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Jack Lifton

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  • Why Is Congress Agnostic About Natural Gas? [View article]

    By "curious" I asume you mean "very interesting." This morning's Wall Street Journal has a story about OEM Japanese industry saying to its new "greener" government that it has done as much as it can without harming the economy to cut back on "grrenhouse" gas emissions. I suspect that Honda, which is quoted in the story, and Toyota, which is mentioned but not quoted, may quickly look at CNG even for just that 10% reduction. Of course oncer again this will leave America's zombie car companies, GM and the other one, in the dust. I don't know what Ford is doing, but I cannot remember a time when Ford did not offer a liquid propane fue option on its pickup trucks; this was for farmers who had LPG and didn't want to store gasoline and/or diesel also for their light duty vehicles. I also remember that the fuel option was (is$) available on some Ford cars.

    "What's past is prologue" is the way the Bard of Avon put it.

    On Sep 09 08:48 AM John Petersen wrote:

    > The biggest problem NG faces is that nobody understands that it's
    > different from its traditionally more important sister oil. My back
    > of the napkin performance figures for a CNG HEV are stunning. The
    > darned thing would be within 10% of an EV in terms of CO2 emissions
    > and at least 25% cheaper to buy. When you factor in the reality that
    > all of the fuel revenue would stay in North America instead of going
    > elsewhere the logic is undeniable. I find it particularly curious
    > that Toyota and Honda seem to be stepping away from the plug-in circus
    > and taking a hard look at natural gas.
    Sep 9, 2009. 09:32 AM | 3 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Is The Rare Earth Supply Crisis Due to Peak Production Capability or Capacity? [View instapost]
    Note well, everyone, that by "capacity" I mean "validated resources and validated and inferred reserves." By "capability" I mean PP&E now in place and now in use.
    Sep 7, 2009. 08:57 PM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • The Rare Earth Security of Supply Crisis in Simplified Form [View instapost]

    I don't understand either. Why doesn't Goldman-Sachs simply write a check from petty cash or use the interest on their Chairman's net worth (in G-S stock and options) to finance this? There must be an explanation, but it may involve money and profit trumping the interests of the United States from the point of view of the globalized G-S. I hope I'm wrong, But I don't have any other explanation. Perhaps though the Lynas deal was just a lousy deal for G-S. If so why don't they just say it?

    Please tell me what is "Phase 1?"


    Jack Lifton

    On Sep 06 08:29 AM jimp wrote:

    > Regarding Lynas Corp, the potential chinese buyer CNMC, will finance
    > them to phase 1 whether or not the deal is approved by the Australian
    > govt. That was part of the "deal" with CNMC. That gives Lynas Corp
    > funding to phase 1 while looking for alternative (non CNMC) sources
    > of funding.
    > I still don't understand if Rare earths are so important, why hasn't
    > a "western" bank, Australian billionaire,etc.. stepped forward to
    > finance Lynas Corp.?
    Sep 6, 2009. 05:54 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Postal Service Set to Lead the Way in Deploying Electric Fleet [View article]
    Thus endeth the lesson.
    Sep 6, 2009. 12:57 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Postal Service Set to Lead the Way in Deploying Electric Fleet [View article]

    I have edited your words of wisdom, and I am (almost) shamelessly appropriating the following lines:

    "... the numbers are absolutely mind-boggling....We are at the dawn of a new industrial revolution that will take decades to unfold. As long as people are spending somebody else's money, there will be immense pressure for extreme solutions. When it comes to spending their own money, the pressure will tend to affordable solutions. If I've learned anything over 69 years it's that the future is never as wonderful as I dream it could be or as bad as I fear it might be. I suppose that's just another way of saying that over the long term the consensus always gets it wrong. As investors, I think our focus has to be the intermediate steps that are almost certain to benefit as the future unfolds."

    You have just written the complete text for the Guido Sarducci School of Mamnagement's course on investing in high-tech (the overview).

    If anyone thinks you have it wrong let them explain their disagreement logically and with numerical data.

    For centuries the collective wealth was wasted by tyrants and thugs for the purpose of achieving their own glory and power over others. Mostly it was wasted on monuments and war. Today we have acheived a more democratic way to waste our wealth, governemnt funding of research adn development with a specific perdetermined goal. Canute couldn't stop the tides and the nineteenth century Missouri legislature could not make pi equal 22/7. The twenty-first century solons will not be able to bend discovery and creativity to their will; sadly, I suspect they will soon return to war and theft for their personal aggrandisement as they become bored with climate change and wealth redistribution that is simply against human nature everywhere.

    Enough with philosophy. How can we make short term money from other people's hopes and dreams?
    Sep 6, 2009. 11:09 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • The Rare Earth Security of Supply Crisis in Simplified Form [View instapost]
    I think that Lynas is caught up in the political conflict between China and Australia, and I cannot see the Australian Foreign Investment Review Board allowing the Chinese to take control of Lynas. If I'm right then Lynas will not have the money to go forward. If the Chinese do get the opportunity to make an investment in Lynas but it is not for control I don't think they will do it. I do think such an offer will be made by the Australian government, and it will simply push the the further progress of Lynas into an indeterminate future time.

    As for Arafura I don't think it has completed its "metallurgy," so it is also a future delivery system.

    I really hope I'm wrong on both counts, but I do not have confidence in the near term progress of either of them right now.

    We need MolyCorp, Thorium Energy, Avalon Rare Metals, and Great Western Minerals Group more than ever for North American green technology independence and self-sufficiency.

    On Sep 05 11:52 AM calvo wrote:

    > Jack, wouldn't you think that two Australian players (Lynas and Arafura)
    > may be worthwhile investments too? Lynas seems to be the publicly-traded
    > non-Chinese company that's closest to production..
    Sep 5, 2009. 09:42 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • The Rare Earth Security of Supply Crisis in Simplified Form [View instapost]
    I'm not a financial advisor, but if I were buying shares in publicly traded REE based resource companies I would buy Avalon Rare Metals (AVL.TO) and Great Western Minerals Group (GWG.V), because they are going to be successful producers of rare earths (and other rare metals) within less than 5 years.

    I don't know when MolyCorp will go public, but I know that it will unless it is bought outright by a Fortune 500 company, or a consortium of them, for security of supply purposes. If there is such a purchase I suspect it would then involve the Canadian producers also in a mass consolidation. This consolidation by a major end-user makes so much sense that I wonder if it isn't inevitable.

    I do not own shares in any public or private REE producing or using company. I prefer this situation, because I am an independent consultant. As I have said before I have received travel expenses from all of the companies named above, and I am being paid as a consulatnt on business development by a private REE resource developer not associated with any of the above companies.

    On Sep 04 02:54 PM ARC wrote:

    > so, what you recommned to be the best purchases in ree......................
    > ...should be good sine i think the ausses will take the mowny so
    > needed ....................will that make the priice go up considerably
    > and hopefully the aussies will maintain control..................
    > Canada better and will molycorp go public soon???
    > lotsa questions from an amateur
    Sep 4, 2009. 09:42 PM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Postal Service Set to Lead the Way in Deploying Electric Fleet [View article]

    What a great idea! A real time, real world, test of many "20 kWh ... lithium-ion batteries of unspecified chemistry." I wish that investors would hold T.E.A. parties demanding that this be done before any more taxpayer money is wasting on betting on anything and everything "lithium."

    I am speaking in Seattle on October 6 at the Metals in Aerospace Conference sponsored by; my topic is Recycling Rare Metals in a Closed Loop." My audience is also to be procurement officials and engineers, but some investors always show up.

    I propose that you and I get together in Seattle and do a diavlog (A video dialog) on the two conferences, which we can post on SeekingAlpha. What do you think?
    Sep 4, 2009. 08:53 AM | 5 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • The Rare Earth Security of Supply Crisis in Simplified Form [View instapost]
    Ladies and gentlemen,

    I thank you for your support. I am a one-man shop, and I have no publicist or PR firm to support me. If anyone knows someone at Fox Business News or knows John Stossel, I would be much obliged for the contact.

    I have been invited, for the second time, to give a talk at the Annual General Meeting of Great Western Mineral Group in Saskatoon next week, and the CBC may cover it, as they did my trip to Avalon Rare Metals Thor Lake, Northwest Territories, development. My topic at the GWMG AGM is going to be a continuation and expansion of the above theme with a focus on what exactly can we do, and must we do, right now to make North America independent and self-sufficent in all of the rare earth metals (including Yttrium, by the way).

    I don't own, nor have I ever owned, stock in any Canadain company, nor, other than travel expenses, have I ever been compensated by them. I only report on companies that I like and that I think can perform. If I don't mention a company it means that either I don't know anything about them or that I do not like them-usually the first.

    It takes time and effort to value the potential of a company or a technology. Please don't fall for sound or video bites, because it takes time to explain the results of a study of a company also.
    Sep 3, 2009. 10:57 AM | 5 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • The Rare Earth Security of Supply Crisis in Simplified Form [View instapost]
    The article you read was correct, and the idea of a cut-ff of HREEs has been bruited about since at least April in Chinese REE circles. The real problem for non Chinese end users is that the production of HREEs is so small that it may not leave China anyway and all that we actually "get' may be contained in products made in China. It is easy in China's centyarlized system to simply end the allocation of a domestic resource to a company that is manufacturing for export. Thus the cut-off may have already occurred, but even if not Chinese prodcuers for export are now on notice. These policies are not set for the benefit or harm of foreigners they are for the benefit (as perceived by bureaucrats) of China!

    On Sep 02 10:02 PM Wisdom vs. Information wrote:

    > jack, i read a well-written article last night that said the rare-earth
    > cut-off was a proposal from some bureaucrats on the interior, not
    > an actual policy. thoughts? i hope you can get the word out on mining,
    > all this angst about importing oil while not allowing mining is hypocritical
    > to the point of being ridiculous. thanks for your work!
    Sep 2, 2009. 10:28 PM | 4 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • PHEVs and EVs: Plugging into a Lump of Coal [View article]
    Bull's Eye, John

    How do the econometric models look when the residual value of the battery is ZERO? In fact, at that point, IT'S A COST! How did the value of propeller driven commerical passenger aircraft fare in the 1950s as Jets (that didn't crash) were introduced? Would a car or battery company perhaps HESITATE to introduce a new technology until its current one was fully depreciated? Could any such company afford not to COVER UP or DISCOURAGE new technology? WQon't this type of speculation be used to promote every single idea to vary battery technology for vehicles from now until the end of capital markets?

    It is amazing how people simplify their models until they work and bear little or no relation to reality at all.

    On Sep 02 11:13 AM John Petersen wrote:

    > Shai Aggasi is a very smart guy and it will be interesting to see
    > how the Better Place model works in places like Denmark, Israel and
    > Japan where gasoline prices are 2x to 3x U.S. prices and driving
    > distances are typically short. I'm generally skeptical about cycle-life
    > assumptions because nobody has these new wonder batteries in vehicles
    > yet and without real world testing by people who are nowhere near
    > as predictable as computer test racks the best anybody can do is
    > estimate. I also think that anybody who believes they can use a battery
    > for five to ten years and then sell it for a significant value has
    > never sold a used five to ten year old anything. Frankly, if a new
    > battery is going to cost half as much in the future and deliver twice
    > the performance, why would a purchaser in that golden future want
    > a used battery?
    Sep 2, 2009. 11:43 AM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • PHEVs and EVs: Plugging into a Lump of Coal [View article]

    If the leaf requires 160 grams of "lithium" per kWh that means it requires approx 1 kg of lithium carbonate per kWh; I have always understood that to be Keith Evans' estimate.

    There were 27,400 metric tons of lithium, measured as the metal, produced last year; this is 155,000 mt of "lithium carbonate."

    25% of the above figure was used for storage batteries for portable electronics and tools. A negligible amount was used for motor vehilce battery packs.

    There may have been a 20% surplus of lithium produced last year.

    There is NO economical recycling process in operation today. All are disposal rather than recycling processes; i.e., someone (such as the American taxpayer is paying) is subsidizing an inherently uneconomical process. TOXCO was freezing lithium-ion batteries in liquid nitrogen to enable the "safe" disassembly of them. One wonders, if the batteries are so safe, why then go to such an extreme?

    There is no shortage even today of the supply of lithium, and it is so cheap that there can be today no economical recycling of lithium from the most currently used types. Neither the price of the lithiumitself or the cost of recycling it is now or have has been a factor in the cost of producing large scale packs for vehicle use. The costs arise from the manufacturing engineering cots for such short lived devices. There will be no changeover to lithium-ion battery packs until the hype and reality mesh and until after real time testing proves that such a battery system is economcial.

    Do any of you remember the hype about Iraq'a "crack" Republican Guard? They were last seen running from their abandoned Russian tanks as US Army forces blasted them to pieces from beyond the range of Iraqi return fire capability. A Toyota Prius can drive 500 miles in 6 hours; the same trip would take a week in a Prius. Is there really a mass market for an expensive VOLT?
    Sep 2, 2009. 07:54 AM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • PHEVs and EVs: Plugging into a Lump of Coal [View article]

    Keep in mind that all natural thorium is Th-232 and it is fertile. Moderated neutrons from fisisoning U 235 or Pu 239 will breed Th 233 which decays to U-233, which is fissionable. It is not true that there is 3 or 4 times as much minable thorium as uranium but even though there is actually much less minable thorium than uranium ALL of the natural thorium can be used to enhance a uranium reactor whereas only 0.7% of natural uranium is U-235. Thus ound for pound thorium is much more useful as a reactor fuel component than uranium. In this sense we can say that there is more throium available than uranium.

    Google my name anfd thorium ("jack Lifton" and thorium) and you will see a number of articles and links about this technology. I am in a few hours on my way to Beijing to speak about the sourcing of thorium. I am also a member of an industry trade group promoting thorium as a nuclear fuel component in Washington. Three bills are now pending as part of the 2010 defense Appropriations Act to mandate that the NRC and the Navy study thorium reactor and fuel technology with a view to licensing it.

    The Age of Thorium has begun.

    Atomic energy of Canada has already successfully tested a retrofitted CANDU with thorium enhanced uranium fuel. An anouncement about an American group formed to bring thorium reactor technology forward will be out in October, and the group's composition will surprise you as it gives you confidence in how seriously this issue is being taken.

    Just wait a little longer, please.
    Aug 30, 2009. 11:27 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • PHEVs and EVs: Plugging into a Lump of Coal [View article]
    So it came to pass that in year 9 of the false god Climate, whose priest was lithium, there arose a prophet called John and all that John foretold came to pass and the rain of truth fell and lithium dissolved to reveal bright lead underneath as it had been foretold verily by John...the text breaks off here.
    Aug 30, 2009. 08:13 AM | 13 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • How PHEVs and EVs Will Sabotage America's Drive for Energy Independence [View article]

    I was much taken by the profound nature of your comment

    --------"Trade is a two-way street with goods going in both directions. Goods coming in with money going out is not trade - it is debt - and you eventually have to pay the piper."---------

    You have succinctly (as usual) made the case for domestic production of strategic and critical natural resources.

    Producing natural resources creates wealth, not debt, so that the reduction of the need to export money or dreate debt to aquire those resources reduces debt. What the American economy is doing today is creating debt to pay for imported goods and services and then making payments on this debt by creating additional debt rather than using new wealth. It is a sucker game, and one we comdemn heartily as a "lower class" solution to overconsumption. It's like adding the fees of a "check cashing company' to your taxes just to get a quick fix.

    All of this nonsense only works when credit and confidence is high. What will happen to us if there is a world wide "correction" to the exchange rate of our currency? I hate to be a party pooper but I know it is going to happen in rare metals; they are going to skyrocket as southeast Asia, which produces or controls them now globally, recovers and withdraws them from the world market to feed their own domestic economies.

    Don't worry about rare earth metals, lithium, and cobalt you will not be able to get them at any price sometime in the next five years, and they will return to western markets only after an additional 3-7 years, the time it will take for southeast Asian investors to fund their production in poorer countries that have them in abundance such as the USA, which do not allow wealth creation through new mining at the present time. I suspect that China for example could simply offer to trade the US some existing debt for raw materials-I doubt China will continue to take new debt for old debt at the current exchange rate anyway.

    I told you I was pessimestic in the short term. I am fatalistic in the long term.

    I remember reading long ago that Gibbon wrote (I'm paraphrasing) that "in the end 200,000 barbarians swept aside a like number of Rome's legions. Yet it is clear from our study of history that any one of Caesar's legions could have swept them aside easily..."

    Is an evolving mixed economy dedicated to the uplift of its nation going to sweep aside fragmented free market capitalism?
    Aug 29, 2009. 09:38 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment