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Jack Lifton  

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  • Bloomberg: Molycorp draws interest from buyers for assets abroad [View news story]
    Isn't this exactly what Oak Tree proposed right from the start of the bankruptcy that:

    1. The mining and processing (through separation) at Mountain Pass, California be terminated, (DONE), and
    2. That the former Neo be reconstituted and sold with the proceeds going to satisfy the senior debtholders [IN PROCESS] (i.e., Oak Tree)?

    The open question is will the "buyers" of the Neo operations in China, Singapore, and nearby countries reinstate Constantine Karyannoupoulis as CEO or Chairman?

    Time will tell
    Sep 1, 2015. 12:13 PM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Molycorp's Mountain Pass facility to move to care and maintenance mode [View news story]
    Molycorp will NOT be supplying its internally produced "rare earth oxides" from its Zibo or Silimae facilities. Both are solvent extraction based separation facilities with metal making capability. IF THEY CAN GET FEED STOCKS they will supply separated rare earth compounds/blends/metal... alloys (Zibo). Thus with the addition of the Estonian facility Neo Materials goes on as if Molycorp never happened! I doubt that this was the intended resolution but for Neo its a good one unless the US Bankruptcy Court screws over Neo's non-Chinese customer base.
    Aug 26, 2015. 10:26 AM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • WSJ: Molycorp expected to skip loan payment [View news story]
    Molycorp's success as a share price play was phenomenal. A failed business model was revived to generate stock price gains unrelated to any rational analysis of the markets that the company's products were supposed to serve. And it worked. The four original "investors" put in a total of $122 million ($80 million purchase price + $42 million development costs) and then took it public. The original investors took profits ("well deserved" declared the clueless blogosphere) of nearly $2 BILLION dollars from those apparently now to be seen as dumber than they were and of course from the usual day traders, widows, and orphans. The original investors were all funds, so that their own money wasn't ever at risk.
    So now that BILLIONS of dollars have been wasted trying to re-start an industry that America originally developed through a business model that made no sense we are told by the Wall Street Journal that we should "never mind" and get on with our journey downward as a failing economic and innovative powerhouse.
    This is nonsense. When the rubble clears from the Molycorp collapse smart investors and perhaps even clueless politicians will see that innovation has brought American industry back into the rare earths markets with newer processing technologies and much lower development costs than Molycorp's managers ever dreamed. There will be a total domestic American rare earth supply chain in place competing with any and all comers by 2020; it will not however include Molycorp.
    Jun 1, 2015. 08:08 AM | 6 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Molycorp Could Run Out Of Cash By October [View article]
    The US federal government's involvement in commercial inventory subsidies ended with the cold war. The DLA today is tasked to support military production needs. The need by the US military for rare earth permanent magnets, rare earth enabled lasers, and specialty alloys for sonar and structural use is trivial. It is less than 200 tons per year, by the DoDs own admission. However it should be pointed out that the military uses magnets and alloys that need terbium, dysprosium, and yttrium to function. Molycorp produces none of these rare earths nor does its Mountain Pass deposit contain them in commercially recoverable quantities.
    I know of no exponential increase in demand for consumer magnets. The demand is there and it is growing, and, in fact, neodymium/praseodymium... production is already straining to meet current demand, but Molycorp is certainly not among the best sources of any of these either now in production or planned.
    Molycorp has been hyped to death by stock promoters, but in fact its deposit is not among the best for 21st century rare earth demand.
    May 12, 2015. 10:39 AM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Molycorp, Lynas Surge As China Eliminates Export Tariffs On Rare Earths [View article]

    At the very beginning of the late rare earth "boom," Molycorp and the rest were telling the financial community that "the more rare earths that are produced the higher the price will go." I called this the inverse law of supply and demand. So now we have the corollary to that law, which as Lynas states it is "the lower the price the higher the demand will be from those outside the lowest cost source."

    The producers of light rare earths outside of China are still stuck on "The rare earths are to be treated in the same way financially as gold was before the California gold rush of the 1850s." I can sort of understand why Lynas, the all-in costs of which, are I believe less than those in China is adhering to the new line about pent-up demand, but for Molycorp, whose all-in costs seem to be higher than those of China, to say this is problematic to me.

    At least 85% of the current global demand for the rare earths is in China. Are you agreeing that China will import "separated" light rare earths from Malaysia (shipping point) or California in place of domestic separated materials, or are you saying that the Chinese will import mixed concentrates and separate them there as the Zibo works of Molycorp has already done from California?

    Something is very wrong with the market's logic here.
    Apr 27, 2015. 11:21 AM | 4 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • What Ucore Isn't Telling You About MRT [View article]
    The debate, so far, in this article between its author and Dr Reed Izzat, who is certainly the senior working scientist in the commercialization of MRT arena, is one of the best discussions I have ever seen between an "informed" observer and a recognized expert.

    Metaphorically as I look at the clock in the faculty lounge and realize we all have classes to teach and laboratories to direct I am going to "call" the debate for Dr Izzat. But I urge investors who are not experienced, trained, or peer-reviewed not to dismiss out-of-hand Mr Kramer-Miller's well reasoned arguments. Dr Izzat holds that
    Mr Kramer-Miller has some key facts wrong. Dr Reed does not say that Mr Lramer-Miller's logic's flawed. A reasonable man would not go to Mr Kramer-Miller (or to me) to discuss the potential for or the successful application of MRT to the separation of the rare earths. This is Dr Izzat's bailiwick.

    Mr Kramer-Miller, however, represents I think the opinions (and is an opinion maker) of intelligent investors who need an interpreter of technology to assess the risk of the application of the technology to the question at hand (The increased probability of the success of Ucore's business model through adopting and using MRT).

    I am satisfied that Dr Izzat's discussions and his previous peer-reviwed work, much of which I have seen or read, show that Ucore's technology risk has been minimized by adopting MRT instead of SX. SX has failed so far outside of Asia due to lack of experience in process management. Dr Reed is also correct that capitalizing pollution controls and process management learning time makes SX too expensive for junior mining unless the SX plant is delivered turn-key by an experienced end-user (not just by an engineering company!)

    I think that IBC AT is vertically integrated as an R&D, Process development, and Engineering company, so I have a good level of confidence that their scale up protocol will succeed.

    But such a project will be expensive and there is no scale-up without "surprises," so the financing of this project will have devils in the details.

    In any case I learned from this comment stream more than I knew before both about the application of the technology and the attitude of serious investors.

    Jack Lifton
    Apr 21, 2015. 11:30 AM | 6 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Lies, Damned Lies, And Statistics: China's Preoccupation With GDP Growth [View article]
    Shouldn't your second sentence be something like:

    For this reason, the US' Democrat party is focused on restoring economic growth to a level as high as it has been on average in the past four decades.
    Mar 22, 2015. 09:18 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • The 'REE Basket Price' Deception And The Clarity Of Opex [View article]

    In the last week I have been called a "lightweight," a "shill," and a "guru." I proudly add "flamboyant" to my list of appellations.

    Note that I now refer to those rare earths from a particular deposit/processing plant that are actually of value in the market as:

    "market critical rare earths, MCREs" Thus in a typical light rare earth distribution such as that at Mountain Pass I would value only Neodymium and Praseodymium in computing an absurd "basket price." My calculation would be the total revenues of the Nd and Pr and/or the Nd/Pr in the form sold by the company minus the total cost of separating all of the rare earths contained in the original mixed concentrate minus the cost of storing or disposing of the unsale-able Ce and La. The idea of calling Ce and La produced at above the market price for which they can be sold "inventory" is almost as absurd as using the undefined term "basket price" as a general term.

    Thanks for the reference,

    Flamboyant Jack
    Mar 14, 2015. 08:46 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Will Molycorp Be Delisted? [View article]

    Not only that but for the Nickel metal hydride (lanthanum is the other metal in the hydride blend) batteries that Panasonic does make it is sourcing lanthanum either in China or from Lynas-Molycorp is not a factor). Tesla does not use rare earth permanent magnet drive-train motors, but of course rare earth permanent magnets are used in a large variety of motors and sensors in the vehicles. These REPMs are of the sintered variety not the bonded type made by Molycorp China, so Molycorp really has no advantage there either.

    Feb 1, 2015. 01:13 PM | 3 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Bankruptcy Rumors Hammer Molycorp [View article]

    I am intrigued to discover why Molymet has made such a large investment. It, Molymet, is a relatively new very well run venture. Why it got involved in such a poorly run venture as Molycorp it will need to explain to its shareholders.

    Demand is not going to grow fast enough to help Molycorp, because demand is geographically sited and the fastest growing sites are in Asia and Africa. Those markets are saturated by Chinese entrepreneurs and they are confronted by local businessmen with local resources. Molycorp is not a raw material player in those markets. Not at all.

    Jan 23, 2015. 10:54 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Bankruptcy Rumors Hammer Molycorp [View article]

    I believe that you are correct about one thing: The addition of an HRE separation unit to the existing operation at Mountain Pass would not at all need large CAPEX. The problem will be how to restructure the beast to cut the huge fixed overhead of full production of money losing amounts of LREs. You are wrong about the strength of Molycorp's vertical integration, which is today geographically and politically incoherent. Molycorp needs a lot of thought before all the kings' horses and all the kings capital can put Humpty Molycorp back together again so as to become competitive.

    Jan 23, 2015. 10:49 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Bankruptcy Rumors Hammer Molycorp [View article]
    The rare earths' infinite sized markets fantasists have always viewed Molycorp as inevitable and a mine whose time has come (back). Even as the ocean of reality washes over the decks of this Titanic of American mining mistakes they will insist that a new captain can right the ship after just (yet) one more set of repairs to its balance sheet. Thus according to their own arguments Constantine Karyannopoulos and his chosen successor, Geoff Bedford, must be failures since the idea of the mine and of Molycorp is sound, right?
    Jan 23, 2015. 09:21 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Bankruptcy Rumors Hammer Molycorp [View article]
    The rare earths' infinite sized markets fantasists have always viewed Molycorp as inevitable and a mine whose time has come (back). Even as the ocean of reality washes over the decks of this Titanic of American mining mistakes they will insist that a new captain can right the ship after just (yet) one more set of repairs to its balance sheet. Thus according to their own arguments Constantine Karyannopoulos and his chosen successor, Geoff Bedford, must be failures since the idea of the mine and of Molycorp is sound, right?
    Jan 23, 2015. 09:20 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Molycorp crushed on bankruptcy rumor [View news story]

    You are correct, but I hope that the magnitude of this scam will soon be the subject of a Harvard Case Study of a Wall Street focused on greed in an America that has lost its way. Jobs for Americans, domestic self sufficiency in raw materials; and the maintenance of America's leads in high tech industries don't seem to matter to those who run scams like this one.

    Molycorp was a story of greed; it had nothing to do with changing the dynamic of the global or American rare earths markets.

    The development of a total American rare earth supply chain is still an imperative. Forget Molycorp.

    Jack Lifton
    Jan 22, 2015. 07:34 PM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Eric Noyrez, Global Rare Earth Minerals Industry Veteran, Joins Texas Rare Earth Resources Board of Directors [View article]
    I believe that Eric Noyrez is the most experienced and most knowledgeable person in both the operations of the rare earths markets and of the rare earths supply chain in the non-Chinese world. I welcome his vote of confidence in the quality of the Texas Rare Earth Resources project and in the probability of its commercial success.

    Jack Lifton
    TRER Member of the Board
    Dec 30, 2014. 08:55 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment