News | December 14, 2016

NioCorp Achieves High Niobium Recoveries In Final Pilot Plant Of Its Elk Creek Project Feasibility Study

Niobium Precipitation Pilot Plant Demonstrates Niobium Recoveries of Up To 97% In Continuous Operation Pilot Testing

Centennial, CO (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) - NioCorp Developments Ltd. (“NioCorp” or the "Company”) (TSX:NB) (OTCQX:NIOBF) (FSE:BR3) is pleased to announce the successful conclusion of the Niobium Optimization Pilot Plant, which has demonstrated high Niobium recoveries under continuous operating conditions. This is the Company’s final pilot plant planned for its Elk Creek Feasibility Study. The pilot plant was constructed and operated at the SGS facility in Lakefield, Ontario (SGS).

Operated continuously from December 5 through December 9, 2016, the pilot plant was fed with a niobium-bearing solution generated by treating a quantity of material from the Elk Creek Resource using the Company’s Pre-Leach, Acid Bake, and Water Leach processes. Niobium was precipitated from the solution in a continuous train of reactors by heating and diluting the incoming solution in a process known as Niobium Precipitation.

The primary objective of the pilot plant was to test the level of Niobium recoveries that could be achieved in continuous operation. The Company is pleased to report that Niobium recoveries averaged 97% over a 36-hour period of the first 48 hours of Pilot Plant operations. The Company believes this is a very desirable rate of recovery and met the Company’s expectations based upon earlier bench-scale testing.

Additional testing of the Niobium Precipitation process demonstrated potential operational efficiencies that may provide options for reductions in capital expenditures (CAPEX) and/or operating expenditures (OPEX) for this portion of the flowsheet when NioCorp’s processing facility is built and brought into operation.

“This is an excellent example of how our investment in running pilot plants for the Elk Creek project can pay dividends as we continue to de-risk the Project,” said Mark A. Smith, Executive Chairman and CEO of NioCorp. “Not only have we demonstrated high recoveries in continuous operating conditions at this stage of the ferroniobium production process, but we now have a range of operating conditions for Niobium Precipitation that we anticipate we can use to optimize the capital expenditures and operating costs for this unit operation, as well as operations downstream. This is a great way to finish our pilot plant program.”

While NioCorp has now completed the formal Pilot Plant program for the Elk Creek Feasibility Study, additional work is ongoing at SGS, which is focused on finishing the bench scale testwork necessary for the design of the Secondary Scandium Recovery and Scandium Refining operations.

On Behalf of the Board of Directors,

"Mark Smith”

Mark Smith
Executive Chairman, CEO, and Director

Qualified Persons: Eric Larochelle, B.Eng of SMH Process Innovation, a Qualified Person as defined by National Instrument 43-101, is responsible for the Elk Creek hydrometallurgical program and has read and approved the technical information contained in this news release.

@NioCorp $NB $NIOBF $BR3 #Niobium #Scandium #ElkCreek

For More Information: Contact Jim Sims, VP of External Affairs, NioCorp Developments Ltd., 720-639-4650, jim.sims@niocorp.com.

About NioCorp
NioCorp is developing a superalloy materials project in Southeast Nebraska that will produce Niobium, Scandium, and Titanium. Niobium is used to produce superalloys as well as High Strength, Low Alloy ("HSLA") steel, which is a lighter, stronger steel used in automotive, structural, and pipeline applications. Scandium is a superalloy material that can be combined with Aluminum to make alloys with increased strength and improved corrosion resistance. Scandium also is a critical component of advanced solid oxide fuel cells. Titanium is used in various superalloys and is a key component of pigments used in paper, paint and plastics and is also used for aerospace applications, armor and medical implants.

Cautionary Note Regarding Forward-Looking Statements
Neither TSX nor its Regulation Services Provider (as that term is defined in the policies of the TSX) accepts responsibility for the adequacy or accuracy of this document. Certain statements contained in this document may constitute forward-looking statements, including but not limited to statements regarding the ability of NioCorp’s Elk Creek Project to obtain specific rates of recovery for its planned target products, achieving pilot plant recovery rates in anticipated future production, estimated CAPEX and OPEX associated with the Elk Creek Project, potential future production at the Elk Creek Project, anticipated products to be produced at the Elk Creek Project, the future critical and strategic nature of niobium and scandium, anticipated costs of production at the Elk Creek Project being competitive, anticipated competitive advantages, and the timing, completion and results of a feasibility study for the Elk Creek Project. Such forward-looking statements are based upon NioCorp’s reasonable expectations and business plan at the date hereof, which are subject to change depending on economic, political and competitive circumstances and contingencies. Readers are cautioned that such forward-looking statements involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors that may cause a change in such assumptions and the actual outcomes and estimates to be materially different from those estimated or anticipated future results, achievements or position expressed or implied by those forward-looking statements. Risks, uncertainties and other factors that could cause NioCorp’s plans or prospects to change include changes in demand for and price of commodities (such as fuel and electricity) and currencies; changes or disruptions in the securities markets; legislative, political or economic developments; the need to obtain permits and comply with laws and regulations and other regulatory requirements; the possibility that actual results of work may differ from projections/expectations or may not realize the perceived potential of NioCorp’s projects; risks of accidents, equipment breakdowns and labor disputes or other unanticipated difficulties or interruptions; the possibility of cost overruns or unanticipated expenses in development programs; operating or technical difficulties in connection with exploration, mining or development activities; the speculative nature of mineral exploration and development, including the risks of diminishing quantities of grades of reserves and resources; and the risks involved in the exploration, development and mining business and the risks set forth under the heading “Risk Factors” in the Company’s S-1 registration statement and other filings with the SEC at www.sec.gov. NioCorp disclaims any intention or obligation to update or revise any forward-looking statements whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise.

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SOURCE: NioCorp Developments Ltd.