The businesses making up the 2021 prime ten checklist of U.S.-based mid-tiers and juniors, excluding coal and treasured metals, have seen a number of the most dramatic will increase in valuations as their market caps surged over the course of the final 12 months. This rating relies on the businesses’ market capitalizations as of July 7, as compiled by MiningIntelligence.
1. Power Fuels
Market cap: US$773 million
The runaway success story of the final 12 months has been Power Fuels (TSX: EFR; NYSE: UUUU), which didn’t make the rating in 2020 however have surged to the highest place with a market cap of US$773 million, due to the renewed curiosity in nuclear power and uncommon earth parts (REEs).
The Colorado-based firm is now the main producer of uranium within the U.S., in addition to a significant producer of vanadium and an rising producer of REEs. It has property in Utah, Wyoming, Texas, Arizona, Colorado, and New Mexico. These embody its key uranium manufacturing centres: the White Mesa mill in Utah, the Nichols Ranch in-situ restoration venture in Wyoming, the Alta Mesa in-situ restoration venture in Texas and the Pinyon Plain mine in Arizona.
Positioned in southeastern Utah, White Mesa is the one standard uranium mill at the moment working within the U.S., with a licensed capability of over Eight million lbs. of U3O8 per 12 months. It additionally has the power to supply vanadium when market situations warrant, in addition to REE carbonate from numerous uranium-bearing ores.
In early July, the corporate despatched the first cargo of blended uncommon earth carbonate focus to Neo Efficiency Supplies’ (TSX: NEO) Silmet uncommon earth separation facility in Estonia, the place it is going to be separated into uncommon earth oxides and different uncommon earth merchandise. The 20 tonnes of focus had been produced at Power Fuels’ White Mesa mill and is the primary of an anticipated 15 shipments to be despatched to Neo’s facility, creating a brand new uncommon earth provide chain linking the U.S. to Europe. The 2 corporations additionally signed a definitive provide settlement beneath which Power Fuels can ship all or a portion of its uncommon earth carbonate focus to Neo’s Silmet processing facility for a minimal interval of three years.
2. Uranium Power
Market cap: US$546 million
Uranium Power (NYSE-AM: UEC) maintains its quantity two spot on the highest ten checklist, however the Texas-based firm has seen its market cap nearly triple from US$186 million in late-July 2020 to US$546 million this 12 months.
The uranium exploration and mining firm’s operations are targeted round its Hobson in-situ restoration uranium processing facility, positioned about 100 km northwest of the Texas metropolis of Corpus Christi. The plant is central to the corporate’s different property within the southern a part of the state, together with the Palangana in-situ restoration mine and the absolutely permitted Burke Hole and Goliad in-situ restoration initiatives. Uranium Power additionally has property in Wyoming, New Mexico, Arizona, Colorado, Saskatchewan and Paraguay.
The corporate’s Palangana mine started manufacturing in late 2010. The measured and indicated useful resource estimate for Palangana is 357,000 tonnes grading 0.135% U3O8 for 1.06 million lbs. U3O8, with inferred assets of an extra 298,000 tonnes grading 0.176% U3O8 for 1.2 million lbs. U3O8.
In Could, the corporate introduced it had elevated its bodily and fairness uranium holdings, together with the acquisition of 200,000 lbs. of warehoused uranium. Uranium Power now has 2.Three million lbs. of warehoused uranium within the U.S. at a quantity weighted common worth of about US$30 per lb. with numerous supply dates out to June 2023 that may be processed by means of its Hobson facility.
3. Intrepid Potash
Market cap: US$416 million
Denver-based Intrepid Potash (NYSE: IPI) has risen from its fifth place in 2020 to take the quantity three spot this 12 months. Intrepid is a provider of high-quality potassium, magnesium, sulfur, salt and water merchandise utilized in agriculture, animal feed and the oil and gasoline trade. The corporate is the one U.S. producer of muriate of potash, which is utilized in a number of industrial functions and as an ingredient in animal feed. It at the moment provides about 3.5% of the nation’s annual consumption of muriate of potash.
Intrepid’s mineral manufacturing comes from three photo voltaic answer amenities at Carlsbad, New Mexico, and Moab and Wendover in Utah. It additionally has a traditional underground mine, additionally positioned at Carlsbad. The Carlsbad mine hosts one of many largest recognized reserves of langbeinite, a naturally occurring fertilizer that the corporate markets beneath the model identify Trio. Trio is a specialty fertilizer, which delivers potassium, magnesium and sulfate in a single particle.
The corporate noticed sturdy home gross sales quantity for potash and its Trio fertilizer within the final quarter of 2020, as beneficial climate, rising commodity costs and compelling farm economics drove early season fertilizer demand that continues into 2021.
Intrepid additionally serves the oil and gasoline, de-icing and mud management industries. Its Carlsbad location produces premium 10 lb. brine utilized by fracking operations within the U.S., whereas its Wendover facility produces liquid magnesium chloride, a crucial compound for de-icing and mud management.
4. NioCorp Developments
Market cap: US$266 million
NioCorp Developments (TSX: NB; US-OTC: NIOBF) is targeted on growing a superalloy supplies venture in southeastern Nebraska. The Colorado-based firm plans to supply three industrial crucial mineral merchandise at its proposed Elk Creek mine: niobium, scandium and titanium. NioCorp can also be contemplating the manufacturing of a number of magnetic uncommon earth merchandise on the web site.
Elk Creek could be North America’s solely niobium/scandium/titanium venture and embody a sophisticated supplies manufacturing facility positioned by the proposed underground mine. The superalloy metals discovered on the Elk Creek venture embody the highest-grade niobium on the continent, and one of many largest potential sources of scandium on the planet.
The corporate launched a feasibility research in April 2019 that estimated common annual manufacturing at Elk Creek of seven,220 tonnes ferroniobium, 95 tonnes scandium trioxide and 11,642 tonnes titanium dioxide. The mine’s anticipated lifespan is 36 years. The research pegged preliminary complete internet capex for Elk Creek at US$1.14 billion, with gross income of US$20.Eight billion over the lifetime of the mine.
In April, NioCorp introduced it had bought a key land parcel related to Elk Creek, giving the corporate possession of the mineral rights to greater than 90% of the venture’s mineral assets and mineral reserves. In June, NioCorp initiated testing of mineralized materials from Elk Creek, utilizing high-pressure grinding rolls (HPGR) know-how. HPGR know-how is an power environment friendly and low-emission various for lowering the scale of the ore to allow the restoration of niobium, scandium, titanium and potential uncommon earth merchandise. The testing includes taking about three tonnes of drill core from the location and lowering it to the one-millimetre dimension required for hydrometallurgical evaluation.
Market cap: US$241 million
Ur-Power (TSX: URE; NYSE-AM: URG) has a variety of uranium initiatives in Wyoming, crucial being its Misplaced Creek in-situ restoration facility. Different property embody the Shirley Basin and Misplaced Soldier initiatives, and the Fortunate Mc Mine web site, all positioned within the state, in addition to the Excel venture, the corporate’s first gold exploration enterprise positioned in west-central Nevada.
The Misplaced Creek property consists of six particular person contiguous initiatives about 61 km from town of Casper in south-central Wyoming. The corporate started uranium manufacturing actions at its absolutely licensed Misplaced Creek venture in August, 2013, with the primary gross sales of yellowcake from the location made in December of that 12 months. The opposite 5 initiatives on the property had been acquired as exploration targets to supply supplemental assets.
An amended preliminary financial evaluation issued in 2016 for the Misplaced Creek venture was primarily based on a useful resource estimate of 14.6 million lbs. U3O8 within the measured and indicated classes, with 6.44 million lbs. U3O8 within the inferred class. The corporate at the moment estimates the remaining lifetime of the mine is between 12-15 years.
Since manufacturing started, Misplaced Creek has produced 2.7 million lbs. of U3O8 from the primary two mine items on the property. The corporate now has 9 licensed mine items, with six further items added to the Misplaced Creek license in early 2021. This current license modification additionally elevated the restrict for annual plant manufacturing to 2.2 million lbs. U3O8, which incorporates wellfield manufacturing of as much as 1.2 million lbs. U3O8 and toll processing as much as one other 1 million lbs. U3O8.
6. Westwater Sources
Market cap: US$139 million
One other firm making its first look on the top-ten checklist is Westwater Sources (NYSE-AM: WWR). The exploration and growth firm has seen its valuation improve due to its concentrate on U.S.-sourced mineral assets for clear power manufacturing, particularly from Westwater’s flagship Coosa superior battery graphite venture in Alabama.
Coosa is positioned about 80 km southeast of Birmingham and includes 17,000 hectares throughout the historic, past-producing Alabama graphite belt, which was residence to important manufacturing from the late 1800s till the 1950s. Westwater acquired the mineral rights to the venture in 2018 and Coosa is now essentially the most superior graphite venture within the decrease 48 states of the U.S., the corporate says.
A preliminary financial evaluation for Coosa was accomplished in late 2015 and was primarily based on an indicated useful resource of 71.2 million tonnes grading 2.39% graphitic carbon at a 1% cut-off grade, for 1.7 million tonnes contained/in-situ graphite, the biggest graphite indicated useful resource within the U.S., in line with the corporate. Inferred assets are 72 million tonnes grading 2.56% graphitic carbon at a 1% cut-off grade for 1.85 million tonnes contained/in-situ graphite.
The corporate has utilized for a U.S. patent for a brand new, environmentally sustainable proprietary course of for purifying graphite. Westwater initiated a pilot program at Coosa in late 2020 that has purified 16,675 kg of graphite materials wanted for battery manufacturing, together with 1,700 kg of spherical purified graphite.
A definitive feasibility research is underway and scheduled for completion within the third quarter of this 12 months. The corporate expects full scale manufacturing of battery-grade graphite from bought feedstock to start in 2022, with mining anticipated to begin on the Coosa deposit beginning in 2028.
7. Texas Mineral Sources
Market cap: US$128 million
Mineral exploration firm Texas Mineral Sources (US-OTC: TMRC) slips from the third place it held final 12 months however continues to keep up a powerful presence by focusing on heavy uncommon earth parts (REEs), know-how metals and industrial minerals at its Spherical Prime Mountain deposit.
The Spherical Prime venture is located about 135 km southeast of El Paso, close to Sierra Blanca within the Texas county of Hudspeth. The primary Spherical Prime web site is 385 hectares and Texas Mineral’s holds renewable leases from the state for the property. It additionally holds prospecting permits on areas adjoining to the primary Spherical Prime web site overlaying an extra 3,785 hectares. Although Spherical Prime’s distinctive geology was first acknowledged about 25 years in the past, it has solely been the current want to determine home sources of REEs within the U.S. that has created extra curiosity within the venture.
The Spherical Prime deposit accommodates 16 of 17 uncommon earths, together with all 11 heavy REEs and 5 gentle REEs, most significantly all 5 REEs required to make everlasting magnets. A 2019 preliminary financial evaluation forecast annual manufacturing on the Spherical Prime venture of two,213 tonnes of REEs, of which over 1,900 tonnes are heavy REEs. The lifetime of the open pit mine is estimated at 20 years, however that’s primarily based on mining solely 14% of the prevailing mineral useful resource.
In 2019, Texas Minerals signed a growth settlement with privately held USA Uncommon Earths. Then, in late Could of this 12 months, USA Uncommon Earths exercised its possibility to amass 80% of the Spherical Prime venture, with Texas Minerals retaining 20% possession by means of its subsidiary, Spherical Prime Mountain Improvement LLC. USA Uncommon Earths additionally accomplished a US$50 million Sequence C funding spherical and is now funded by means of completion of a definitive feasibility research for the venture. The definitive feasibility research will embody findings from a pilot plant that might be constructed at Spherical Prime later this 12 months.
8. Scandium Worldwide Mining
Market cap: US$54 million
Based mostly in Nevada, Scandium Worldwide Mining (TSX: SCY; US-OTC: SCYYF) is working in direction of growing the world’s first main scandium mine, its 100%-owned Nyngan venture in New South Wales, Australia. The corporate additionally has two different property, the 100%-owned Honeybugle exploration venture, which is adjoining to Nyngan, and the Kiviniemi exploration venture in Finland. All are targeted on scandium.
Nyngan, positioned about 500 km northwest of Sydney, is the corporate’s flagship venture, and Scandium Worldwide is targeted on advancing it to building, after which producing scandium that may used for superior aluminum alloys.
Scandium’s main asset is a 2,925-hectare property positioned 25 km from its namesake city of Nyngan. It consists of two exploration licenses and the corporate has been growing the venture since 2010. A feasibility research in Could 2016 estimated common annual manufacturing of 38,000 kg of scandium oxide at grades of 98-99.9% scandium oxide. The research envisioned a 20-year lifetime of mine producing an after-tax cumulative money circulate of US$629 million, with a post-tax internet current worth at a 10% low cost charge of US$177 million.
In late April, the corporate acquired two separate patents within the U.S. associated to its work growing functions of scandium in lithium-ion batteries. One is for the restoration of scandium from copper raffinate options by way of ion alternate strategies and the second for the manufacture of aluminum-scandium grasp alloys by way of these outlined strategies. Each patents are relevant to the corporate’s intent to supply scandium merchandise to be used in each aluminum alloys and different technical functions.
9. Azarga Uranium
Market cap: US$51 million
Azarga Uranium (TSX: AZZ; US-OTC: AZZUF) maintains the identical spot on the highest ten checklist from final 12 months, however has seen its market cap nearly double as curiosity in domestically sourced uranium within the U.S. has elevated.
The corporate is focussed on growing low-cost in-situ uranium restoration operations within the U.S., with its preliminary growth precedence being the Dewey Burdock venture. Azarga’s 100%-owned Dewey Burdock is an in-situ uranium restoration venture positioned within the southwestern a part of South Dakota, within the Edgemont uranium district, and is comprised of about 5,100 hectares.
In December 2020, the corporate launched an amended preliminary financial evaluation for Dewey Burdock, primarily based on measured and indicated assets of 6.7 million tonnes grading 0.116% U3O8 for 17.1 million lbs. U3O8. The inferred useful resource stands at 586,000 tonnes grading 0.055% U3O8 for 712,624 lbs. U3O8.
Azarga is finishing its regulatory allowing. The corporate has been issued a federal Nuclear Regulatory Fee license, in addition to its remaining class III and sophistication V underground injection management permits from the U.S. Environmental Safety Company.
10. United States Antimony
Market cap: US$50 million
Montana-based United States Antimony (NYSE-AM: UAMY) is targeted on the strategic steel antimony and is the one important producer of antimony oxide, antimony steel and antimony tri-sulfide within the U.S., with most of its uncooked supplies sourced in North America. Antimony is one in every of 35 federally designated crucial minerals within the U.S. due to its use in nationwide protection, know-how and inexperienced power. Australia, Canada and the European Union additionally classify antimony as a crucial mineral.
United States Antimony started operations in Montana in 1969, and is now a totally built-in mining, transportation, milling, and smelting firm with operations within the U.S. and Mexico. Its Thompson Falls facility is within the Burns mining district of western Montana, about 24 km from town of Thompson Falls. It has a smelter and treasured steel refinery, with a capability to supply 15 million lbs. of antimony oxide per 12 months, in addition to antimony steel and antimony tri-sulfide.
In Mexico, the corporate has manufacturing amenities at Madero within the northern state of Coahuila, Puerto Blanco within the central state of Guanjuato, and Wadley within the central state of San Luis Potosi. 4 Mexican mines are the first supply for its manufacturing amenities: Wadley (within the state of San Luis Potosi), Los Juarez (Queretaro state), Sierra Guadalupe (Zacatecas state) and Soyatal (additionally in Queretaro state).
In early Could, the corporate signed a collaboration settlement with Perpetua Sources (TSX: PPTA; NASDAQ: PPTA) to check the feasibility of processing Perpetua’s antimony concentrates at United States Antimony’s amenities. Perpetua is within the allowing course of for a significant antimony and gold useful resource in Idaho, and the potential partnership would characterize the one domestically mined and refined antimony merchandise within the U.S.