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Ucore, Materion to form consortium, apply for US rare earths facility funding

Ucore Rare Metals Inc. and Materion Corp. will form a consortium to jointly apply to the U.S. Department of Defense for funding for the construction of a rare earths processing plant, Reuters reported Dec. 23.

The Defense Department earlier said that it plans to fund construction of rare earths processing facilities in a bid to ensure adequate supply of the minerals used to manufacture electronics and weapons.

The department plans to choose one or more winners to receive funding to construct a pilot plant to process so-called heavy rare earths.

"We were looking for something that would put us directly in the same league as Lynas with this value proposition, and we’ve done that,” Ucore CEO Jim McKenzie said.

Texas Mineral Resources Corp. and Lynas Corp. Ltd.'s joint venture with Blue Line Corp. of Texas are also planning to apply.