Rare Earth Minerals

July 4, 2011

Are Molycorp,REE Stocks in Trouble as 100 Billion Tons of Rare Earth Minerals found beneath Pacific by Japanese

Japan is now looking to develop mines in Vietnam and Kazakhstan to secure these minerals which are essential to the green and defense industries.The desperation seems high amongst the Japanese as they are also looking to prospect for these minerals in the seas surrounding Japan.Besides these efforts to secure these minerals from newer sources,METI is also looking to recycling and efficiency measures.A University of Tokyo geologist has said that around 100 billon of rare earth deposits have been discoverd on the sea floor of the Pacific in international waters.Note around 100-150,000 tons of rare earth minerals are used per year which would imply that just using this deposit would keep the global rare earth demand supplied for 10,000 years.
June 30, 2011

Metal Recycling Importance increasing with Green credentials, Peak Everything and Rising Prices (Metallum,CMA)

This has started to make smart money increasingly interested in metal recycles.KKR the leading PE firm has made a $95 million dollar bet acquiring a leading metal recycler CMA. First Reserve followed suit soon afterwards with a 10 time bigger bet buying Metallum.Note e-waste recycling has become a highly profitable business as well both due to increasing government regulation and rising realizations from the useful products like gold,silver,copper extracted after recycling.Recycling is a Green alternative to extracting metal from mining as it uses less money,effort,energy reducing GHG emissions.
April 25, 2011

China puts Quotas on Production of tungsten,iron,rare earth,antimony and molybdenum in National Interest

China has recently put increased scrutiny and control over the mining,smelting and export of important minerals like tungsten and rare earth oxides.Note mining in China often takes place illegaly without any regard to environment in quest for a quick buck.Japan which is the largest importer of rare earth oxides from China gets most of its demand met through illegal mining.However China has cracked down on this practise as it regards these minerals like tungsten,iron,rare earth,antimony and molybdenum as important for national goals.China has severely curtailed the exports of rare earth exports leading to a sharp rise in rare earth prices and stocks of rare earth companies.This has sparked concern in developed countries and blocks like EU,Japan and USA which has taken the case to the WTO.
April 22, 2011

India's Mining Industry controlled by handful of Mining Companies (Vedanta,Hindalco,NMDC,CIL) – India's Mineral Production, Policies and Issues

Mining Industry in India is an important economic sector which contributes significantly to the economy of India. India's minerals range from both metallic and non-metallic types.The total working mines were 2,854 in 2007-08 with 569 mines belonged to coal and lignite, 676 mines to metallic minerals and 1,609 mines to non-metallic minerals.There were 755 mines in public sector and the remaining 2,099 mines in private sector.India is an important exporter of iron ore, titanium, manganese, bauxite, granite, and imports cobalt, mercury, graphite etc. India mineral resources of the country are surveyed by the Indian Ministry of Mines, which also regulates the manner in which these resources are used. The ministry oversees the various aspects of industrial mining in the country.Note Mining in India comes under both the ferderal and state supervision.
February 18, 2011

China found to be Illegally Hoarding up on Minerals by WTO

China has come under a lot of fire for its proectionist trade policies from mulitnational corporations like Siemens,GE,Google as well as its major trading partners.One of the bones of contention is its export restrictions on crucial minerals like zinc,lead,cadmium, gold, indium, iron ore, lime, lead, manganese, mercury, molybdenum, phosphate, salt, tin, tungsten, vanadium and zinc.China is surprisingly the biggest producer of these minerals and has been hoarding these minerals.Note China is the biggest importer of minerals like copper,coal,iron ore etc. so its hoarding is surprising.This action by China came under the scanner when it restricted the export of rare earth minerals over a small dispute with Japan.This resulted in alarm bells ringing in Europe,USA and Japan.These countries scurried for alternative sources of these crucial REE in other places as China controlled more than 95% of the world's supply.
December 15, 2010

US vulnerable to Rare Earth Supply Disuptions even as China raises 2011 Export Tax on REE

Rare Earth Metals promise to be a continuing geopolitical drama for the coming few years as Chinese monopoly over these crucial raw materials continues.Japan has already been at the receiving end of a Chinese exports embargo once and has its companies scattering to secure rare earth mineral resources in varied places like India,Mongolia, Kazakhstan, Vietnam.Hitachi is looking to increase recycling of rare earth minerals while other companies too are looking to optimize and reuse these metals.USA is currently less susceptible to rare earth disruptions as its requirements are quite low and anyway it imports most of the products using rare earth in finished form.
December 9, 2010

Showa,Hitachi join other Japanese conglomerates Sumitomo,Mitsubishi in Rare Metal Hunt

Japan has been desperately looking for Rare Earth Resources after China used its monopolistic position to embargo the supply of REE to Japan.Sojitz has signed a supply deal with new Australian REE developer Lynas while Toshiba is looking to set up a plant in India to mine Rare Metals from the monazite sands of the defunct REE extraction plant in Orissa.Sumitomo the Japanese trading giant too is rumored to be picking up a stake in US REE company Molycorp which expects to soon start its California mine which was shuttered a decade ago after China's low prices bankrupted the REE producers all over the world
November 29, 2010

Toshiba Leads Japanese Search for Rare Earth in Mongolia,Kazakhstan and Uranium Processing

Toshiba,the Japanese Conglomerate with diversified interests in Electronics,Nuclear Energy Equipment,NAND Memory is leading the Japanese Search for Rare Earth Minerals.Fears of Chinese monopoly over production of REE came true,when Exports to Japan were blocked over a shipping incident.EU and USA have long been concerned with the Chinese control of 95% of the global REE production with USA even thinking of taking China to the WTO.Japan has recently drastically increased its investment into finding new sources of Rare Earth with recent deals with Vietnam,India,Kazakhstan and others.Sojitz, a Trading Zaibatsu recently signed a long term supply deal with Lynas.Toshiba is the other Japanese firm actively scouting for Rare Earth Minerals looking for newer processes and geographies.
November 24, 2010

Rare Earth Australian Company Lynas to Accelerate Production on back of Japanese Demand

Australian Company Lynas Corporation is going to accelerate the production from its Mt. Weld Mining Project in Australia in order to meet increased demand from Japanese companies.Lynas is building a 20,000 tons rare earth mine in Australia with processing to be done in Malaysia.The company had raised around $500 million with strong institutional backing to boost the supply of non-Chinese Rare Earth Production.The Rare Earth Mineral Frenzy has cooled a bit but the supply picture is still in a constrained mode with Chinese exports of REE falling by 77% in the month of October.Japan is the most exposed to the Chinese slowdown of REE minerals with a large processing industry and consumption sector.Japan has been frantically looking towards the surrounding seas,Vietnam and Kazakhstan as China has used its monopoly position for political ends.
November 23, 2010

Chinese Rare Exports Contraction Continues to make Japan Fret

Chines Rare Exports in October have dropped dramatically to 3 figures from around 3660 tons in September reflecting  the Chinese-Japan Tensions and Export Quotas imposed by […]
October 30, 2010

Rare Earth Metal ETF REMX Review – Cheap Well Diversified Way to Play the High Risk sector

Van Eck Global has come out with a Rare Earth Metals ETF (REMX) which offers investors an opportunity to get a diversified exposure to this commodity sector .Rare Earth has become a "geopolitical problem" rather than a demand/supply problem with Chinese monopoly over the mining and production of REE.Note materials for Green Industries have become a hot investment sector in recent days with current and future shortages fueling a strong price rally.Global X had launched a Lithium (LIT) ETF which is an investment vehicle into Lithium and Battery/EV producers.Like LIT which can hardly be called a pure play Lithium play,REMX is also not a pure investment into the REE sector.Rather it offers an investment into a wide variety of strategic ores and metals such as titanium,zirconium etc.REMX analysis shows that it is very well diversified geographically and across companies.This is a good in my opinion since many of the rare earth companies that have recently seen their stock prices shooting up are very risky.Most of these companies will take anywhere between 1-5 years to start production and the quality of their reserves,management,environment permitting etc. is highly uncertain.Note mining of rare earths is very environment unfriendly which is ironic since they are mainly used in Green Industry.Here is a list of the features of this new ETF
October 27, 2010

Rare Earth "Geopolitical Problem" to feature in G-20 talks even as USA looks to boost Domestic Supply through Legislation

USA is the 2nd largest importer of REE and it has thought of taking the issue to WTO.But the WTO has proved to be quite toothless delaying the hearing of issue till 2011.Obama has decided to rake up the REE shortage in the G-20 meeting even as US Senate thinks of passing legislation to boost domestic sources of REE.Molycorp was up more than 11% forming yet another lifetime high on the news.Note the US Congress has already passed a REE law and the Senate needs to endorse the draft in order for it to become law.Rare Earth Elements have a Defense Angle to them as well as many of the REE such as samarium are used in Defense Products.Radars,Pathfinders,Smart Bombs and a number of hitech weaponry require Rare Elements for their production.Without a domestic source,USA might be put at a serious disadvantage in the coming decades.
October 26, 2010

Rare Earth Elements – Chinese Intransigence a Midas Touch which could turn Indian Sand into Gold

Chinese Monopoly over Rare Earth Elements has Foreign Governments worried Rare Earth Elements (REE) have become a hot media top with the unofficial Chinese export embargo to Japan.REEs are crucial raw materials for a wide range of industries in the Green and Defense Sectors.The Chinese monopoly over the production and supply of these commodities have made EU and USA thinking of taking the WTO route.However this had not detered China from clamping down on the production and exports.China wants to use these minerals as a strategic resource to force Green companies to relocate to China and transfer hard to get technologies to local Chinese companies.Note while EU and USA are looking to export Green Product to China,the government there has shrewdly only given permissions to companies willing to transfer technology. Can India take Advantage to become a Leading Supplier Rare Earth Element Deposits are found in many places in the world but due the Chinese undercutting of prices and lax environmental regulations had all but shuttered every mine in the non-Chinese geographies.Recent Chinese moves have opened up oppurtunities for REE mines as prices have increased by almsot 5-10x in the last few months.Lynas Corp is opening up a mine in Australia while Molycorp is reopening its mine in Mountain Pass,Californa.India also has a long history of production and export of REE . However its production of around 2500 tons is only 2% of the estimated Chinese yearly production of 130,000 tons.
October 24, 2010

WTO defers Chinese Rare Earth Ruling even as Shortages Lead to Company Bankruptcy and Exponential Price Increases

WTO Defers Chinese Case to 2011 European Union,Mexico and USA had filed a case with WTO in 2009 over the Chinese monopoly and trade resticitions of rare earth minerals.However WTO has failed to resolve the issue despite a time limit of 6 months.The WTO Panel has defered the WTO case to April 2011 without assigning a reason.WTO is more of a negotiatino forum rather than a body which can punish violators .To expect WTO to make China increase it export quota of rare earth minerals is like living in a fool's paradise.Trade Tensions between China and other world trade powers is already very high.Currency and Global Imbalances are already major issues which threaten to derail the world economic recovery (however faint it maybe).Rare Earth Minerals are proving to be another big thorn in trade relations between China and the West.
October 22, 2010

Is South Korea being Realistic on Reducing Chinese Rare Earth Imports Dependence

South Korea has said that it would reduce its dependence on China for rare earth minerals.The Country has reduced imports of Rare Earth Minerals from 7398 tons in 2005 to 2655 tons in 2009.Note most of the reduction came after South Korean Chaebols Samsung and LG shifted their production from CRTs to LCD and Plasma Display Panels.The country now imports 65% of its REE requirements from China and most of the rest from Japan.The country plans to increase cooperation with traditional ally USA and Japan to meet future demand for these commodities.However I have my doubt whether South Korea can reduce its dependence.South Korea has embarked on a major Green Stimulus which is the biggest as a percentage amongst Developed Countries.This is going to mean increased demand for rare earth minerals which are essential for Magnets in Wind Turbines and Batteries and Catalytic Converters for Electric Vehicles.Japan is already planning huge investments into developing alternate supply sources,perhaps South Korea needs to show that urgency as well
October 20, 2010

Chinese Contradictory and Obfuscating Cues Indicate more Rare Earth Stock Gains

Rare Earth Metals which are sold as oxides have seen an exponential price rise in recent months with the corresponding rise in stock prices of rare earth stocks like Lynas,Molycorp,Avalon,Jiangxi Copper,Chinalco,Inner Mongolia Bao-Tao etc.While China has now said that it will increase production and exports of rare earth minerals next year,the confusing signals are sure to keep the prices of the rare earth minerals high.Note the reserves and production of rare earth minerals are finite and their uses growing ,the prices of rare earth minerals are bound to increase.While the last 2 months increase has been due to a combination of geopolitical factors,quantitative easing and speculation,it looks in the years ahead rare earth price should keep increasing.Note other supply sources are being developed in Russia,Vietnam,Kazakhstan,Australia,Africa and Canada.So there will be a lots of ups and downs,however the secular growth story of rare earth prices is intact.
October 5, 2010

Scared Japan to Mine Rare Earth Minerals in Kazakhstan,Vietnam and Surrounding Seas

Japan is now looking to develop mines in Vietnam and Kazakhstan to secure these minerals which are essential to the green and defence industries.The desperation seems high amongst the Japanese as they are also looking to prospect for these minerals in the seas surrounding Japan.Besides these efforts to secure these minerals from newer sources,METI is also looking to recycling and efficiency measures.The Government will set up reprocessing plants in Japan in order to reduce dependence as well as invest in newer methods and processes to increase the efficiency of the usage of these Rare Earth Minerals.While the embargo seems to have eased with reports that the Chinese have allowed one ship with Rare Earth Minerals to proceed to Japan,the future seems uncertain.Lynas Corp ,the Australian Rare Earth Miner which is going to start production in 2011 has said that it has got a Japanese customer for its products.
September 23, 2010

Fears of Chinese Monopoly of Rare Earth come True as Informal Embargo Imposed on Exports to Japan

Recently Rare Earth Minerals Companies have seen sharply rising exports.Molycorp which came out with an IPO in the US markets has seen its stock price shooting up despite not producing commercial quantities.Other Australian and Canadian Companies have also seen steep increase in stock price.The Chinese Embargo should lead to further price appreciation as other countries focus on expanding supply and production of these minerals.The recent spat between Japan and China over a fishing boat incident has escalated in recent times with the top leadership in China taking issues.China's relations with other countries have deteriorated in recent times with increasing trade friction with USA,Currency and Territorial Issues with Japan and growing Tension with India over border and land issues.
August 31, 2010

Japan joins EU and USA in raising concerns over Chinese Muscle Flexing of its Monopoly on Rare Earth Minerals

Japan is the latest country to raise concerns over the Chinese Monopoly over Rare Earth Minerals.These 17 Minerals are essential for High Technology and Green Industries of the Future and China has a control over 97% of the global deposits of these minerals.The EU had recently warned over the adverse effect over the shortage of these rare minerals while USA is contemplating taking China to the WTO over the same matter.China has defended its action saying that mining of these minerals leads to environmental degradation has reduced the export quota drastically by 72% in the 2nd half of 2010 compared to the First Half.Japanese automakers like Honda,Toyota and Nissan have big plans in the Green Vehicle Sector which uses big amounts of these minerals imported from the mainland.However China's cracking down over illegal exports and tightening control over these rare minerals has sent down tremors in Japan.
July 29, 2010

Rare Earth Mineral IPO looks risky – Molycorp seeks to raise upto $478 million to build Mojave Desert mine

Rare  Earth Minerals have been in the news because of their necessity in production of Clean Technology products and a virtual Chinese monopoly which controls almost […]
July 2, 2010

China approves only Domestic Automakers for Fuel Efficiency Subsidies

It was earlier reported that China would promotes its CleanTech Industry through Electric Vehicle subsidies.It would give between $7000-9000 in subsidies to Electric Vehicles and Hybrid […]
June 22, 2010

US may take China to the WTO over Rare Earth Mineral Export Restrictions

First the European Union raised an alarm over shortage of 14 materials used in new age Green Industries most of which are found in China.Now the […]
June 20, 2010

EU warns of shortage of of rare earth minerals even as China tightens control

China is planning to increase control of rare earth minerals mined in its territory after cracking down on illegal exports of these minerals.These minerals form an […]
May 21, 2010

China cracks down on illegal mining of rare earth minerals which are essential for Green Technology

China which possesses 97% of the total rare earth minerals required by the new age Green Industry has further tightened its grip by cracking down on […]