May 21, 2018
NioCorp Developments Ltd. (TSX: NB, OTCQX: NIOBF), a developer of superalloy metals, has awarded a major contract to Rockwell Automation (NYSE: ROK) to engineer, design and procure process automation and instrumentation for NioCorp’s proposed critical minerals, mining and processing facility in Elk Creek, Nebraska.
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Three superalloy metals – niobium, scandium and titanium – are expected to be produced by the facility as early as 2021. These critical materials are used in the aerospace, defense, automotive, clean energy, commercial aviation and mega-infrastructure sectors. Generally, these superalloys enable increased strength and lighter weight in transportation and other systems, leading to better fuel efficiency and lower greenhouse gas and other air emissions, according to NioCorp.
“We selected Rockwell Automation and its partners to automate our process equipment and power control systems with the goals of optimizing material handling and processing, increasing efficiencies and reducing time to market,” said Mark Smith, Executive Chairman and CEO, NioCorp. “Their combination of industry expertise, proven methodologies and advanced automation technology should help us develop a truly world-class mine that can initiate the first-ever greenfield mining and processing of niobium and scandium in the United States.”
Rockwell Automation will be the main automation contractor for this project. The system integration will be provided through MAVERICK Technologies, a Rockwell Automation company that specializes in process automation solutions. Endress+Hauser, a strategic alliance partner, will provide field instrumentation including analysis, temperature, pressure, level and flow measurement devices, along with valves and related field devices and services.
“We are pleased to be selected for the NioCorp mining facility project. Together, with our system integrator MAVERICK Technologies, and our strategic alliance partner Endress+Hauser, we are able to offer a collaborative solution for standardization, control and connectivity across operations,” said Paul J. Galeski, C.E., CAP, vice president and general manager, systems and solutions business, Rockwell Automation.
The Elk Creek Project is known to be the highest-grade niobium deposit in North America. Once in full-scale production, the NioCorp facility is expected to produce more than 7,000 tonnes of ferroniobium, 103 tonnes of scandium trioxide and over 11,000 tonnes of titanium dioxide each year, with a 32-year operating life.
About Rockwell Automation
Rockwell Automation Inc. (NYSE: ROK), the world’s largest company dedicated to industrial automation and information, makes its customers more productive and the world more sustainable. Headquartered in Milwaukee, Wis., Rockwell Automation employs approximately 22,000 people serving customers in more than 80 countries.
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 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.
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