August 13, 2014 — Tracy Weslosky, Editor-in-Chief and Publisher of InvestorIntel, speaks to leaders from the rare earths sector in the United States to gauge their support for HR Bill 4883. On June 17 of this year, US House Representative, Steve Stockman, introduced Bill HR 4883 “to provide for the establishment of a National Rare-Earth Refinery Cooperative, and for other purposes. The Bill was referred to the House Committee on Armed Services. The Bill intends to reduce the United States’ reliance on Chinese rare earths by encouraging an increase in US production by facilitating the processing of thorium-bearing rare-earth concentrates as residual unprocessed and unrefined ores. The general point of the law is to encourage the US defense department to purchase rare earth minerals from domestic sources.
Anthony Marchese, the Chairman for Texas Rare Earth Resources Corp (OTCQX: TRER) says that he has spoken to Congressman Stockman, who is from Houston. Anthony says that the Bill “neither helps not hurts us but it is very important in that it focuses the US Congress on the problem of trying to stimulate a domestic rare earth program, especially for defense.”
Jack Lifton the Founding Principal of Technology Metals Research LLC considers HR 4883 as “the right idea but they’re going at it the wrong way.” Jack is concerned about the emphasis on thorium because “this is something that is not going to happen in any reasonable amount of time.” The main problem is that pegging the advancement of rare earth refining in the United States to an eventual adoption of thorium based nuclear reactors is “simply too long a shot…and thorium is not going to be a good driver for the future of rare earths.”
Jim McKenzie, the President and CEO for Ucore Rare Metals (TSXV: UCU | OTCQX: UURAF), suggests that while it is a commendable effort to encourage the US rare earth industry — Bill 4883 ‘is a little misguided”. In the case of Ucore’s Bokan project, it “just doesn’t apply”, as it has negligible amounts of thorium or uranium bearing ores. Jim advises the public to consider HR Bill 1600, sponsored by Senator Murkowski of Alaska, as it applies to both thorium rich and thorium free rare earth resources.
James C. Kennedy, President of ThREE Consulting has worked on the development of HR 4883. James believes that the rare earth market is neither a ‘free market, a level playing field or the lowest cost producer”. James says that the Bill comes down to an effort to correct the current “legislative and regulatory disadvantage for US and Western producers of rare earths.”
Kevin Cassidy, the CEO for US Rare Earths (OTCBB: UREE), supports any effort to encourage the mining and processing of rare earths in the United States. He says HR 4883 is clearly aimed at allowing “less dependency on China and more self reliance on North American production.” It also encourages manufacturers to return and invest in the United States.