Energy Fuels has three uranium production facilities in the US: the White Mesa mill shown here, along with the Nichols Ranch ISR operation in Wyoming and the Alta Mesa ISR project in Texas.

Energy Fuels announced on April 23 the U.S. Department of Energy Office (DOE) of Fossil Energy and National Energy Technology Laboratory exercised an option to award Energy Fuels, working with a team from Penn State University, an additional $1.75 million to complete a feasibility study on the production of rare earth element (REE) products from coal-based resources, as well as from other materials such as REE-containing ores like the natural monazite ore the company is currently processing at its White Mesa Mill in Utah.

This award follows a $150,000 contract in 2020 from DOE for the successful completion of a conceptual design for the same initiative. The feasibility study is intended to support a cost estimate to produce individually separated rare earth oxides and rare earth metals and alloys from coal-based resources or other resources.

Energy Fuels said it is already evaluating the potential to develop commercial REE separation, metals, alloys and other downstream REE capabilities at or near the White Mesa mill, with the goal of fully integrating a commercial REE supply chain in the coming years. Work on the DOE feasibility study is expected to complement these efforts and has the potential to accelerate it’s move into commercial production of separated REE oxides and other value-added REE products in the U.S. in the coming years, according to Energy Fuels.

Last year, the company entered into a three-year supply agreement with The Chemours Co. to acquire 2,500 tons per year of natural monazite sands from Chemours’ Offerman mineral sand plant in Georgia.