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Niobium

The end of a drill's core barrel is shown outside a Niocorp Developments Ltd. event in June 2014. The company said Monday it has "conditional approval" from the state for more than $100 million worth of tax incentives.

Journal Star file photo

NioCorp Developments Ltd. said Monday that it has received "conditional approval" from state officials for more than $100 million in tax incentives for its proposed rare metals mine in southeast Nebraska.

The Colorado company said the incentives would come from the Nebraska Advantage program, which offers qualifying companies tax rebates and other concessions after they reach set targets for investment and/or job creation.

According to the listing of tax incentive applications on the Nebraska Department of Revenue's website, NioCorp has two active applications, one for $65.3 million in investment, and one for $858 million and 400 jobs. The department does not comment on individual applications.

NioCorp is working to build a mine near Elk Creek in Johnson County to extract niobium, scandium and titanium.

According to a feasibility study the company released in the summer, the mine has the potential to produce $17.6 billion in revenue over its proposed 32-year life span and annual pre-tax income of nearly $390 million for the company.

Even with the proposed tax incentives, NioCorp estimated it would still pay hundreds of millions of dollars in state and local taxes over that 32-year period.

The company has estimated construction and startup of the mine will cost more than $1 billion, while it would create 1,000 construction jobs and 300-400 permanent jobs. At those numbers, the project would qualify for the state's highest tier of tax incentives.

NioCorp is still in the process of raising money to fund construction of the proposed mine and hopes to start construction sometime next year.

Reach the writer at 402-473-2647 or molberding@journalstar.com.

On Twitter @LincolnBizBuzz.

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