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Jack Lifton

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  • What Now For Molycorp? [View article]
    I certainly do not mean to imply that Molycorp could be a producer, much less a "meaningful one, of yttrium or any other mid range or heavy rare earth. In the past its 0.1% (of the TREOs) of europium was the driver for the construction of its separation technology. Today I doubt that it is selling or even producing European competitively.
    Jul 26 10:33 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Molycorp Down Nearly 9% Mid-Day, What Happened? [View article]

    I was first advised in this manner in 2009 when at a San Francisco Hard Assets Conference I gave a talk in which I called the quest to be first to produce rare earths a "horse race." I was told later that a director of a company that I DIDN'T MENTION OR REFER TO IN ANY WAY asked his board to sue me for "not mentioning them."

    The narrow specializations today among educated people is no excuse for ignorance of the fundamental protections of the US Constitution and of Common Law. One does not libel or slander anyone or anything by stating the truth or by stating what a reasonable person would believe to be the truth. If you have a malicious intent, or are legally negligent, then it, the statement of the truth, may be actionable unless the aggrieved party is a public figure or entity such as, for example, the incompetent, ill-prepared, current President of the United States.

    In my opinion the problem at Molycorp is a misguided original business model that was, itself, changed beyond recognition by opportunistic short-sighted "corrections." The market, I believe, is reacting to the outcome of a poor business model. Many people believe that the Molycorp malaise has been caused by the general decline of the market's interest in natural resource "plays." In either case of causation the outcome is the same.

    Sue me if you don't agree.

    Jul 3 10:06 AM | 1 Like 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • What Now For Molycorp? [View article]
    Bad news guys:


    Mar 5 08:11 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Molycorp: Misconceptions And Reflexivity Present Opportunity [View article]
    My impression was based on 50 years experience with the chemistry of the rare earths, and the kerosene puddle(s!) at Mountain Pass didn't bother me at all. I have been in many chemical engineering operations.

    As my German colleague pointed out there was less background radiation in Kuantan than in his hometown of Karlsruhe.

    The issue for Molycorp is that they have spent too much money, as perhaps has Lynas, to "enter" a market too small overall to justify such expense.
    Dec 1 10:51 AM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Understanding Tesla's Giga-Scale Battery Challenges [View article]
    That's certainly accurate
    Nov 30 10:55 AM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Understanding Tesla's Life Threatening Battery Decisions [View article]
    In the late 1990s Energy Conversion Devices equipped an EV1 with NiMH batteries in place of the original Pb-acid types. As I recall the car's range went from 90 to 160 miles, but the cost was prohibitive.

    Note that the NiMH batteries used today in HEVs do not have the storage capacity or the need to power the car by themselves except in emergencies and even then just for a few miles. The NiMH batteries are there to hybridize the power train in the most efficient way.

    You are absolutely right that there just could not be enough lanthanum ever produced for even a conversion of the world's motor fleet to HEV powertrains. There might be if the habit of a multi-passenger vehicle carrying one passenger weren't so ingrained in our wasteful western culture. I well remember watching Romanian Dacia pickup trucks leaving the factory in Pitesti for export to China in the 1980s. A Romanian auto engineer said to me that these were Chinese "estate" wagons (in American English this is a "station wagon"). The pickup carried four Chinese in the cab and six more in the box, he said. Alas, my recent trips to China show me that the Chinese, at least in the cities, no longer do this. I see many large sedans moving in a river of cars along the Beijing streets around the clock with one person in them.

    Throughout history only the wealthy could afford to be fat. Now that everyone in the developed world can be fat, even on a budget wasting resources is the new insignia of wealth.
    Nov 22 09:53 AM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Tesla - Reality Is Beginning To Set In [View article]
    ICEs are not becoming or going extinct. In fact their use is growing substantially. Of this calendar year's production of "motor" vehicles I would estimate that more than 98% use ICE power. This percentage won't change, and it may decline. As the global economy grows so does the manufacturing of small cheap (ICE powered) motor vehicles.
    Look carefully at the percentage of the weight of a BEV that is the mass of the batteries. There you have the real problem. Our science and engineering are still in the Stone Age in this department, and the idea of a quick fix is a fantasy of those who do not know much about science, engineering, or manufacturing engineering.
    Nov 17 08:17 AM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Molycorp: Misconceptions And Reflexivity Present Opportunity [View article]

    Thanks for the list! When it's put down in black and white the hopeless careening from one "fix" for a bad business model to another fix for a bad business model becomes obvious. I think you left off "Jacobs Engineering," which was accused by Molycorp of "bad (mechanical) engineering as yet another reason to not take any blame for their excess capital burn last year.
    Your succinct analysis is correct.
    Until the non-Chinese rare earth industry can wean itself from the influence of the Molycorp(s ) of the world, which have over-inflated the size of the global REE markets and undervalued the key REEs while completely ignoring the complexity of the processes for refining REEs from their sources it, the industry, will be unable to get additional funding from institutional investors.
    I am always hoping that the market will decouple the Molycorp share circus from the share trading of the very few struggling real groups trying to bring non-Chinese critical REEs and their downstream processing into operation.
    A total American rare earth supply chain could have been assembled for less than one billion dollars. Now that Molycorp alone has wasted as much as 5 times, perhaps, 7 times that much I am very disappointed in Wall Street. The "sreet" either does not understand how to bring an industry forward or it does understand and just prefers to loot suckers and use other people's money for its own gain.
    I will have a lot more to say about this topic on and on in the near term.
    When Molycorp goes bankrupt everyone will say "I knew it was a bad idea, but it made me some money." This is the requiem for the American dream.
    Nov 10 08:34 AM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • 3 Highly Shorted Stocks Being Bought By Insiders [View article]
    I am confused by your description of Molycorp. You say that it " Focuses on the production and sale of rare earth oxides from stockpiled feedstocks in the western hemisphere."

    In 2009 When I visited Mountain Pass I was told that it had 22,000 tons of 70% ore concentrates on hand produced before 2002, and that it was processing enough of this to produce nearly 4,000 tpa of lathanum, cerium, and didymium "oxides." Surely this material has been exhausted. So, from where are the stockpiles coming. Are they mining again? If so then is mining output greater than separation capacity? If so what is the size of the stockpile? If not , what is going on there?

    I do not understand from Molycorp's public announcements from where the inventory is coming in any case. Is newly produced ore concentrate being characterized as an inventory of contained end-products? Is this a common practice?
    Apr 18 01:59 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Molycorp: There Will Be Blood [View article]
    I note that Molycorp had no problem promoting Dr Burbs's patents on processing as ones that would improve the efficiencies and costs of their operation. I am mystified by why my simple question is avoided and an ad hominem attack is mounted. Actually I admit that I am not mystified at all.

    So, now that you brought it up I ask again why was Dr Burba separated?? Did he offend the gods, or was the job he did deemed insufficient for his pay grade? (Which was the same as that of the President of the U.S.)
    Apr 5 09:54 AM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Russia and South Africa, which together hold ~80% of the world’s platinum-group metal reserves, reportedly plan to create an OPEC-type cartel to coordinate exports. Like OPEC, the two countries would want to be able to create a floor under platinum prices, which would help their important domestic mining industries in terms of profitability and allow them to pay poor and increasingly militant miners better wages. [View news story]
    Canada's PGM bearing deposits are years and billions of dollars away. The issue is, as always, processing. Canada's biggest PGM related asset is Ressources Miniere Pro-Or (POI.V) which can not only recycle catalysts but also recover PGMs from low grade and even from chromite ores, both at very low costs.
    Mar 28 12:28 AM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment