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Jack Lifton

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  • Molycorp: 4 Reasons Why Bondholders Are 'Mullets' [View article]
    Ibot Vested,

    No, because then I would be called a shill for those companies. I get paid by mining/refining clients as a business operations and marketing specialist. I cover the technology metals, of which the rare earths are the largest related group. My paying clients cover the gamut of resources and stages of development. I believe that I am very selective in choosing clients in that I don't want to waste their time or mine if I feel they have little chance of success is PRODUCING and SELLING products.

    My web based information company, Technology Metals Research, LLC, is a partnership between me and Dr Gareth Hatch.

    I operate individually and write publicly as Jack Lifton, LLC, so that TMR can remain neutral.

    Jun 20 10:34 AM | 3 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Molycorp: 4 Reasons Why Bondholders Are 'Mullets' [View article]

    If you write "Molycorp [is one of many companies that] mine(s) rare earth minerals....." Then say that "I find it [sad not] funny how they are incapable of turning over a profit." You will have understood their problem
    Jun 20 09:37 AM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Moody's Cuts Molycorp To "Caa2," Notes Debt Level May Be Unsustainable [View article]

    You are exactly right. The survival of ANY mining venture is based on its being competitive in its market at the TIME and PLACE (downstream distance of its "product") it enters that market. The share price of a non-profitable, untested-by-success , venture is only relevant to its (the share price's) impact on whether or not the company can raise OPERATING capital to shore up shortfalls due to its non-profitablilty.
    The rare earth sector's recent history shows that it is operating as just another type of casino chip source in the gaming universe that the stock market has become. Of all the rare earth IPOs in the last 10 years only Molycorp and Lynas were large enough to fund their (at the time announced) development to profitability models. Both original models were flawed and both have failed. Both are trying to operate as patchwork quilts of ideas about markets and products.

    The global market needs rare earths, heavy rare earths in particular, in order to produce more consumer products. I think that the smaller rare earth ventures have learned the lesson of too big to succeed from Molycorp and Lynas, but in the near term that won't impact China's monopoly position.

    As far as your point that "...Erudite discussions about the fundamentals of the company seem to have little predictive value for stock pricing,...," I personally do not believe that stock pricing has much, if anything, to do with production that could arise from flawed business models.
    Jun 20 09:29 AM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Moody's Cuts Molycorp To "Caa2," Notes Debt Level May Be Unsustainable [View article]

    In the article at the link, from May 29, 2014 you said:

    " recycling wastewater from Molycorp's separation processes, the company is expected to become the low-cost producer of rare earths. However, that best-in-class production cost is predicated on production volume of 19,000mt to 20,000mt, which Molycorp has not come close to reaching...."

    This was all based on the "narrative" that completion of a "chlor-alkali" plant was somehow going to produce the miracle of "recycling waste water..." In fact it was that this operation was taking so long and generating so much expense [more than 35 million dollars just to dispose of waste water in the last year!] that was causing the chemical (mining) engineering world to think it was miraculous that such a F.U. had occurred after all of the money spent by Molycorp in planning and construction. It is NORMAL practice to recycle unused reagents from "waste" streams. Mining professionals read the story as incompetent management not as any miracle. Yet writers on SA and other article compendia panted breathlessly about the completion of the "chlor-alkali" plant as the path to successful LOW COST mass production.

    Share, debt, and derivative pricing manipulation cannot lower costs or maximize efficiency or correct engineering and marketing management mistakes.

    For your enlightenment you need to be aware of the fact that the Molycorp "chlor-alkali plant" excuse has become a "It was George W . Bush who did it" type of excuse in the mining world. I even actually heard a guy (a junior rare earth mining venture employee) in a bar say to a girl, "Do you want to go to my room and see if my chlor-alkali plant is working?"

    The fault lies not in their chlor-alkali plants but in themselves.
    Jun 19 10:07 PM | 4 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Moody's Cuts Molycorp To "Caa2," Notes Debt Level May Be Unsustainable [View article]

    Last year JP Morgan predicted that the total demand for rare earths would be about the same in 2020 as it us now. This may be true but it is misleading, because even if it is true that the TOTAL demand for REEs doesn't change it will be also true that the relative demand for the individual rare earths will have changed dramatically. I think it is likely that the growth of the total demand for light rare earths will be static or negative for cerium and perhaps for lanthanum. The demand for neodymium, praseodymium, samarium, gadolinium, terbium, dysprosium, and yttrium will grow differently and out of proportion for each of these rare earth elements with respect to their proportions found typically in deposits which contain any or all of them. This means that the world's cerium and lanthanum demands will be met as a matter of course by those seeking to produce the critical rare earths named above. So we need to look at Molycorp really only as a producer of neodymium and praseodymium. Can Molycorp be profitable if the expense of producing cerium and lanthanum is charged as a cost against the production of Nd and la? Or, in the best case, can Molycorp sell its cerium and lanthanum for at least their costs of production. This will only be possible, of course, if Molycorp's cost of production is below that of Baotou, Lynas, and several other large scale producers of light rare earths that are in advanced development in Africa, South America, and Greenland.
    Financial manipulation of shares , debt, and derivatives do not change the above long term prognosis.
    Jun 19 08:52 PM | 3 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Molycorp: Recent Insider Sales A Bearish Indicator [View article]
    Note that Pegasus and Traxys, along with RCP were 3 of the 4 "original" investors in the purchase of Molycorp from Chevron. Note also that Alan Docter was the Chairman of Traxys at the time, and, if memory serves, he was also the first Chairman of new Molycorp. The 4th original investor was Goldman Sachs.
    Jun 19 08:37 AM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • It's Not About Discovering A Mine, It's About Discovering A Technology [View article]
    This is a great interview; it is insightful and very informative. I don't always agree with the Berrys in the details, but I find their world-view, and the conclusions they draw from it, to be solid-at least they are congruent with mine.

    Which physical materials are strategic and/or critical is dictated by the historical time and geographic coverage of the discussion. Rare earths, for example, are strategic if you believe that a world in which all information should be exchanged transparently and rapidly by any and all people must be the goal of all (worthwhile) political systems.

    This interview is not just food for thought; it is a banquet.
    Jun 18 10:10 AM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Molycorp: Recent Insider Sales A Bearish Indicator [View article]
    Resource Capital was one of the original four investors in the buyout of the then moribund Molycorp from Chevron. I have been told that, in fact, Resource Capital was the "lead" investor in that deal.
    The "value" received for the 6.1 million shares cannot make any difference to Resource Capital's short term or long term revenues, so either the sale was to someone accumulating the stock, such as, perhaps, Molymet, or it was just part of a an exit strategy such as a stop-loss.
    I would read this ownership exit as a final admission of the failure of RC's original business model for Molycorp.
    Jun 18 07:31 AM | 3 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Why Is Molycorp Seeking Approval For 350 Million New Shares? [View article]
    RE prices are trending today as if the last few years were an aberration. The trend line base has reset to 2007, so if you clip out the intervening years of hype, hyperbole, and bulls**t you will see the "normal" price trend for the world we live in. This trend will not save bloated entities that depended on the 2008-11 trend line for their survival and prosperity. Please everyone leave your alternate universe.
    Jun 12 08:57 AM | 3 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Molycorp's Convertible Notes Are Worth From 3 - 5 Cents On The Dollar [View article]
    End game,
    Thank you. I note Molymet's statement that this investment was driven by "highly synergistic technologies and market positioning." Molymet is a profitable high volume producer of molybdenum and rhenium. I suspect their goal was and is acquisition of all or part of Molycorp, and I think that since Neo was a rhenium recycler and the biggest rhenium market in the world is the USA that it was Neo that brought Molymet into the picture and that the Neo acquisition (using Molycorp money and equity) was part of a grander scheme by Molymet.

    Jun 9 09:00 AM | 3 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Molycorp's Convertible Notes Are Worth From 3 - 5 Cents On The Dollar [View article]
    I have always wondered if Molymet had a long term strategy of offering itself to the (other?) Debtholders as a logical successor to the current Molycorp regime in case things did not work out for the original group and bankruptcy loomed or occurred.
    Jun 9 08:10 AM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Molycorp's Convertible Notes Are Worth From 3 - 5 Cents On The Dollar [View article]
    Does anyone know the nature of Molymet's investment? I mean did they buy just equity, or did they purchase debt also?

    Molycorp has been trending down since Molymet made its first investment. Why did Molymet continue to buy?
    Jun 9 07:42 AM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Molycorp Hits 52-Week Low Of $2.44. What Happened? [View article]

    In China at least 10,000 people go to work every day in the rare earth mining and refining industry. In addition at least 1000 academic researchers in China study rare earth mining, refining, and utilization FULL TIME! American stock promoters keep telling us that the Molycorp SX plant is "ultra-high tech." Some reputable and experienced Chinese scientists and engineers have visited Mountain Pass in the last year or two. Has anyone seen a public article or a public or private report by an experienced Chinese scientist, engineer, or businessman comparing Molycorp's current technology with any Chinese current technology? I haven't seen one, but I have been repeatedly told in China that Mountain Pass production is of little interest or import to the Chinese market. The fact, that Molycorp has no impact on the world's largest end-user market for the rare earths, was, is , and will continue to be the real problem.

    Note please that my numbers above, 10,000 and 1,000, are very low end estimates.

    If you wish to sell ices cubes in northern Alaska at least flavor them and, no matter what, make sure they're cheaper than the locally sourced product.
    Jun 4 01:04 PM | 3 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Molycorp: The Pain... The Pain [View article]
    Perspective is the key to objectivity. The market for large quantities of customer specified light rare earth industrial raw materials, as products, delivered on time, meeting the specification, and at the agreed price is at least 80%, perhaps more, in the PRC. To be competitive in that market you MUST meet the above criteria and have been APPROVED as a supplier and be supplying for a while JUST AS IN ANY OTHER MARKET FOR ANY PRODUCT OR SERVICE ANYWHERE IN THE WORLD!
    So, the question always has been and always will be: Can an American rare earth miner be competitive in the PRC's domestic market against the domestic competition and SECONDARILY can an American rare earth miner be competitive against the PRC's RE miners/refiners in the small non-Chinese markets.
    History so far has shown that domestic American RE producers cannot be competitive in the Chinese domestic market. I think that a small streamlined American domestic RE producer of either LREEs or HREEs, preferably of both, can be competitive in the non-Chinese markets, because Chinese costs and reliability are on the one hand increasing and on the other, decreasing. But a Domestic American producer will have to be capable of sustaining a breakeven point that reflects ONLY the non-Chinese demand for TREEs.
    I think Molycorp is too large a venture to succeed in the relatively small market in which it is trying to function. I have always thought that, and I remember saying that to Mark Smith in 2009.
    May 30 09:43 AM | 3 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Molycorp cash could get tight in H2, Morgan Stanley says in downgrade [View news story]
    I am intrigued by the "in the know" attitude of MS's analysts with such statements as "...because commissioning and ramping up of tanks could take one to two months; also, there is risk that new bottlenecks might emerge in the process after leach tank capacity is raised." It's clear that these analysts have never built anything not put any chemical engineering facilities into operation, since those of us who have done so know well that nothing ever goes according to plan and the risk is always that the system won't work until tweaked, if at all.
    It was obvious from the beginning that MS viewed Molycorp's plan, as they perceived it, as an outcome to be expected once enough money had been thrown at it. Now that reality has set in things don't seem so rosy. "Reality" by the way is the fact that the lowest cost producer will have as much market share as it can produce. Does MS believe that just by stating that its production costs will be lower than that of its Chinese competitors Molycorp can actually do that? Apparently so.
    May 21 12:12 PM | 3 Likes Like |Link to Comment