:QREDF) said Tuesday that its CEO Peter Dickie said in a recent TV interview that the company's Elk Creek niobium project in Nebraska could cut US dependence on imports of the strategic metal.
The interview with the CEONews.Tv financial news network is available at http://www.ceonews.tv/qredf/.
Earlier this month, the company unveiled a significant increase in
the resource estimate for its Elk Creek project in southeastern
Nebraska, with the addition of an indicated resource.
The updated NI 43-101 compliant report, which was prepared by Tetra Tech
Wardrop, added a higher grade indicated resource of 19.3 million tonnes
grading 0.67% niobium (Nb2O5), at a 0.4% niobium cut-off grade, for
129,182 contained niobium oxide tonnes.
Meanwhile, inferred resources increased from 80.1 million tonnes
grading 0.62% niobium in the last estimate in April 2011 to 83.3 million
tonnes grading 0.63% niobium for 523,844 tonnes of contained niobium
In the recent interview, Dickie noted Quantum's Elk Creek project
contains one of North America's largest undeveloped niobium deposits in
terms of grade and tonnage, and is the only primary niobium deposit
under development in the U.S.
The deposit also remains open in three directions, the company added.
International demand for niobium is approximately 100,000 tonnes per
year, produced exclusively from mines in Brazil and one in Canada.
The U.S. imports 100 percent of its annual consumption of around
10,000 tonnes, which has led the U.S. government to move toward
establishing a strategic materials stockpile to protect against
potential supply disruptions, Quantum said.
Dickie emphasized the green technology uses for niobium, including
production of high-strength low-alloy (HSLA) steel for use in the
automotive, structural and pipeline industries.
Niobium alloys are also required by the aerospace industry for high-performance jet engines.
Dickie said that the addition of small amounts of niobium produces
harder, lighter steel, resulting in reduced shipping costs for major
infrastructure projects such as bridges and buildings.
Niobium hardened steel also cuts the weight of steel used in automobiles, resulting in fuel economy savings, he added.
The metal is vital for high-pressure natural gas and oil pipelines,
and in the medical field, where niobium is required in the magnets used
in MRI machines.
Quantum is continuing the development of the niobium deposit in
Nebraska through ongoing metallurgical testing. The company is in
discussions with potential strategic partners to help develop the
project, and undertake the studies necessary for a final production