NioCorp Developments Ltd has executed a contract with Zachry Group to develop a cost for the surface facilities associated with NioCorp’s Elk Creek critical minerals project in Nebraska, USA.
The contract represents the first phase of engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contracting for the $1.2 billion project, the company says.
NioCorp had previously selected Zachry, one of the world’s leading turnkey engineering, construction, maintenance, turnaround and fabrication companies, as its EPC firm for the project’s surface facilities.
“We are very pleased to take this important next step with Zachry as it positions NioCorp to advance to a construction start following receipt of sufficient project financing,” Mark Smith, Chairman and CEO of NioCorp, said. “Zachry is a highly respected company with an excellent track record of success in large projects such as ours, and I am pleased to continue our partnership with Zachry as we work together to bring the Elk Creek Project to commercial reality.”
Scott Honan, NioCorp’s Chief Operating Officer, added: “Zachry has a large craft workforce and a strong presence in Nebraska. Together with our long relationship with the Zachry team, this makes for a great fit with the Elk Creek project. Having spent time at Zachry’s offices and multiple project sites, I am confident that Zachry can execute their scope of work on our project in a safe, timely, and cost-effective manner.”
Ralph Biediger, EPC President, Zachry Group, said: “We are excited to work with NioCorp to support the development of critical minerals that will help the United States transition to a lower-carbon economy. We look forward to bringing our decades of EPC experience to bear on this vitally important project and continuing our long-term presence in Nebraska.”
A 2022 feasibility study outlined a project able to process 36.7 Mt of of ore over a 38-year life of mine to produce 171,140 t of niobium in the form of ferroniobium, 3,676 t of Sc2O3 and 431,793 t of TiO2. Rare earths have been added to the mineral resource, and the indicated resource contains 632,900 t of total rare earth oxides.