Firm Behind Nebraska Niobium Project Quiet During Annual Meeting

Dec. 3, 2021, 1:20 p.m. ·

Photo of titanium, scandium, niobium and a drawing of a mining building with the NioCorp logo.
(Graphic by Nebraska Public Media)

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NioCorp, the company hoping to dig a Niobium mine in southeast Nebraska, held its annual stockholders meeting outside Denver on Thursday, but could reveal nothing about the status of the project.

Management recently invoked a temporary news blackout, leaving investors without the type of status report provided in previous years.

The brief news release on the company’s website only noted the company had re-elected its board of directors.

NioCorp Map of Elk Creek Niobium Mine
A map of the proposed Elk Creek, Nebraska mining project from a report to investors. (Image courtesy NioCorp)
Up close photos of niobium and scandium on the periodic table of elements.
Niobium and Scandium on the periodic table. (Graphic by Nebraska Public Media)

For over a decade, Colorado-based NioCorp advanced proposals to extract the minerals Niobium, titanium, and scandium found below the farmland near Elk Creek, Nebraska. Manufacturers use the elements to create strong metal alloys.

Attracting billion-dollar investors to bankroll the massive project proved to be a painstaking process.

In past annual meetings, the company’s officers reviewed progress or set-backs from the previous year, emphasizing again and again the Elk Creek project was poised for quick development once deals for financing were in place.

Following the formal meeting the small investors and media outlets were given the opportunity to ask questions of NioCorp management.

The company could not discuss any aspect of the project this year after NioCorp initiated a “quiet period.” Federal law requires companies remain silent when circumstances might cause a sudden increase or decrease in the stock price. Even hinting at such news could trigger an insider trading investigation.

The company’s president also canceled media appearances last month.

While NioCorp could not discuss the reasons behind the blackout, company President Mark Smith told the financial news service Procctive “by the end of the year” the company “hopes to have some very good news” concerning tests of rare earth element deposits found at the site of the proposed Nebraska mine and mineral processing plant.

Last month the company also filed a $200 million Shelf Registration Statement with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Taking the action allows NioCorp to move forward with a new security offering. It allows the company to move quickly, making the shares available when market conditions are favorable.

Stock in the company, traded in an over the counter Market, lost about seven percent of its value after Thursday’s annual meeting, selling at day's end for about a dollar a share.