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US Urgently Needs to Do More to Achieve Supply Resilience of Rare Earth Materials

US Urgently Needs To Challenge China’s Chokehold On Rare Earth Materials

Tyler Durden

Sat, 11/21/2020 – 23:00

Authored by Lawrence Franklin via The Gatestone Institute,

One of China’s most significant advantages in the race to…

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This article was originally published by ZeroHedge.

US Urgently Needs To Challenge China’s Chokehold On Rare Earth Materials Tyler Durden Sat, 11/21/2020 – 23:00

Authored by Lawrence Franklin via The Gatestone Institute,

One of China’s most significant advantages in the race to dominate future hi-tech industrial production, among just about everything else, is its chokehold on “rare earth materials” (REM). These are materials — and the raw minerals from which they are extracted and processed — vital to the manufacture, for instance, of advanced weapons, fossil-free alternative energy systems, communication devices, computer products, and microelectronic networks.

It is an area in which China has already established dominance . The Chinese Communist Party’s near monopoly on most of these 17 rare earth materials is by now a US national security vulnerability of enormous strategic importance. China’s October 13 decision to curtail the export of these vitally needed rare earth materials should serve as an urgent warning to the US to seriously begin developing an independent supply chain of these materials.

The good news is that the Trump Administration had the foresight in 2017 to issue an Executive Order to begin the process of decoupling the US from its dependency on the Communist Chinese regime for REM. This Executive Order was followed up in early October by a Presidential declaration of a national emergency in mining, in an apparent effort to establish a US domestic REM stockpile for military requirements. China’s announced intent to ban the export of strategic REM to foreign countries could spur the US quickly and fully to implement President Trump’s directive to establish an independent REM supply chain. The Defense Department has not acted with the sense of urgency demanded by the President. In short, the DOD is dragging its feet. Consequently, if US-China relations plummet to the point where conflict appears imminent, America’s military would be disadvantaged should the Chinese decide to sever exports of REM to the US.

Presently, the US Air Force’s most advanced fighter jet, the F-35, requires about 1,000 pounds of rare earth materials, most of which are presently acquired from China. The US is also dependent on China for REM required for laser guidance missiles, other advanced weapons systems and space satellites.

Many US quality-of-life domestic products — many medical devices, such as scanners, electric automobiles, and fluorescent lighting — also rely on the availability of the Chinese REM.

To decouple, the US could establish new supply lines with countries that have unexploited deposits of REM. These include Australia, Afghanistan, India, Russia, Brazil and countries in Central Asia. The US also could capitalize on its considerable undersea technological expertise to extract REM deposits from the ocean floor. US allies, such as NATO nations, could invest in independent REM supply lines as well as create stockpiles of REM to lessen their own vulnerability regarding China,

The US, to nurture a national and internationally competitive industry, could also borrow a tactic from China by subsidizing domestic companies to invest in REM extraction and processing enterprises. Current REM sites in the US that have the potential to expand rapidly, particularly if the government provides financial and tax-free incentives, include Elk Creek Mine in Nebraska, Bokan Mine in Alaska, and Bear Lodge Mine in Wyoming. Presently, the most profitable REM site in the US is Mountain Pass Mine in California. Potentially, the most valuable US site is an area in West Texas which contains 16 of the 17 known rare earth materials.

Some of these REM and their related end products include:

  • Barite – fracking process for natural gas extraction

  • Cerium – camera lenses for telescopes

  • Dysprosium – magnets in electric vehicles and wind turbines

  • Erbium – nuclear power plant rods

  • Europium – lasers

  • Gallium – semiconductors

  • Lanthanum – specialized lighting

  • Lithium – batteries

  • Praseodymium – jet airplane engines

  • Promethium – batteries for nuclear powered systems

  • Yttrium – laser-guided missiles and bombs.

In addition to these REM, there are other critical materials that the US no longer produces. Consequently, industries are forced to import these items. An additional benefit is that the natural gas extracted by fracking helps to keep the US energy independent. Graphite, a necessary ingredient for smartphone batteries, is another critical substance.

If the US were to decide that breaking China’s monopolistic stranglehold on most of these materials was a national priority, Washington could also build REM processing plants and supply chains. Not only would these investments provide jobs, but also only then could the US proceed to transform these critical REM oxides into metallic alloys from which end products are created.

If the US remains dependent on China for REM, there may come a time when America might be forced to sacrifice a foreign policy interest — a dilemma experienced by Japan, also heavily dependent on China for REM. When China and Japan became involved in a maritime fishing dispute, Beijing cut off shipments of REM to its neighbor. The dispute was settled only when Tokyo pleaded with China to resume the export of REM and the Japanese Coast Guard in the East China Sea released the captain of a Chinese trawler that had been fishing in disputed waters. The US would do well to avoid a similar predicament by quickly decoupling its economy from dependency on China for rare earth materials — and if possible, from everything else.

Author: Tyler Durden

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Energy & Critical Metals

Explorers and Developers Targeting Cobalt Projects

By Ellsworth Dickson Historically, the metal cobalt was a by-product of mines that were mainly…

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By Ellsworth Dickson

Historically, the metal cobalt was a by-product of mines that were mainly concerned with other metals, for example, silver. That was the case for the1903 silver rush around the Town of Cobalt in northeastern Ontario. The hundreds of veins in the camp featured high-grade silver values accompanied by several cobalt minerals.

The silver rush was slow to get started but by 1906 there were 263 mining companies in the Cobalt district. Many famous mines were built such as the Coniagas, Nipissing 407, Agaunico, Silverfields, O’Brien, Glen Lake Mines, Deer Horn Mines, Agnico, Temiskaming, Trethaway, Hi-Ho, Cart Lake and more.

Silver mining continued into the 1980s with cobalt still of secondary interest. The Cobalt area mines lay dormant until about 2017 when the rising price of cobalt resulted in a staking rush with both cobalt and silver of interest. Since 2017, there have been a number of activities in the Cobalt camp – exploration and drill programs, staking, new discoveries, consolidations, changes of plans, and so on. The initial fever has naturally given way to people in it for the long haul. (more later on)

Cobalt is used to make superalloys, high-temperature alloys, cutting tools, magnetic materials, petrochemical catalysts, pharmaceuticals, steels and glaze materials. Back in the 1990s, only 1% of cobalt demand was from its use in rechargeable batteries.

Today, the cobalt market is largely being driven by “new economy” drivers, including lithium-ion batteries, consumer electronics, Electric Vehicles (EVs) and Energy Storage Systems (ESS) that are the dominant uses for lithium-ion batteries, representing 64% of cobalt demand in 2020.

Various world governments have actually mandated the manufacture of EVs and the tapering off of internal combustion engines, resulting in an EV sales growth forecast of 30%. Consequences of the COVID virus have sometimes affected the cobalt marker but that will eventually end. Cobalt is currently trading at US$24.03 per pound, up about 57% from a year ago. Consequently, cobalt explorers and developers have targeted projects in various locales around the world.

Cobalt, being a fairly rare metal, means that there are not that many cobalt projects or mines – either as a primary commodity or as a secondary product, usually with copper, nickel or silver Cobalt is not like, say, the gold or copper sector that generates many projects and mines.

Commodity trader and miner Glencore Plc [GLEN-LSE] recently said it will restart operations at the world’s largest cobalt mine, Mutanda in southeast Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), towards the end of this year and return to production in 2022.

The DRC (Kinshasa) continues to be the world’s leading source of mined cobalt, supplying approximately 70% of global mine production. The use of child labour at artisanal mines is a big problem.

According to the United States Geological Survey, 2020 mine production was DRC: 95,000 tonnes; Russia: 6,300 tonnes; Philippines: 4,700 tonnes; Canada: 3,200 tonnes; China: 2,300 tonnes; U.S.: 600 tonnes; and Australia: 5,700 tonnes. In 2020, total global production in 2020 was 140,000 tonnes with world reserves pegged at 7.1 million tonnes.

The 2021 diamond drilling program at the Fortune Minerals NICO Project, NWT.

Thanks to the burgeoning EV industry, cobalt demand is expected to steadily increase as manufacturing ramps up which bodes well for the cobalt sector.

Besides northeastern Ontario, there are not a great number of other cobalt projects in North America. One company that stands out is Fortune Minerals Limited [FT-TSX] that has attracted investor interest because its flagship NICO project in Canada’s Northwest Territories that is one of the most advanced cobalt development assets outside the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

Fortune is one of only a handful of global companies that could emerge as a possible supplier of “ethical cobalt” to consumers seeking an alternative to the DRC, currently the source of over 60% of the world’s production.

Amnesty International has warned electric car companies to seek out alternatives to the DRC, which is well known for its mineral wealth, but also civil wars and corruption.

However, Fortune is more than just a play on cobalt. The unique metal assemblage of the NICO deposit includes open pit and underground proven and probable reserves of 33 million tonnes, containing 1.1 million ounces of gold, 82 million pounds of cobalt, 102 million pounds of bismuth, and 27 million pounds of copper.

According to a 2014 feasibility study and recent optimizations, that material could support average annual production for the first 14 years of a 20-year mine life (2020 mine plan), including 1,800 tonnes per year of cobalt in battery grade cobalt sulphate, 47,000 ounces per year of gold in doré bars, 1,700 tonnes per year of bismuth in ingots and oxide and 300 tonnes per year of copper in cement precipitate.

The study suggest that ore can be extracted from a proposed open pit and underground mine and mill that will produce a bulk concentrate for shipment to a refinery that the company plans to construct in southern Canada.

The products that would be produced at the proposed refinery include cobalt chemicals used to make high performance rechargeable batteries, bismuth metals and chemicals, as well as gold.

It is worth noting that the company has received environmental assessment approval and key permits to construct and operate the NICO mine and concentrator in the Northwest Territories.

Fortune also owns the satellite Sue-Dianne copper-silver-gold deposit, located 25 kilometres north of the NICO mine site and other exploration projects in the Northwest Territories, and maintains the right to repurchase the Arctos anthracite coal deposits in northwest British Columbia that were previously bought by a British Columbia Crown corporation.

A helicopter prepares a diamond drill pad at the Fortune Minerals NICO Project, NWT.

Fortune sees Sue-Dianne as a potential future source of incremental mill feed that could extend the life of a NICO mill and concentrator

Sue-Dianne hosts an indicated resource of 8.4 million tonnes grading 0.80% copper, 3.2 g/t silver and 0.07 g/t gold. On top of that is an inferred resource of 1.62 million tonnes of grade 0.79% coper, 2.4 g/t silver and 0.07 g/t gold.

“Cobalt has a critical role in the accelerating transition to e-mobility, and advanced assets like our NICO Project are needed to help satisfy the growing demand and diversify the supply chain,” said Fortune President and CEO Robin Goad.

The NICO project is located 160 kilometres northwest of Yellowknife and 50 kilometres north of Whati, a First Nations community in the North Slave region

Due to the remote location, the Tlicho Highway, under construction for the NWT government, is a key enabler for the NICO development and is nearing completion and expected to open to the public later this year. The $213 million, 97-kilometre all-season road to the community of Whati, together with the spur road that Fortune plans to construct, will allow metal concentrates to be trucked from the mine to the rail head at Hay River or Enterprise, NWT for railway delivery to the company’s planned hydrometallurgical refinery.

Fortune has talked about a total project cost of around $775 million. But the focus now is on various optimizations and refinery sites aimed at delivering a more financially robust project compared to the one envisaged in the 2014 feasibility study.

In keeping with that effort, Fortune recently launched a 3,000-metre drill program to test for a potential expansion of the NICO deposit at the east end of the deposit. It said exploration crews will also test up to four additional targets defined by previous geology and geophysics programs.

Fortune recently raised almost $542,000 from a private placement offering of 3.9 million issued that were issued at 14 cents per unit. It also received a grant of $144,000 from the Government of the NWT.

On October 22, 2021, Fortune shares were trading at $0.13 in a 52-week range of 27 cents and $0.06, leaving the company with a market cap of $47.58 million based on 366 million shares outstanding.

Other companies within the cobalt mining space worth mentioning include:

Canada Silver Cobalt Works Inc. [CCW-TSXV; CCWOF-OTC] recently reported high-grade cobalt assays from its Castle East discovery located 1.5 km from its 100%-owned, past-producing Castle Mine near Gowganda in the silver-cobalt district northeast of the Town of Cobalt where the company has completed 42,000 metres of a 60,000-metre drill program aimed at significantly increasing its 43-101 resource estimate. Canada Silver Cobalt Works recently discovered a major high-grade silver vein system at Castle East. The company also has a pilot plant and processing facility.

Kuya Silver Corp. [KUYA-CSE] has given notice of intention to exercise an option to earn a 70% interest in all of First Cobalt Corp.’s [FCC-TSXV; FTSSF-OTCQX] remaining mineral rights in the Cobalt camp. Kuya previously acquired a 100% interest in a property package surrounding the Kerr Lake area for $4-million.

First Cobalt owns a hydrometallurgical cobalt refinery in the Town of Cobalt. The refinery has the potential to produce either a cobalt sulfate for the lithium-ion battery market or cobalt metal for the North American aerospace industry or other industrial and military applications.

With permits and building infrastructure already in place, the First Cobalt Refinery will be operational as early as 2022. Once operational, the Refinery will produce 25,000 tonnes of battery-grade cobalt sulfate per annum, representing more than 5 per cent of all cobalt produced around the world.

Cruz Battery Metals Corp. [CRUZ-CSE; BKTPF-OTC; A2DMG8], formerly Cruz Cobalt Corp., completed a three-hole, 837-metre diamond drill campaign at the Hector Silver-Cobalt property. The company is a large mineral land holder in the Cobalt area and also includes the Bucke, Coleman, Johnson and Lorraine prospects.

Fuse Cobalt Inc. [FUSE-TSXV; FUSEF-OTC; 43W3-FSE], formerly Lico Energy Metals, recently reported that the government of Ontario announced a joint $10-million investment in the First Cobalt refinery in Cobalt Ontario. Significantly, this refinery is located approximately 1,500 metres west of the company’s cobalt exploration property. Fuse holds the Teledyne Cobalt property in Bucke and Lorrain Townships as well as the Glencore Bucke property located on the west boundary of the Teledyne property.

Brixton Metals Corp. [BBB-TSXV; BBBXF-OTCQB] has 100% interests in the Langis-Hudbay silver-cobalt project near the Town of Cobalt. The Langis Mine produced 10.4 Moz silver at 25 oz/ton and 358,340 lbs of cobalt between 1908 and 1989. Between 1903 and 1953 the Hudson Mine produced 4 million ounces of silver and 185,570 lbs cobalt.

iMetal Resources Inc. [IMR-TSXV; ADTFF-OTC] reported grab sample values of 67.9, 29.6 and 11.3 g/t gold from its flagship Gowganda West property.

The Eagle mine of Lundin Mining Corp. [LUN-TSX; LUNMF-OTC; LUMI-Sweden] in Michigan produces a cobalt-bearing nickel concentrate.

Jervois Global Ltd. [JRV-TSXV, ASX; JRVMF-OTC] is constructing the Idaho cobalt project (ICP) about 40 km from Salmon, east-central Idaho. It is a primary cobalt deposit with production estimates of 1,200 tons per day of super-alloy grade high-purity cobalt metal over a 7-year mine life.

The company has committed more than US$30-million toward equipment, materials and labour costs, both on-site and for detailed engineering. Construction, procurement and engineering schedule is on time with plan and commissioning of the mine expected from mid-2022. Currently, underground construction has commenced.

The company said that this historic step marks the first time in decades that the United States will have a primary cobalt mine within its borders.

Bryce Croker, CEO of Jervois, said, “Cobalt is a crucially important material for both defense and civilian applications. The electrification of the United States and global transportation sectors are currently and expected to continue driving exceptional cobalt demand growth.”

Some analysts are predicting a 17% increase in cobalt demand this year over 2020 and even more demand in the future due to the electrification of the world’s vehicle fleet. For example, the Ford Motor Company [F-NYSE] recently announced a US$11 billion investment to build electric vehicles in Tennessee and Kentucky, creating 11,000 new jobs. News doesn’t get much better than that.

 

fortune minerals limited

Author: Resource World

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Energy & Critical Metals

ALX Resources Stock Up 8% Today – Announces Ground Prospecting Program At Javelin And McKenzie Lake Uranium Projects

ALX Resources Corp. (TSXV: AL) reported today that it has mobilized a helicopter-supported ground prospecting program at the Javelin…

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[nxtlink id="268766"]ALX Resources Corp.[/nxtlink] ([nxtlink id="268766"]TSXV: AL[/nxtlink]) reported today that it has mobilized a helicopter-supported ground prospecting program at the Javelin and McKenzie Lake uranium projects in northern Saskatchewan, Canada. The program aims to target radioactive anomalies identified in the firm’s concluded airborne radiometric and magnetic survey.

 

The two properties are located near the eastern margin of the Athabasca Basin within 65 kilometres southeast of the McArthur River uranium mine. The company’s claims on the properties were acquired during a staking rush that began in mid-September 2021.

In September and October 2021, the company tapped Special Projects Inc. to survey the properties with a radiometric system. The survey covered a total of approximately 306 square kilometres.

The program will prospect the areas identified by the survey as having elevated radioactivity. Prominent structural features with historical mineral showings will also be examined.

ALX Resources last traded at $0.125 on the TSX Venture.


Information for this briefing was found via Sedar and the companies mentioned. The author has no securities or affiliations related to this organization. Not a recommendation to buy or sell. Always do additional research and consult a professional before purchasing a security. The author holds no licenses.

The post ALX Resources Announces Ground Prospecting Program At Javelin And McKenzie Lake Uranium Projects appeared first on the deep dive.

Author: ER Velasco

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Precious Metals

Mining Stocks at 52-Week Highs

Surge Battery Metals Inc.(V.NILI) hit a new 52-week high of 37 cents on Tuesday…

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Celestica Inc. (T.CLS) hit a new 52-week high of $12.75 on Tuesday. Celestica announced Q3 financial results Tuesday. EPS came in at 35 cents, on revenue of $3.5 billion.

 

IGM Financial Inc.(T.IGM) hit a new 52-week high of $48.80 on Tuesday. Bloomberg announced today that Mackenzie Investments (Mackenzie), a leading Canadian asset management firm, has adopted PORT Enterprise, Bloomberg’s advanced portfolio analytics and risk management solution, to support its ETF business.

 

[nxtlink id="269213"]Kiplin Metals Inc.[/nxtlink](V.KIP) hit a new 52-week high of $1.03 on Tuesday. Kiplin has commenced a strategic review of several uranium projects in Athabasca, Saskatchewan, with the plan to expand the Company’s project portfolio.

 

[nxtlink id="269564"]Surge Battery Metals Inc.[/nxtlink](V.NILI) hit a new 52-week high of 37 cents on Tuesday. Surge Battery Metals has entered into a Corporate Advisory and Investment Banking Agreement with Network 1 Financial Securities, Inc. effective October 21

 

Brookfield Asset Management Inc. (T.BAM.A) hit a new 52-week high of $76.35 on Tuesday. No news stories available today.

 

Canadian Banc Corp. (T.BK) hit a new 52-week high of $12.97 on Tuesday. No news stories available today.

 

Bank of Montreal(T.BMO) hit a new 52-week high of $137.86 on Tuesday. No news stories available today.

 

Bank of Nova Scotia(T.BNS) hit a new 52-week high of $82.51 on Tuesday. No news stories available today.

 

[nxtlink id="268997"]Emerita Resources Corp.[/nxtlink](V.EMO) hit a new 52-week high of $3.26 on Tuesday. No news stories available today.

 

Freehold Royalties Ltd. (T.FRU) hit a new 52-week high of $12.00 on Tuesday. No news stories available today.

 

Financial 15 Split Corp. (T.FTN) hit a new 52-week high of $11.70 on Tuesday. No news stories available today.

 

NG Energy International Corp.(V.GASX) hit a new 52-week high of $2.03 on Tuesday. No news stories available today.

 

[nxtlink id="269063"]Gensource Potash Corporation[/nxtlink](V.GSP) hit a new 52-week high of 40 cents on Tuesday. No news stories available today.

 

Imperial Oil Limited (T.IMO) hit a new 52-week high of $44.82 on Tuesday. No news stories available today.

 

Life & Banc Split Corp. (T.LBS) hit a new 52-week high of $10.05 on Tuesday. No news stories available today.

 

MustGrow Biologics Corp (C.MGRO) hit a new 52-week high of $5.10 on Tuesday. No news stories available today.

 

National Bank of Canada (T.NA) hit a new 52-week high of $104.21 on Tuesday. No news stories available today.

 

[nxtlink id="269326"]NGEx Minerals Ltd.[/nxtlink](V.NGEX) hit a new 52-week high of $1.20 on Tuesday. No news stories available today.

 

North American Construction Group Ltd.(T.NOA) hit a new 52-week high of $21.24 on Tuesday. No news stories available today.

 

NuVista Energy Ltd.(T.NVA) hit a new 52-week high of $6.09 on Tuesday. No news stories available today.

 

Brompton Oil Split Corp. Class A Shares(T.OSP) hit a new 52-week high of $2.25 on Tuesday. No news stories available today.

 

Pipestone Energy Corp.(T.PIPE) hit a new 52-week high of $3.00 on Tuesday. No news stories available today.

 

[nxtlink id="269418"]Prime Mining Corp.[/nxtlink](V.PRYM) hit a new 52-week high of $4.87 on Tuesday. No news stories available today.

 

PrairieSky Royalty Ltd.(T.PSK) hit a new 52-week high of $16.17 on Tuesday. No news stories available today.

 

[nxtlink id="268482"]Raindrop Ventures[/nxtlink] Inc (C.RAYN) hit a new 52-week high of 40 cents on Tuesday. No news stories available today.

 

Blue Ribbon Income Fund (T.RBN.UN) hit a new 52-week high of $8.79 on Tuesday. No news stories available today.

 

Brompton Split Banc Corp. (T.SBC) hit a new 52-week high of $15.91 on Tuesday. No news stories available today.

 

Spartan Delta Corp.(T.SDE) hit a new 52-week high of $6.81 on Tuesday. No news stories available today.

 

STEP Energy Services Ltd.(T.STEP) hit a new 52-week high of $2.22 on Tuesday. No news stories available today.

 

Trican Well Services (T.TCW) hit a new 52-week high of $3.62 on Tuesday. No news stories available today.

 

 

[nxtlink id="269063"]gensource potash corporation[/nxtlink]

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