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Gareth Hatch  

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  • The Stars Have Aligned For Molycorp [View article]
    A few points:

    1) Molycorp did not invent "magnets that use zero or very little dysprosium". Magnequench was producing low-to-Dy magnetic powders 25-30 years ago - long before they were acquired by Molycorp. As prices spiked, so-called bonded magnets containing Magnequench powder became an option for replacing sintered Nd-Fe-B magnets, in certain applications - but, in the case studies I saw, with a slight weight penalty.

    2) The sub-segment into which Molycorp Magnequench sells magnetic powders, constitutes no more than 10% or so of the Nd-Fe-B magnet market. The rest is based on sintered magnet production, a sector in which Molycorp does not directly operate (commercially at least).

    3) Until the recent price spikes, the primary selling point for Magnequench materials was that they could be used ito build devices that were lighter than their ferrite-magnet-containing counterparts, for the same (or better) overall magnetic performance. On a mass quantity basis, the rare-earth magnet industry is maybe 10-12% of the world market.

    4) A number of analysts now posit that there will no dysprosium deficit in the short-to-medium term, primarily because of the switch to lower-Dy-containing sintered Nd-Fe-B grades as a result of re-design work of the assemblies into which they will go (much less so because of Magnequench Dy-free powders, especially given that the price spike is history).

    I believe that in the long run that there will still be a deficit of Dy because of the strong growth potential for the entire market, despite there being less Dy being used per unit.
    Nov 9, 2013. 02:49 PM | 4 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • REE/Strategic Minerals Concentrator, September 12, 2013 [View instapost]
    tripleback: it is entirely possible that "historic" prices were artificially low. Given the additional costs in China associated with better pollution control, and the recent tendency to simply cease production rather than sell at "too low" a price, I would further agree that those days are gone.

    However, the fact remains that during the formulation of their business plan some years ago, during the period of lower pricing, LYC must have made price assumptions concerning the value of their future output. Have those assumptions ever been made public?

    I know that in their 2010 engineering study for re-starting Mountain Pass, for example, MCP used pricing assumptions slightly below 2014 projections from IMCOA of $6/kg for La2O3, $2.50/kg for CeO2 and $30/kg for Nd2O3 (all FOB China)...
    Sep 13, 2013. 05:56 PM | 4 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • REE/Strategic Minerals Concentrator, 2-22-2012 [View instapost]
    "Trouble at t'mill" is a common idiomatic expression in Northern England, equivalent to something like the US expression "Houston: we have a problem" in terms of a once-literal phrase now representing something more general. Brits and perhaps others in the Commonwealth wouldn't equate the headline with an actual problem at a manufacturing facility, even if an international audience (understandably) might...
    Feb 28, 2012. 01:51 AM | 4 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • REE/Strategic Minerals Concentrator, Feb. 14, 2011 [View instapost]
    The mine is controlled by an entity called Steenkampskraal Monazite Mines (SMM). Rareco owns 74% of SMM. The other 26% is owned by an entity associated with the black economic empowerment (BEE) initiative that was created in South Africa after the end of apartheid. That 26% block of shares were donated by Rareco to that entity some time ago. The entity is overseen by three trustees; at present Rareco's Trevor Blench represents the Board as a trustee, and there is an independent trustee as well, Garritt Horn. The third slot will be filled by a representative of the future workers on the SMM project; this latter individual will also serve on the board of SMM.
    Feb 16, 2011. 05:38 AM | 4 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Expert Addresses Rare Earth Element Supply Hysteria [View article]
    A few of my own comments on the above:

    1) Although it results in the same price differential, rare earths are sold at approximately the same price inside China as to the rest of the world - it's the taxes, tariffs and surcharges that constitute the majority of the recent price increased.

    2) The other key Chinese rare-earth strategy, as stated by them and too quickly dismissed by the investment community, is the need to shut down polluting operations and to mitigate against the envirnmental damage caused by historical operations.

    3) There is no evidence to suggest that China will "uses up all its supply", especially of the light rare earths.

    4) Molycorp has had most of its permits for quite some time and received the last of them just a week or two ago.

    5) Although Lynas says that is will be up and running next year, there is almost no public domain information about the metallurgical processes proposed for the Mount Weld rare-earths project (perhaps an artifact of it being in an Australian, not Canadian, jursidiction). What little we do know from company presentations is that the efficiency of cracking for most of the light rare earths is relatively low (45% of the concentrate for La-Pr-Nd and for Ce). And though with recent drilling results Mount Weld has expanded its overall proportion and quantity of HREOs, there's nothing in the public domain that I've seen, to indicate that there has been new metallurgical work done on that sub-deposit.

    6) The folks at Stans Energy, owners of the Kutessay project in Kyrgyzstan would probably beg to differ on the assertion that there has "[n]ever has there been a dedicated, operational HREE mine anywhere in the world, with the exception of the poorly understood, government-controlled South China Clays property in China."

    7) Numerous Canadian juniors have done a lot more work than just exploration.

    8) I'm not sure that I'd agree that "the larger the deposit, the lower the cost." One could make the argument that a larger deposit allows he upfront costs to be amortized over a longer mine life, but generally the DCF model for the time value of money doesn't put a whole lot of value on a projects years and years out into the future, so there is the issue of diminishing returns. If a higher production rate is desired, the upfront costs are actually going to be higher.

    9) I'm a fan of magnetic refridgeration but I can't see the costs involved coming down anytime soon. We are likely to see more-efficient HVAC systems by switching them over to using Nd-Fe-B permanent-magnet-based motors though, so there will likely still be increased demand for REs as a result.
    Dec 19, 2010. 11:03 AM | 4 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • The Special Science Behind Rare Earths Investing [View article]
    jimp: I think you raise an interesting, nuanced point.

    Looking at it from the technical point of view: people like to talk about how important dysprosium is, for example, for the functionality of permanent magnets. However, 90% or more of the rare earth present in such magnets is neodymium - and you could still produce a perfectly good magnet with neodymium alone, albeit a less robust one at higher temperatures. That is not the case for dysprosium.

    Folks tend to get hung up on the individual $ / kg numbers for the various rare earths, but ultimately the vast majority of rare earths produced are the lights - and specifically cerium or lanthanum, for that matter.

    I think we do have to remember which elements are the "vitamins" and which are the "meat and potatoes", in the rare earths end usage story. From an end use [not necessarily a pricing / value] point of view - the lights are driving the bus here.
    Aug 4, 2010. 11:59 AM | 4 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • The Special Science Behind Rare Earths Investing [View article]
    Wildebeest: you raise an important point, and I don't have data to hand. In addition one has to discern between concentration of the ores at the mine, and the downstream separation into individual components. It also depends on how many nines / how pure you want the separated oxides to be.
    Aug 4, 2010. 11:53 AM | 4 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • The Swine Flu daily [View instapost]
    Yes - Tracy Weslosky, my fellow Editor at & Jack Lifton, regular contributor here at Seeking Alpha, were on CNBC yesterday talking about REEs. you can see the excerpt at this link:
    Sep 3, 2009. 09:27 AM | 4 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Rare Earth Metals [View instapost]
    We certainly need to be vigilant on this one, and rare earth mining / processing stocks sound very attractive right now, but check out my notes on this subject here at Seeking Alpha via
    Sep 1, 2009. 09:24 AM | 4 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • REE/Strategic Minerals Concentrator, September 12, 2013 [View instapost]
    @motionstream: your time line in inaccurate. Innovation Metals started work on the centralized separation concept in 2011, long before Jack's visit to the Lynas LAMP facility in February 2013.

    Jack's opinions are his own. They do not necessarily reflect the opinions of TMR, Innovation Metals or any other company.
    Mar 16, 2014. 09:52 AM | 3 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • REE/Strategic Minerals Concentrator, September 12, 2013 [View instapost]
    @motionstream: while Jack is an advisor to Innovation Metals, which is looking to build a centralized separation facility in North America, he is not a shareholder, director or officer of the company.
    Mar 15, 2014. 08:59 AM | 3 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Molycorp: Poised To Move Higher Still [View article]
    To what are you referring, when you mention "less-than-hoped-for geological findings at Mountain Pass"?
    Feb 15, 2014. 10:06 AM | 3 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • REE/Strategic Minerals Concentrator, September 12, 2013 [View instapost]
    As I mentioned in a comment on the article - it should be noted that Tasman and Flinders have four directors and a corporate secretary in common. In addition, the wholly owned Sweden-based subsidiary running the Tasman projects is helmed by a director of the wholly owned Sweden-based subsidiary running the Flinders projects.
    Dec 14, 2013. 09:05 AM | 3 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • REE/Strageic Mineral Concentrator, April 14, 2011 [View instapost]
    There were discussions about a joint venture quite some time ago (before the announced intent to do a JV with Hitachi Metals), but to my knowledge nothing was ever firmed up, especially once it appeared that Hitachi would not give an Nd-Fe-B manufacturing license to Arnold.
    Apr 20, 2011. 09:34 AM | 3 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Expert Addresses Rare Earth Element Supply Hysteria [View article]
    Despite the fact that no-one seems to want to hear it, there are more plausible explanations for the slow down in shipments than retaliation. One only has to look at the projected 50 kt of rest-of-the-world (ROW) demand vs. the 30 kt export quotas for 2010 to see that at some point, individual traders were always going to start running out of product to ship; given the high prices it's not inconceivable that some of these traders would either try to ship past their quota, or were shipping illegally to begin with - and perhaps got caught. Japanese companies, being collectively the largest ROW importers, would obviously see the slowdown first.

    You said : "That typically means having bogeymen which the government must protect the people from. An increasingly paranoid, belligerent and nationalistic foreign and economic policy is the result."

    You could of course be describing the USA with this statement too, and you'd be accurate...

    Regarding strategic reserves: there are no strategic reserves of rare earths. They were sold from the National Stockpile decades ago.
    Dec 23, 2010. 09:20 AM | 3 Likes Like |Link to Comment