Nebraska governor Pete Ricketts has requested that the White House give the Elk Creek Super Alley Project high-priority status.
The Elk Creek project, owned by NioCorp, is the only primary niobium deposit in the United States. Located in southeast Nebraska, the former Molycorp project, it is the highest-grade, large tonnage undeveloped niobium project in North America.
In his letter to the Trump administration, the governor made his case for green-lighting the project by saying it would help the country produce American-made super-steels for infrastructure across all 50 states. He also said the project files in line with President Trump’s Jan. 24 executive order “Expediting environmental reviews and approvals for high priority infrastructure projects.”
“Key to the success of a national infrastructure re-building is utilizing as many American-made materials as possible - particularly the high strength steels that form the backbone of America's transportation, manufacturing, and defense infrastructures,” Ricketts wrote in the letter. “The Elk Creek Superalloy Project can help the U.S. produce American-made "super steels" for infrastructure projects across all 50 states. The Project will establish the first-ever production in America of niobium, a metal that helps to make High Performance Steel (HPS). These super steels are increasingly used in highway bridges and in virtually all mega- steel infrastructure projects in order to reduce corrosion, lengthen lifespans, cut costs, and reduce environmental impacts. American-made HPS steel can help highway bridges last in excess of a century. That will reduce taxpayer costs and strengthen safety… We need niobium, Mr. President, yet we don't mine a single pound of it in the U.S. today. Nebraska wants to change that, and as rapidly as possible.”