NioCorp CEO Mark Smith Discusses the Long-Term Fundamentals of Ferroniobium as NioCorp Launches the “Superalloy Blog”
The Superalloy Blog Features Commentary and Insights on Superalloy Materials, Technologies, Applications, and Markets, and is Available on NioCorp’s New Website at NioCorp.com
CENTENNIAL, Colo., Feb. 11, 2019 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- NioCorp Developments Ltd. (“NioCorp” or the “Company”) (TSX: NB; OTCQX: NIOBF) today launched the “Superalloy Blog” on its newly designed corporate website at https://www.niocorp.com/.
The Superalloy Blog’s inaugural article, written by NioCorp CEO and Executive Chairman Mark A. Smith, focuses on the market fundamentals of ferroniobium, one of three critical minerals NioCorp plans to produce at the Elk Creek Superalloy Materials Project in Nebraska.
In his blog commentary, which can be seen here, Mr. Smith writes: “The technology and market fundamentals of ferroniobium, a critical and strategic material vital to many defense and civilian applications, are increasingly compelling to producers, consumers, and government policymakers. This extraordinary and highly versatile superalloy material, which NioCorp plans to produce at its proposed southeast-Nebraska-based Elk Creek Project, is increasingly in the global spotlight."
“As I see it," Mr. Smith writes, "market dynamics for ferroniobium are driven by four core factors: (a) limited geographic diversity of upstream production; (b) increasing use of High-Strength, Low-Alloy ("HSLA") steel in mega-steel infrastructure projects and automotive markets; (c) increasing demand for niobium in non-steel alloy applications, and; (d) the relative demand inelasticity of niobium."
He goes on to elaborate on these factors and how they influence the operation of ferroniobium markets. "How do these factors influence ferroniobium pricing? While ferroniobium does not experience the pricing volatility of other commodities, pricing does move up and down, albeit typically within a relatively narrow pricing band. According to Roskill,1 ferroniobium hovered at levels above USD $40 per kilogram ($/kg), on a contained niobium basis, from 2011 to 2015. Prices softened into the $30s in 2016-2017, largely because of the impact of a stronger U.S. dollar."
"However, pricing has rallied over the past nine months," Mr. Smith wrote. "Argus Metals, which tracks pricing for ferroniobium and a variety of other metals and alloys, recently reported2 that U.S. warehouse pricing of ferroniobium rose last week to a near-10-year high of USD $45.00 – $46.60 per kilogram. That pricing range represents a 36.4% increase from the 2018’s lowest average monthly price of USD $34.17/kg."
“In my view, the fundamentals of ferroniobium coalesce to form an exciting and potentially robust future for this critical and strategic material,” Mr. Smith wrote. “That is one reason why NioCorp is working to bring its planned Elk Creek Superalloy Materials Project online in southeast Nebraska. Once financed, constructed, commissioned, and put into commercial operation, this facility promises to increase the diversity of global ferroniobium supply. That should be good for producers and customers alike.”
Members of the public who would like to receive an email version of installments of NioCorp’s Superalloy Blog can do so by signing up to the Company’s email distribution list here.
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Neither the Toronto Stock Exchange (“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 statements regarding future demand and pricing trends for ferroniobium and other niobium products, the development of new applications for niobium and market acceptance of those applications, the Company’s plans to produce niobium products at its Elk Creek Project, and expected demand for NioCorp’s products. 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 Canadian securities regulators at http://www.sedar.com/ and the SEC at http://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 Roskill news release, March 20, 2018.
2 Argus Metals, February 2019.