ELK CREEK – NioCorp Superalloy Materials released a new video Monday regarding the completion of its feasibility study.
NioCorp Chairman Mark Smith and Elk Creek Resources President Scott Honan discuss the goals of the study and the next steps for the project in the 18-minute video .
Smith said the study has “de-risked” the project and produced information on constructability that can help financial institutions and governments make decisions about loans and investments in the project.
Honan said NioCorp began working with the US Army Corps of Engineers and state regulators in 2014 and has the permits in hand to build the plant and most of the outside infrastructure.
He said many one-on-one conversations at people’s kitchen tables, have also made it clear there is local support.
Honan: “I would say without question the people in southeast Nebraska are just fantastic to work with. They are very responsive, they are very supportive and they are anxious to see this project go to the next stage.”
Smith said the project has evolved during the feasibility process. He said forecasts for the production of scandium have increased, while there has been less focus on the production of titanium. He said the recovery of niobium has been balanced with capital cost.
There were also innovations to reduce the reliance on outside materials, so there is no need of a railroad spur. The plant will still need electrical and natural gas utilities extended to the area.
Honan said a 33-mile water line from the plant to the Missouri River is also being pursued to de-water the ore. He said the deep water has been a challenge for minning, but also a benefit.
Honan: “Having that water is actually a bit of blessing for the project because we can use that water in our process. We can also use the water to make drinking water for our folks, so we don’t have to draw on local water supplies that supply, for instance, Johnson and Pawnee counties.”
Honan said the pumped water will be slightly salty, but its entrance to the Missouri River has been engineered in such a way that the water will meet all state standards for the river’s water quality within a short distance.