NioCorp Developments Ltd. (TSX: NB; OTCQX: NIOBF) has secured legal agreements with several additional south-eastern Nebraska landowners to extend the company’s option to purchase land parcels planned for use as part of its proposed Elk Creek Superalloy Materials Project.
The extension agreements, which cover a total of 226 acres of land, involve two land parcels subject to option to purchase agreements that were set to expire in 2020.
Scott Honan, President of Elk Creek Resources Corp, said that over the past six weeks, NioCorp has secured extensions of option-to-purchase agreements that cover 1,232 acres and the company is currently negotiating extension agreements on several other land parcels. In the event that sufficient project financing is obtained, the company intends to purchase land parcels as required by the Project schedule.
“We continue to be pleased with the fast pace that these agreements are being negotiated and closed,” Mr Honan said..
“The working partnerships that NioCorp has developed with landowners in southeast Nebraska are key to the success of the Elk Creek Project, and the continuing strong support we are receiving from area residents, business owners, government representatives, and community leaders in the state has been very gratifying.”
NioCorp is developing North America’s only niobium / scandium / titanium advanced materials manufacturing facility co-located with an underground mine. Located near Elk Creek, Nebraska, this will be the highest-grade niobium project in North America, as well as one of the largest prospective producers of scandium in the world.
According to Mr Honan, Niobium is a relatively scarce metal and there are only three primary Niobium mines in the world today. But growing demand has created a global market value of >US$2 billion, according to Roskill. Niobium is considered so critical by the U.S. that it is one of a small handful of metals that the National Defense Stockpile purchases, according to DoD Strategic and Critical Materials reports.
In 2019 NioCorp signed contracts with the State of Nebraska under the existing Nebraska Advantage programme to reduce the company’s state and local tax liability by as much as US$200 million over 10 years conditional upon NioCorp meeting the programme’s job creation and investment requirements at its Elk Creek Critical Minerals Project site.
“We are very pleased to have executed contracts with the State of Nebraska under the Nebraska Advantage Act for these tax incentives,” said Mark Smith, NioCorp’s CEO and Executive Chairman.
“With the potential to reduce tax liabilities over the first 10 years of operations for our new manufacturing facilities, these provisions help incentivize companies like NioCorp to site manufacturing operations and create new, high-wage jobs in Nebraska, which the Elk Creek Superalloy Materials Project proposes to do in rural southeast Nebraska.”
“The expected return on this investment to Nebraska taxpayers and state and local government is significant, since the Elk Creek Project is estimated to create hundreds of high-wage jobs in Nebraska that will span three-plus decades and is expected to inject billions of dollars into Nebraska’s economy over that period of time,” Mr. Smith added.
“That underscores why state incentive programmes such as Nebraska Advantage can be a win-win for industry and for states seeking greater investment in new manufacturing operations.”