GREENWOOD VILLAGE, Colo.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Molycorp, Inc. (NYSE: MCP), the Western hemisphere’s only producer of rare earth oxides, today announced that it has entered into a cooperative research and development agreement with the U.S. Department of Energy’s Ames Laboratory. The Molycorp-Ames effort will focus on developing new methods to create commercial-grade rare earth permanent magnets.
The collaboration combines Ames Laboratory’s 60+ years of experience in the critical materials science field with Molycorp’s 58+ years of experience in developing and commercializing innovative rare earth processing technologies.
"We are looking forward to a highly successful partnership between Molycorp and the Ames Laboratory that will incorporate new techniques, processes, and materials into U.S. supply chains," said Debra Covey, Ames Laboratory associate laboratory director for Sponsored Research Administration.
“This is a significant first step toward a long and mutually beneficial relationship between these two committed entities," said Karl Gschneidner Jr., who will lead the research efforts at Ames Laboratory. "The Ames-Molycorp partnership will serve to re-energize applied rare earth research in the U.S., and will begin to ameliorate the current void in intellectual infrastructure in rare earths by training undergraduates, graduate, and post-doctoral students and providing them with research opportunities.”
Ames Laboratory scientists will investigate several compositions of rare earth materials and processing techniques with the goal of making permanent rare earth magnets with properties comparable to currently available neodymium-iron-boron magnets. The material combinations studied will correspond with the relative concentrations of rare earth elements in Molycorp’s Mountain Pass mine, using techniques that are more cost effective and leave a smaller environmental footprint than current methods.
“For more than 60 years, the Ames Laboratory has sought out solutions to energy-related questions through groundbreaking research and development,” said Dr. John L. Burba, Executive Vice President and Chief Technology Officer of Molycorp, Inc. “It is my hope that this cooperative agreement will lead to breakthroughs in rare earth material manufacture that can advance the state of the art in rare earth magnet design and manufacture as well as strengthen our nation’s productive capacity of these and other critical rare earth materials.”
Gschneidner, Vitalij Pecharsky, Ames Laboratory Senior Scientist, and Dr. Burba will serve as principle investigators on the project.
About Ames Laboratory
The Ames Laboratory is a U.S. Department of Energy Office of Science national laboratory operated by Iowa State University. The Ames Laboratory creates innovative materials, technologies and energy solutions. We use our expertise, unique capabilities and interdisciplinary collaborations to solve global problems.
Colorado-based Molycorp, Inc. is the only REO producer in the Western Hemisphere and currently produces approximately 3,000 metric tons of commercial rare earth materials per year. Following the execution of Molycorp's "mine-to-magnets" strategy and the expected 2012 completion of Phase 1 of its modernization and expansion efforts at its Mountain Pass, California processing facility, Molycorp expects to produce at a rate of approximately 19,050 metric tons of REO equivalent per year. The Company expects to achieve an annual production capacity by the end of 2013 of approximately 40,000 metric tons of REO equivalent per year after the completion of Phase 2. Molycorp intends to provide to the market a range of rare earth products, including high-purity oxides, metals, alloys, and permanent magnets.
This press release contains forward-looking statements that represent the Company’s beliefs, projections and predictions about future events or its future performance. You can identify forward-looking statements by terminology such as "may," "will," "would," "could," "should," "expect," "intend," "plan," "anticipate," "believe," "estimate," "predict," "potential," "continue" or the negative of these terms or other similar expressions or phrases. These forward-looking statements are necessarily subjective and involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other important factors that could cause the Company’s actual results, performance or achievements or industry results to differ materially from any future results, performance or achievement described in or implied by such statements. Factors that may cause actual results to differ materially from expected results described in forward-looking statements include, but are not limited to: the Company’s ability to secure sufficient capital to implement its business plans; the Company’s ability to complete its Phase 1 modernization and expansion efforts and Phase 2 expansion efforts and reach planned production rates for REOs and other planned downstream products; uncertainties associated with the Company’s reserve estimates and non-reserve deposit information; uncertainties regarding global supply and demand for rare earth materials; the Company’s ability to maintain appropriate relations with unions and employees; the Company’s ability to successfully implement its "mine-to-magnets" strategy; environmental laws, regulations and permits affecting the Company’s business, directly and indirectly, including, among others, those relating to mine reclamation and restoration, climate change, emissions to the air and water and human exposure to hazardous substances used, released or disposed of by the Company; uncertainties associated with unanticipated geological conditions related to mining; the success of the Ames-Molycorp partnership, and other risks discussed in the Company’s filings with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, including the Company’s Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q for the period ended December 31, 2010, which filings are available from the SEC.
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