Robin Bromby

About Robin Bromby

Robin Bromby is a journalist, author and sometime publisher who has had titles issued by mainstream publishers, including Doubleday, Simon & Schuster and Lothian Books. Robin began as a cadet journalist in 1962 with The Dominion, the morning paper in Wellington, New Zealand. He also worked for the NZ Broadcasting Corporation, TV1, the South China Morning Post, The Herald (Melbourne), the Sunday Times (Wellington), The National Times (Sydney) and, since 1988, he has been first a staff reporter and now columnist for The Australian and has been a Senior Editor for InvestorIntel since the onset.

Australian miners claim big graphite advances

It has been quite a week on the Australian graphite scene with at least three technology breakthroughs. As posted here on InvestorIntel overnight you will have seen one more company confirming it can produce graphene in a single-step process. On top of that, one player is moving into producing Super Sand, while another is proving up its ability to offer expandable graphite. As I have previously reported, Sydney-based analyst Warwick Grigor of Far East Capital has become an enthusiastic backer of graphene. In his latest client note he reports that, at a recent Sydney resources forum, he addressed the audience…

Technology Metals: The Forgotten Players

forgotten Brazil a future rare earth powerhouse? Poland a leading silver player anytime soon? India a forgotten graphite producer? And all that antimony in Bolivia! (And does anyone remember that large potash deposit lying under central Michigan?) A browse through the latest commodity reports compiled by the U.S. Geological Service is a timely reminder for many of the complexity of potential supply sources of resources of various technology metals. Call them the forgotten players. Antimony: In late 2013 a producer restarted an historic antimony mine near Reno, NV. A Canadian company produces the metal in the Australian state of Victoria, another…

The Lithium Connection: Why Europe eyes South America

Bolivia has long been waiting in the wings to become a lithium power. Now it seems to be on its way with two German and one Swiss company bidding for the right to build a lithium processing plant in the South American country. The government in La Paz announced that only these three firms [Germany's K-Utec and Ercosplan, with Swiss SEP) had met Bolivia's technical specifications. This development is particularly significant from Europe’s point of view. The European Commission’s European Innovation Partnership on Raw Materials is working on lithium extraction technologies with the aim of being ready to go in…

Uruguay loosens medical cannabis rules, makes possible new hemp varieties

Imagination-1 Uruguay made the headlines 17 month ago by being the first country to completely decriminalize marijuana use, a decision that was not without controversy and opposition – for example, the country’s pharmacies have refused to distribute the product. But that’s recreational cannabis; this report is about medical cannabis and here, again, Uruguay seems to be setting the pace: it was the first nation in the world to fully legalise the research and development, as well as cultivation, distribution, sale and consumption of non-synthetic cannabinoids and hemp. Enter a junior Australian exploration company looking for a new direction. International Goldfields (ASX:IGS)…

China’s new tax to put a fire under the non-China rare earth sector

fire China's old export controls are gone, the new resource tax is in place – between 7.5% and 11.5% for light rare earths and 27% for medium and heavy rare earths (and 6.5% for tungsten and 11% for molybdenum). George Bauk of Northern Minerals Ltd. (ASX:NTU) sees it as the light at the end of the tunnel. “The resource tax could be the beginning of the rare earth sector coming back,” he said during an interview in Sydney today. Like most people in the industry outside China, Bauk is trying to get to grips with the policies now regulating Chinese rare…

Cobre Montana plans to ride lithium wave

Batteries and lithium should be in the news today, with Tesla’s Elon Musk tipped to be making an announcement, expected to be about the company producing a large lithium battery capable of powering a house – which is a step up from Tesla’s initial thrust of powering automobiles. The battery is tipped to be large enough, and its storage capacity sufficient, to keep all the lights and appliances going in a home. The battery can be re-charged at night when off-peak rates apply (or topped up by wind or solar installations). Press reports put the price of these batteries at $13,000 each.…

Gold – The metal that raises passions like no other (and may soon be harder to find)

Gold is behaving quite strangely at present: it is showing remarkable stability, seemingly able to rebound to around the $1,200/oz mark even if the speculators try (yet again!) to knock it off its perch. But gold companies will no doubt be feeling this is a good thing: for one thing, it demonstrates that gold is able to stand its ground which, in turn, means they can proceed with their plans with some confidence. Investor Intel has, as sponsors, Carlisle Goldfields (TSX:CGJ | OTCQX: CGJCF) which is part a joint venture with plans to spend another C$13 million on further work…

Canadian involved in uranium dispute found dead in Mongolia

Doak-Jim A Canadian businessman involved in a $100 million-plus dispute over a uranium deposit in Mongolia has been found dead in his hotel room in that country, according to press reports from Toronto. No details have yet emerged as to the cause of death. But Toronto’s Globe & Mail reports that Jim Doak, 59, had been in the country in his role as chairman of Khan Resources Inc., a small uranium company that has been engaged in a long legal battle with the government in Ulan Bator. A friend of Mr Doak’s told InvestorIntel that the businessman was a very fit,…

Peak can block 80% of cerium — and transform project economics

In these days of subdued rare earth prices, scant investor interest in the sector, and the need to do something to attract the market’s attention, strategy is a key requirement. Peak Resources (ASX:PEK) has already signalled it is prioritizing toward concentrating on the REE that are used in magnets. Today the company has refined that strategy. Magnet metals are in the planned mix, cerium not so much. The company has found a way to reduce the amount of cerium being produced in its treatment plant, a technology that will be watched with interest by the rest of the world’s rare…

A timely reminder of how the world graphite map is about to be redrawn

When you come to think about it, graphite is not only the future for many companies – but also of the future. Why make this point? Well, blame the South Australian state government. In an effort to remind us all that is a contender in the rush to seize the graphite prizes (and perhaps feeling it has been overlooked and forgotten with all the spectacular developments around the world, especially Mozambique) the state has just posted a detailed presentation on its graphite capability. There is one page that shows a graphite world that may be about to be altered dramatically.…