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.

Don’t forget America’s rare earth potential

How far out into space would you get piling, one upon one, government reports that were subsequently shelved and not acted upon? Your guess is a good as mine, but it would be a very, very long way. One such report now seemingly gathering dust was the 104-page report in 2010 from the US Geological Service entitled The Principal Rare Earth Elements Deposits of the United States – A Summary of Domestic Deposits and a Global Perspective. It was of its time: the Americans were terribly worried about their rare earth vulnerability with China controlling world supply. There will come…

Graphene breakthrough: Analysts laud one-step process

Dual liberation of graphene and graphite through a one-step process directly from raw ore: that is some claim, and one being taken seriously by analysts. In fact, two reports have just come out from Australian analysts on Talga Resources (ASX:TLG) that single out this company has being in a category of its own. For Canaccord Genuity analyst Tim McCormack the headline news is that “a transformational year lies ahead”. Warwick Grigor at Far East Capital (who has recently become a substantial shareholder in Talga) is predicting “extraordinary profits” ahead. The company had begun as Talga Gold, then moved to iron…

China still distorting the rare earth market

DZP DPP Shed external It has been a few years since China set its sights on clamping down on illegal mining and exporting of rare earths. And the result? It seems the problem has got worse, not better. According to Dudley Kingsnorth, REE expert and now professor at Curtin University in Perth, Australia, some 30% of neodymium being sold in China is moving through the illegal channels. One in three magnets contains illegally obtained rare earths. In China, illegal magnets are selling at half the prices obtaining in the official market. The result is twofold: rare earth prices are being suppressed, and the whole…

Analysts warn that we have barely begun the graphene journey

Graphene uses begin to multiply but analyst warns commercialization process will be a challenging one Graphene is moving fast from a promising new wonder material to being harnessed in a growing number of applications. Just in recent days, as reported on Investor Intel, India has developed a graphene-based sensor to detect a dangerous food toxin that is said to cause cancer; the South Koreans believe they will begin to commercialize graphene in a number of applications by 2017; there is news of a graphene light bulb and graphene’s use in mobile communications. Add to those the news that a graphene-based…

Bromby on a new view on metals of the future

570px-Aluminum_Corporation_of_China_logo_svg Gold and platinum “rare metals”? Perhaps not the best choice of terms for a book aimed at introducing readers to the less readily available metals. But American author Keith Veronese is rather locked into the terminology, courtesy of the title he chooses for his new book, Rare – The High-Stakes Race to Satisfy Our Need for the Scarcest Metals on Earth (published by Prometheus Books, New York). The terminology also bumps up against accepted usage, even though you can see what Veronese is trying to do. There are rare earths, of course, and most writers operating in this sector of…

Peak Resources: low development cost, long life mine and high (for Tanzania) hopes of mineral diversity

Peak-Resources-Tanzania-2 In 2012 gold made up 94% of Tanzania's mineral exports. The country is the third largest gold producer in Africa, but now it wants to do more. A report out of Britain this week shows that the country is, by 2018, looking to diversify into other metals. The Business Monitor International report cites coal, nickel and uranium as new areas, but the quarterly report out this week from Peak Resources (ASX:PEK) reminds us that Tanzania is likely soon to be a player in the rare earth sector, with that company aiming to produce 10,000 tonnes a year. Apart from the…

Hybrid and electric cars to help Japan fight way back into Chinese market

Japan is fighting to regain market share in China’s automobile sector with hybrid and electric cars being in the forefront of the effort. Nissan Motor has launched a demonstration test of its 300 electric vehicles in three Chinese cities ahead of the release of the EVs in China this autumn. And, in a research development, 3-D printing is coming to the electric car business. According to a report in China Daily, Japanese carmakers jointly held a market share of 19.4% in 2011. At their peak in 2008, they had more than 30%. For the past two years market share was…

Suddenly, it’s blue skies for nuclear — but the price-setters haven’t noticed

monopoly Three pieces of good news in a week for nuclear power. When was the last time that happened? Yet those who influence the uranium price do not seem to have factored this in to their calculations, with the spot price remaining this week at $28.35/lb, down in the basement at the same level as it has been since May. On several occasions I have made the point (not an original one — a few of the more perspicacious analysts put the thought into my head) that we are heading for a supply crunch real soon, and certainly by 2020, and…

Graphite: it’s no one-year wonder, as history shows

hague_graphite A scan back over the past 100 years might be in order for some of today's mainstream media commentators and reporters on the subject of graphite. Graphene is the new black to them — until the next thing comes along. Fifty or so years ago, it was graphite as the answer to aircraft weight problems, 40 years ago it was the graphite fishing rod. And we mustn't forget the dream of the "all-British pencil". But, as we will see, graphite has been on the technology breakthrough trail for many decades, graphene just being the latest wrinkle. What with graphene and…

As information continues to bombard us every day, there’s a need to keep some perspective

prediction In the mining business there’s always the risk of over-reach. Back in mid-2011, Citigroup Global Markets added up the 400 largest greenfield mining projects around the world and the capital commitment through to 2020 for those totalled close to $500 billion — or half a trillion, to put that figure in more dramatic terms. But the analysts also calculated that some twenty-four per cent of those projects were unlikely to be delivered. We await Citigroup someday going back to do an update. I bet the situation compared to their forecasts could be unrecognisable. Should all those projects have gone ahead,…