Rare Earths: Energy Fuels Acquires Base Resources to Form “Global Leader”

by | 23. Apr 2024 - 09:21 | Economy

The acquisition is a key element in securing feedstock for Energy Fuels’ White Mesa rare earth processing facility in Utah.

The U.S.-based uranium and rare earths producer Energy Fuels will acquire the Australian rare earth miner Base Resources for $240 million (A$375 million), creating a “global leader” in the industry. According to a press statement by Energy Fuels, the transaction will enable the company to become globally competitive by incorporating quality raw material from Base Resources’ Toliara rare earth project in Madagascar into its supply chain, creating a vertically integrated rare earth production (PDF). Toliara is in the middle of its developing phase and is expected to commence production in 2027. The mineral concentrate is set to be processed in Energy Fuels’ White Mesa Mill in Utah, the only operating processing facility for uranium and vanadium in the U.S., which is capable of processing rare earth elements. The company added that the material from Toliara will eventually supply a large portion of White Mesa. Energy Fuels also said it expects Toliara to rival global competitors in terms of costs, including those in China, the market leader of rare earths.

From Uranium to Rare Earth Elements

Energy Fuels was originally focused solely on uranium but has since expanded into the rare earth business. In 2021, the company made headlines by partnering with Neo Performance Materials to create a new U.S.-to-Europe rare earth supply chain. This was followed by announcing plans to expand operations at its White Mill facility and incorporate the final refining steps of the rare earth value chain. To secure feedstock for the plant, Energy Fuels has continuously signed new deals in the last few years. For example, a joint venture with Astron, the Donald Rare Earth and Mineral Sands Project in Australia, is set to start production in 2026. In addition, Energy Fuels plans to mine rare earths itself in its Bahia project in Brazil, which is currently in the exploration phase with no targeted production start set.

Photo: iStock/Sunshine Seeds

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