Mineral exploration company NioCorp Developments Ltd. and GX Acquisition II, a special purpose acquisition company (SPAC), have announced a definitive merger agreement valuing the combined entity at $313.5 million. The deal would provide additional capital for NioCorp’s Elk Creek Critical Minerals Project in southeastern Nebraska.
Colorado-based NioCorp would acquire the SPAC and list on the Nasdaq. Also, NioCorp shares would continue to be traded on the Toronto Stock Exchange.
NioCorp could receive up to $285 million in cash when the transaction is complete.
The Elk Creek project would produce niobium, scandium, and titanium and may have the potential to produce several rare earths as well. Niobium is a metal that is used to produce specialty alloys and high-strength, low-alloy steel, which is used in automotive, structural, and pipeline applications. Scandium is a metal that can be combined with aluminum to make alloys with increased strength and improved corrosion resistance. It’s also a critical component of advanced solid oxide fuel cells. Titanium is used in various lightweight alloys and is a key component of pigments used in paper, paint, and plastics. It also has applications in aerospace, armor, and medical implants.
“Our goal is to rapidly build secure and reliable U.S. supply chains of the critical minerals that multiple industries need to help us build a more sustainable and less carbon-intensive future and for other critical domestic uses,” NioCorp Chief Executive Officer and Executive Chairman Mark A. Smith said in a statement. “Once completed, [the] transaction [has] the potential to put NioCorp on the fast track to obtain the required project financing to deliver on that promise, and to do so in an environmentally smart manner.”
The deal is expected to close in the first quarter of 2023.