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IBC and NioCorp Announce Successful Completion of Initial Casting Campaign for Aluminum-Scandium Alloys(December 28, 2017)
WILMINGTON, Mass., Dec. 28, 2017 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- IBC Advanced Alloys (TSX-V:IB) (OTCQB:IAALF) (“IBC”) and NioCorp Developments Ltd. (TSX:NB) (OTCQX:NIOBF) (FSE:BR3) (“NioCorp”) (collectively the “Companies”) today announced the successful manufacture of several aluminum-scandium alloy ingots. These test pours occurred at IBC’s Wilmington, Massachusetts Engineered Materials facility using scandium purchased commercially by NioCorp.
The ingots, representing a range of scandium content, will now undergo chemical analysis and other metallurgical testing to confirm the microstructure and performance of the alloys. This testing is the basis for commercializing Aluminum-Scandium alloys.
“I am very pleased with the successful execution by Chris Huskamp and his team of this initial production campaign, and we look forward to reviewing the results of follow-on testing to confirm material specifications,” said Major General Duncan (“David”) Heinz (USMC, ret.), IBC’s President and CEO. “This is a significant milestone in our joint development effort with NioCorp to seed the market in order to unlock the enormous value of scandium in a wide range of high-performance applications across multiple markets.”
“This is an exciting launch of what could be a new phase of commercial operations for both IBC and for NioCorp,” said Mark A. Smith, who serves as Chair of IBC’s Board and is Executive Chair and CEO of NioCorp. “Developing high-performance alloys and processes that incorporate metals such as scandium requires significant expertise and know-how. The Board and I look forward to Chris’ team continuing to advance this effort toward a potential launch of new commercial operations.”
Alloys that incorporate scandium have been produced for more than 50 years for a wide variety of applications in the defense and civilian sectors. When combined with aluminum and other metals, for example, scandium helps to make a very strong and lightweight alloy material that can deliver significant performance enhancements, weight savings, fuel efficiency, and air emissions reductions in transportation systems. The former Soviet Union reportedly used scandium-bearing alloys in high-performance jet fighters and in other military aerospace systems.
However, despite the many well-understood benefits of scandium, widespread use of the metal has been limited by severely constrained global supply chains. No single dedicated mine in the world today currently produces scandium, and only 10-15 tonnes of scandium oxide material is estimated to be produced globally. OnG Commodities LLC has estimated latent demand for scandium at several hundred tonnes per year in the aerospace sector alone.1
Mr. Huskamp, who leads IBC’s team of metallurgists and alloy production specialists, is President of IBC’s Engineered Materials Division, which currently manufactures high-performance beryllium-aluminum alloy parts for a number of systems in both the defense and civilian sectors. Mr. Huskamp is a former Boeing Associate Technical Fellow in advanced metallic processes, and is credited as a named co-inventor of two patents regarding scandium-bearing aluminum alloys.
NioCorp is currently developing the Elk Creek Superalloy Materials Project, an advanced materials processing facility planned for southeast Nebraska that expects to produce just over 100 tonnes per year of scandium trioxide, as well as niobium and titanium products. Such large-scale production of scandium in Nebraska would establish the United States as a global superpower of scandium.
On Behalf of the Board of Directors:
David “Duncan” Heinz, President, CEO and Director
@IBCAdvanced $IB $IAALF #Beralcast #beryllium #F35
@NioCorp $NB $NIOBF $BR3 #Niobium #Scandium #ElkCreek
IBC is a leading beryllium and copper advanced alloys company serving a variety of industries such as defense, aerospace, automotive, telecommunications, precision manufacturing, and others. IBC's Copper Alloys Division manufactures and distributes a variety of copper alloys as castings and forgings, including beryllium copper, chrome copper, and aluminum bronze. IBC's Engineered Materials Division makes the Beralcast® family of alloys, which can be precision cast and are used in an increasing number of defense, aerospace, and other systems, including the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter. IBC has production facilities in Indiana, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, and Missouri. The Company's common shares are traded on the TSX Venture Exchange under the symbol "IB" and the OTCQB under the symbol "IAALF".
Cautionary Note Regarding Forward-Looking Statements for IBC
The TSX Venture Exchange has not reviewed and does not accept responsibility for the adequacy of this news release. Neither TSX Venture Exchange nor its Regulation Services Provider (as that term is defined in the policies of the TSX Venture Exchange) accepts responsibility for the adequacy or accuracy of this release. This disclosure contains certain forward-looking statements that involve substantial known and unknown risks and uncertainties, certain of which are beyond the Company's control including: the impact of general economic conditions in the areas in which the Company or its customers operate, including the semiconductor manufacturing and oil and gas industries, changes in laws and regulations including the adoption of new environmental laws and regulations and changes in how they are interpreted and enforced, increased competition, the lack of availability of qualified personnel or management, limited availability of raw materials, fluctuations in commodity prices, foreign exchange or interest rates, stock market volatility and obtaining required approvals of regulatory authorities. In addition, there are risks and uncertainties associated with manufacturing activities therefore the Company's future results, performance or achievements could differ materially from those expressed in these forward-looking statements. All statements included in this press release that address activities, events or developments that the Company expects, believes or anticipates will or may occur in the future are forward-looking statements. These statements are based on assumptions made by the Company based on its experience, perception of historical trends, current conditions, expected future developments and other factors it believes are appropriate in the circumstances.
NioCorp is developing a superalloy materials project in Southeast Nebraska that will 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 for NioCorp
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 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, anticipated costs of production at the Elk Creek Project being competitive, and anticipated competitive advantages. 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 risks related to the Company's ability to operate as a going concern; risks related to the Company's requirement of significant additional capital; changes in demand for and price of commodities (such as fuel and electricity) and currencies; changes in economic valuations of the Project, such as Net Present Value calculations, 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 and the risks set forth in the Company’s filings with the SEC at www.sec.gov. 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.
1 This data is part of a scandium market assessment prepared for NioCorp by OnG Commodities LLC in April 2017. The data is incorporated in NioCorp’s December 2017 Revised Elk Creek Project Feasibility Study and is available for download on www.SEDAR.ca