ThyssenKrupp Metallurgical Products has expanded its product portfolio and concluded an offtake agreement for ferroniobium with NioCorp Developments Ltd. Under the ten-year agreement, ThyssenKrupp will purchase 3,750 tons of ferroniobium per year, which equates to approx. 50% of NioCorp’s total production.
Ferroniobium is an important iron niobium alloy, with a niobium content of 60-70%. It is the main source for niobium covering more than 80% of the world wide niobium production. Niobium is a rare heavy metal used in metallurgy in the manufacture of special steels like high-strength low-alloy steel (HSLA) and to improve weldability.
This offtake agreement makes the raw material trading experts the exclusive European distribution partner to NioCorp, which is developing the only primary niobium deposits in the USA at its Elk Creek project in Nebraska. The term of the agreement is scheduled to begin in 2017 when production starts. With the conclusion of the offtake agreement, ThyssenKrupp Metallurgical Products has also acquired the unilateral option of purchasing warrants for five million US Dollars at the current price (as at: December, 2014) of 0.67 Canadian Dollars each within one year.
Kai-Norman Knötsch, Chairman of the Management Board of ThyssenKrupp Metallurgical Products, says: “As there are very few suppliers of niobium and NioCorp is developing the only deposits in the USA, this is a highly attractive product for us. We are looking forward our future cooperation and hope to develop new sales markets in Europe as a result.” Mark Smith, CEO of NioCorp, adds: “We are extremely pleased to have one of the world’s leading commodity trading companies as a significant customer. Our team looks forward to building a long-term and mutually beneficial relationship with ThyssenKrupp Metallurgical Products.”