Rare Metals Commentary
2nd Annual Rare Earths & Strategic Metals
12 January 2012
In February 2012 Mining IQ will be holding the second annual Rare Earths & Strategic Metals conference in Sydney. With China’s reduction of rare earth exports, the rare earth industry has received a surge of interest. Over the past year there has been significant growth in the sector with new projects and developments forming across the globe. However some industry experts suggest that the majority of projects will not reach the production phase.
For more information, please visit the Rare Earths & Strategic Metals Conference website.
11 January 2010
Lithium, a rare metal in short supply, is an integral element for the next generation of green products and electric cars. Without it the green revolution grinds to a halt. So are there any alternatives to this type of battery technology?
If you move further along the periodic table, you will find Magnesium, and this week Bloomberg reported that Toyota Motor Corp announced they are developing a magnesium battery that will hold twice the energy of lithium-ion. Not only would such a move alleviate the strain on obtaining lithium supplies, but it would revolutionize the amount of drive time electric cars could achieve, due to a doubling in the amount of energy stored. However, Toyota has indicated that it may take up to a decade to commercialise the technology by 2020.
Interestingly, Toyota's U.S. unit based in Torrance, is also looking at other potential battery materials such as aluminium and calcium, so there appears to be a real drive by Japan's automakers to continually improve on battery technology and remain a clear world leader within the electric car sector.
Also published yesterday is a report from one of my favourite alternative financial websites Financial Sense, providing much detail about the excitement around magnesium and the potential to develop this resource as an alternative to lithium. I highly recommend you have a read of this extensive report, which also covers a variety of other exciting developments in the field of energy storage, including liquid battery technology which offers an alternative storage technique for solar energy. Magensium also appears to be superior to hydrogen, currently used either to directly power vehicles, or as part of a fuel cell used to generate electricity to power vehicles. As per Discovery News' arcticle, magnesium stores about 10 times as much energy as hydrogen, and best of all, there is enough of magnesium in seawater to provide energy for 300,000 years!
Aside from rare earth metal investments, it would also be wise to keep an eye alternative materials such as magnesium and seek out shares in any companies who are able to successfully commercialize this exciting battery technology over the coming decade.
11 January 2010
As the Founder of RareMetalInvestor.com, I am constantly finding more and more applications dependent on rare earth metals which I was unaware of. One such application came to light this week in a report from The Wall Street Journal, where they quoted "The skyrocketing cost of rare-earth metals from China is pushing up the cost of gasoline production in the U.S."
Due to many of the rare earths (such as lanthanum and cerium) used in refiners catalytic cracking units almost tripling last year, this additional cost is expected to cost around $147,000 per month to a refiner. These added costs will ultimately work their way down to fuel prices at the pump and yet another reason for many large U.S, Canadian and Australian rare earth miners to push on with bringing their mines online to production.
08 January 2010
The Energy Report has released a fantastic in-depth interview concerning the rare earth metal Lithium, with Dr. Jon Hykway head of global research with Toronto-based Byron Capital Markets. For anyone with their finger on the lithium pulse, I highly recommend this read, not to be missed.
06 January 2010
A recent Department of Energy Report released on 17 December 2010,warned that the American economy is vulnerable to shortages of rare earth elements. This very extensive 165 page document is well worth a look by anyone wishing to educate themselves further about rare earth metals and the implications they have on the clean energy economy.
This report examines the role of rare earth metals and other materials in the clean energy economy. It was prepared by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) based on data collected and research performed during 2010. Its main conclusions include:
• Several clean energy technologies—including wind turbines, electric vehicles, photovoltaic cells and fluorescent lighting—use materials at risk of supply disruptions in the short term. Those risks will generally decrease in the medium and long term.
• Clean energy technologies currently constitute about 20 percent of global consumption of critical materials. As clean energy technologies are deployed more widely in the decades ahead, their share of global consumption of critical materials will likely grow.
• Of the materials analyzed, five rare earth metals (dysprosium, neodymium, terbium, europium and yttrium), as well as indium, are assessed as most critical in the short term. For this purpose, “criticality” is a measure that combines importance to the clean energy economy and risk of supply disruption.
• Sound policies and strategic investments can reduce the risk of supply disruptions, especially in the medium and long term.
• Data with respect to many of the issues considered in this report are sparse
13 November 2010
The Financial Sense Newshour (FSN) us asking listeners this week, about rare earth elements and how important they are to our future.
Click Here to Vote Now and see what the results of others are..
13 November 2010
An excellent source of alternative investing news, Financial Sense has just released a 1 hour podcast titled "RARE EARTH METALS—OPPORTUNITIES AND PITFALLS". Be sure to go to their website and download in MP3, Real Player, WinAmp or Windows Media format. Overview below:
Dr. Matthew James: This week Jim Puplava interviews Dr. Matthew James, Exec. VP of Lynas Corp Ltd. of Australia, on the Financial Sense Newshour. Dr. James discusses his firm’s outlook, its strategic location, as well as their plans to build a processing plant in Malaysia, instead of China.
Kevin Kerr: On this week’s Financial Sense Newshour, Jim Puplava speaks with Kevin Kerr of Kerr Trading International to discuss China’s control of the Rare Earth Metals market, and the major players outside China looking to gain market share.
Jim Engdahl: This week Jim Puplava interviews Great Western Minerals CEO Jim Engdahl on the Financial Sense Newshour. They discuss the three stages in the Rare Earth sector; mining, separation, and processing; as well as the future prospects of Great Western.
03 October 2010
Following on from our most extensive world-wide index of Rare Metal Mining Stocks, RareMetalInvestor.com is pleased to announce our much awaited Rare Metal Manufacturing Companies directory.
The mining and extraction of rare earth metals forms only one part of the critical supply chain. The manufacturing companies listed in our directory are responsible for the refining and manufacturing of rare earth metals into the various forms of powders, oxides, alloys and ingots required to meet the demands of industry; and also represent an opportunity to invest in an alternative sector of the rare metals market. We will be continually adding more companies to this index, as we validate them as suitable for inclusion, so please check the WEBSITE UPDATES on the right-hand side.
- Monday, 05 April 2010
- This week I found many articles after trawling through the web, about reports out of Japan's Nikkei, that the Japanese government is considering to offer economic aid to Bolivia in return for supplies of Lithium; the rare earth metal essential to Japan's booming hybrid car manufacturing companies. As reported in the Nikkei below:
- "In what would be the first such deal, the government is considering extending tens of billions of yen in loans by May or June to help build a 100-megawatt geothermal power plant planned by Bolivia, which in turn would allow Japan to secure supplies of lithium...Japan will also continue to cooperate scientifically and technologically to build businesses around lithium.
- About half of the world’s lithium deposits are believed to be in Bolivia’s Great Lake of Uyuni. Japan, France, Brazil and other countries are vying to tap these mostly undeveloped reserves. Bolivia is expected to decide in the first half of this year which companies will be awarded the development work."
- This is the first I have ever heard of a government doing such a thing, offering aid in return for access to steady supplies of strategic rare earth metals, and signifies to me at least, the desperation to secure not necessarily an immediate, but long-term supply of readily available Lithium for the manufacture of their hybrid vehicle batteries, like those in Toyota's Prius.
- With China now looking to enforce quotas and/or bans on certain rare earth metals, unless Japan's automakers wish to move their high-quality hybrid car manufacturing industry offshore to China in order to access such resources, it makes perfect sense that they should explore such alternative options from other countries. I have also read articles about Japan also looking to invest in Australia's mining sector for the very same reason, to secure long term sources of rare metals. This I will discuss in a future article after researching more into the Japanese rare metal manufacturing market.
- One other thought, it may be a distinct possbility that China will also use such techniques, having use similiar aid deals over the past 5 yeas to secure oil from African nations.
- Sunday, 28 March 2010
- One excellent website I have found useful for monitoring statistics and information on the worldwide supply of, demand for, and flow of minerals and materials essential to the U.S. economy (including rare earth metals), national security, and protection of the environment; is the US Geological Survey's Commodity Statistics and Information website. The site provides a useful alphabetical index to publications, contacts, and links to more information.