Recent changes at Ucore Rare Metals Inc. have renewed curiosity about the future of its potential Bokan-Dotson Ridge Rare Earth Project on the southeast coast of Prince of Wales Island.

Ucore’s long-time leader, Jim McKenzie, has moved aside from the president and CEO positions. He’s now a strategic advisor to Ucore Chairman and Interim CEO Pat Ryan, and the company has begun a search for a new permanent CEO.

On Wednesday, Ucore announced three new appointments to its leadership team, including the placement of industry veteran Ty Dinwoodie as the Nova Scotia based firm’s new president. That announcement was followed Thursday with an update about Ucore’s recent acquisition of a company and its technology for separating and purifying rare earth elements.

The impression is that Ucore is back in gear, working toward its two primary goals of producing heavy rare earth elements at a facility in the United States, and developing its Bokan mining project on POW.

We hope that’s the case. The potential for a rare earth element mine at the Bokan-Dotson Ridge has been on southern Southeast Alaska’s radar for more than a decade now, along with the more recent possibility of a REE production facility here in Ketchikan.

The potentials seem to have faded during the past year or so as Ucore appeared mired in a continuing legal fight with a firm that Ucore has hoped to acquire for its REE separation technology. The company’s own forward-looking statements included in its recent announcements indicate that other hurdles exist.  

Perhaps the recent leadership and other changes signal that Ucore is reenergized and ready to pursue its goals with renewed purpose. If so, that could be both good for the company and good news for southern Southeast Alaska.