July 25, 2014 -- Tracy Weslosky, Editor-in-Chief and Publisher of InvestorIntel speaks to Daniel Carlson, the CFO for American Sands Energy Corp. (‘AMSE’, OTCBB: AMSE) about their key role in oil sands production as suggested in a recent article by Peter Epstein, who described AMSE as the ‘Holy Grail’ of oil sands companies. Daniel believes that what inspired Peter Epstein to use the evocative ‘Holy Grail’ description are AMSE’s unique cost structure and its low environmental footprint in the context of the oil sands industry. This means that, compared to others in the oil sands space, AMSE is “much cheaper on a per barrel basis, much cheaper on a CAPEX basis and, very importantly, we don’t use or produce any dirty water in our process.” Ordinarily, InvestorIntel interviews CEO’s or managing directors; however, given the special role played by the actual business model in AMSE’s case, Tracy believes that the CFO is in a better position to explain AMSE’s advantages to investors.
AMSE has a USD$ 50 million dollar market cap; it is debt-free which is very unusual, and it has proprietary methods to extract the oil sands. Daniel explains that AMSE’s oil sands are of the ‘oil wet’ variety as opposed to what is more common in Canada: the ‘water wet sands’. In other words, AMSE is processing sandstone that is impregnated with oil and is free of any water content. This results in a mining process whereby the sandstone is ground up into smaller particles, then placed in a solvent solution and the solvent, basically, washes the bitumen away from the sand. The bitumen is then separated from the solvent in order to be delivered to the market.
The sand that remains from the process is clean and ready to go back into the ground. This explains why AMSE’s production timeline is so fast; in fact, production is expected to start by 2016. Daniel says that the permit process could be complete as early as year’s end. “Two years from now, we anticipate to be producing at 5,000 barrels per day.” As for the financing, Daniel says that AMSE would need about USD$ 75 million to lead it to production. On a per barrel basis, production costs are expected to be in the range of USD$ 15,000/barrel in CAPEX up front. That may seem like a lot until compare with the Canadian oil sand extraction CAPEX costs of a low of about USD$ 30,000/barrel to as high as USD$ 100,000/barrel. At such costs, AMSE’s oil is ‘bargain basement’ priced. Moreover, AMSE will not have to continually re-invest in the resource, which is what a drilling operation has to do to maintain production levels with their decline curves. As well, traditional oil companies have to continuously drill new wells to continue to access resources, which runs the risk of coming up with dry holes, which makes AMSE much more convenient and attractive.
Disclaimer: American Sands Energy Corp. is an advertorial member of InvestorIntel (www.InvestorIntel.com).
July 18, 2014 -- Tracy Weslosky, Editor-in-Chief and Publisher of Investor Intel speaks to Anthony Marchese, Chairman of Texas Rare Earth Resources Corp. (‘TRER’, OTCQX: TRER) about the state of Molycorp as well as TRER’s world class deposit (including beryllium and a 70% heavy rare earth concentration) with outstanding infrastructure in Texas at the Round Top rare earth minerals project.
Anthony suggests that as Molycorp’s share price continues its steady decline, in the last several days there have been many rumors that “there are entities that are acquiring Molycorp’s bonds in the expectation that the Company will experience a significant restructuring, which will allow these ‘entities’ to eventually control the Company. Anthony says that as rough as it has been for Molycorp investors, it may yet get worse. Yet, many professionals in the investment sector still associates the entire rare earths industry with Molycorp. “So my concern is that those who follow Molycorp believe that somehow Molycorp’s price movement and problems are endemic to the entire industry. And this is not the case.”
Molycorp is concentrating on light rare earths, while China, which could supply the world with large quantities of light rare earths, is starting to look for heavy rare earths around the world and especially in Australia. Tracy points out that even as she and Jack Lifton had already seen the heavy vs. light rare earths demand dynamic taking shape five years ago: “most people don't understand the complexities while Molycorp presented itself as having heavies. Anthony says that Molycorp’s heavies are actually extracted in China. “I believe that Mountain Pass in California does not have heavies.”
Anthony talks about the election of noted rare earths industry expert Jack Lifton to its Board of Directors last September. Jack has been ‘a very independent thinker’ and very influential in forming TRER’s strategy. TRER’s deposit shows a very clear mineralogical pattern which has proven to be heap leachable, which is similar to what might be found in China. As a result, TRER is looking for a strategic partner in its next phase of development. Nick Pingitore, a geologist at the University of Texas, and a Board member, is the architect of the heap leach processing approach. TRER's land and the China clay deposits are the only REE deposits in the world to use simple heap leach processing. Anthony says that TRER will have more announcements about the metallurgy in the near future and that they are making tremendous strides in this area. Ultimately, TRER is also about low CAPEX and significant profitability. Texas Rare Earth Resources' revised CAPEX was reduced from $2.1 billion to approximately $293 million, among the world's lowest -cost REE projects.
Disclaimer: Texas Rare Earth Resources Corp.is an advertorial member of InvestorIntel.com.
June 24, 2014 -- Tracy Weslosky, Editor-in-Chief and Publisher for InvestorIntel, speaks with Jim Engdahl, Director, President and CEO for Star Minerals (‘Star’, TSXV: SUV) about its critical metals exploration and acquisition activities in Saskatchewan and Alberta, Canada. From 2006 until 2012, Jim was the President and Chief Executive Officer of Great Western Minerals Group (GWMG), which has primarily engaged in developing rare earth minerals in South Africa while also producing earths based alloys and other related value added products. Tracy asks Jim if Star will be focusing ever more on the acquisition side of the business. Jim says that when he left GWMG he had agreed to take some non- core assets such as Hoidas Lake, a great property “that was sitting kind of dormant with not a lot of attention to it and …..We were very familiar with it and felt that it was a tremendous property.”
Jim searched for a junior with cash in order to take over the Hoidas property and found it in the form of Star Uranium, which was then converted to Star Minerals. Indeed, Jim has considerable experience in raising capital, having procured some USD$ 150 million for GWMG. Tracy, points out that Star recently announced having formed a joint venture with a private Montana gold operator to lease some claims and take over management of the Casey-Snyder placer gold operation near Drummond, Montana. Jim says that the lease will enable Star to secure long term cash flow that will allow it to pursue its core exploration assets, stressing, however, that Star “is not in the gold business”. Rather, Star wants to focus on its targeted projects at Hoidas Lake, manganese, graphite along with additional rare earth targets and “they are all related in some form to the recent announcement of Tesla’s recent announcement of the Giga Factory for batteries.”
Jim adds that vanadium is another mineral that Star wants to develop, given its role in battery production. As for specific metals that Star is targeting to address demand from the electric car industry, Jim stresses the industry demand for it and that Star will be pursuing these resources as a priority. Finally, Tracy prompts Jim to offer his thoughts on GWMG. Jim says that there’s every reason to expect that GWMG’s original assets will “come into fruition”, adding “I’m still holding out a lot of hope that they can get the financing for the next stage to get there and to be one of the first into production in the industry and I think there is still a good chance of that.”
July 15, 2014Correction Notice: Jim Engdahl, President and CEO of Star Minerals Group Ltd. has requested that the following correction be posted with respect to his description of the timeline of entering into the Hoidas Lake Joint Venture. Prior to Mr. Engdahl’s resignation from the board of Great Western Minerals Group Ltd. (“GWMG”) on November 21, 2012, GWMG was evaluating the framework for a possible arm’s length transaction with Star Uranium Corp. (as Star Minerals Group Ltd. was then named). After Mr. Engdahl’s resignation, GWMG elected to defer all negotiations relating to any possible transaction until the transaction could be freshly considered at the discretion of, and on terms determined by, the yet to be appointed CEO of GWMG and GWMG’s restructured board. On May 29, 2013 the parties concluded the initial negotiations of a completely new transaction structure and entered into a letter of intent in respect of the Hoidas Lake joint venture.
Disclaimer: Star Minerals is an advertorial member of InvestorIntel.
June 23, 2014 -- Tracy Weslosky, Editor-in-Chief and Publisher of InvestorIntel speaks to Mark A. Smith, CEO and Director for NioCorp (TSXV: NB | OTCQX: NIOBF) about the company’s Elk Creek project in southeastern Nebraska. NioCorp recently announced some very favorable drilling results. NioCorp’s Elk Creek deposit is rich in barium, rare earth element mineralization and especially high grade concentrations of niobium, which will be the main focus of the project.
NioCorp announced that it has a second drill rig on site; while that may not appear to be ‘big news’, it does suggest, as Mark says, that the Company is very committed to the project rather than “simply putting a hole and so that we can get a little resource information and then put another hole in next year. We are moving this project into development as fast as we can.” NioCorp has already sent the first samples from the drilling for analysis and the results are expected before the end of the month. NioCorp’s background is very interesting and shares a history with Molycorp. The Elk Creek property itself was first discovered by Molycorp in the late 1960’s and even did some work there in 2010. However, Mark Smith, himself, has a very interesting background that also includes managing Molycorp and Tracy suggests that anyone with an interest in the sector should learn about Mark’s accomplishments in the rare earth industry. Mark says that after leaving Molycorp, in late 2012, he had thought of retiring. He was asked by NioCorp to lead its management team. Mark says he did some ‘due diligence’ in the first months of 2013 and eventually started buying stock in the company, becoming the single largest shareholder by September 2013. Mark says that “it became evident that I liked the project a lot and I needed to be more engaged." Mark has a lot of praise for the people at NioCorp and their commitment to taking what is known as the third largest niobium deposit in the world and the only primary niobium deposit in the United States and then “converting it into the fourth producing niobium asset in the world.” The big question, as Tracy points out, is: why niobium? Few know that 100% of the niobium used in North America’s market (the global niobium market is about 80,000 to 100,000 tons a year) has to be imported. Most of the niobium is produced at a mine in Brazil. While it is crucial for the electric car industry, it is actually in demand by the automotive sector as a whole.
Niobium is mostly used in the construction sector, especially in such things as bridges and roads because it adds strength to steel while reducing its weight. The automotive sector is the second largest user and as Mark says “every steel bodied car made in the world today has niobium in it,” which helps reduce fuel consumption and add safety. Mark also notes that “both the EU and the United States have deemed niobium as a strategic metal”. Mark also offers a brief take into the rare earth and critical metals sector. It is interesting to find out that Mark has “not sold even one of his Molycorp shares”, remaining fully committed to that project and to the rare earths sector, which he sees as having recovered some stability.
Disclaimer: NioCorp is an advertorial member of InvestorIntel.
May 7, 2014 -- Tracy Weslosky, Editor-in-Chief and Publisher of InvestorIntel interviews Julien Davy, President and COO of Stria Lithium Inc. (TSXV: SRA). Julien is a professional geologist and has accumulated Canadian and international experience in advanced exploration projects. He explains Stria’s goal to develop a Canadian based lithium carbonate resource to address demand from the cleantech industry, especially as far as battery production is concerned. The U.S. Department of Energy has included lithium in its list of critical materials.
Stria is an exploration company with proprietary processes to develop lithium. Julien also explains that Stria looks for and acquires other lithium properties at different stages of development in order to save the expensive proposition of having to start anew all the time. In December 2013, Stria acquired the Pontax lithium property in Quebec, which was the key operation, transforming Stria into a miner rather than solely a mining investment firm. The property includes 82 claims and is located in James Bay, Quebec, approximately 350 km north of Matagami. Its lithium occurrence was first discovered in 2007. Earlier this year, Stria purchased the Willcox lithium project in Cochise, Arizona. Exploration at both properties will start this year.
In January 2014, moreover, Stria announced the launch of two proprietary processes: “one to recover lithium directly from the ore and the other one from the brines. They will use fewer chemicals, fewer controls, so it will cost less money to recover lithium,” said Julien. Tracy wonders if Stria is on the hunt for more exploration properties to acquire and Julien says that in addition to this year’s exploration program at Stria’s two current properties, “we are definitely open to more acquisitions. With our cost-effective process, we’re going to be able to acquire very interesting properties.” This is because Stria’s cost-effective process goes a long way toward de-risking exploration by vastly reducing the cost and by being able to discriminate and choose the most promising deposits available for development.
Disclaimer: Stria Lithium is an advertorial member of InvestorIntel.
May 5, 2014 -- Tracy Weslosky, Editor-in-Chief and Publisher of InvestorIntel in an interview with Mark Brennan, CEO and President for Largo Resources (‘Largo’, TSXV: LGO) dives right into why Largo could very well become the world’s leading producer of vanadium. Largo, which is developing the Maracas vanadium property in Brazil, announced on April 10th that construction of the processing facility in the State of Bahia is 99.8% complete and it has the potential to turn Brazil into one of the world’s top vanadium producers. Simply put, Mark says “we’re actually 99.9% done today, so, we’re very close to production.”
Some may wonder, as Tracy does, what accounts for the 0.1% that is left? Mark says that there are just some “ancillary issues like lighting, essentially secondary issues not essential for production; so, just a couple more weeks and it’s done. The focus now is actually commissioning all the systems and getting all the systems ready. That's the real key to our production.” Not surprisingly, notes Tracy, critical metals consultant, Jack Lifton, said that “this is a stock he wished he could buy,” while Dr. Luisa Moreno, Senior Research Analyst at Euro Pacific Canada, was the one that brought Largo to Tracy’s attention in the first place, because she thinks vanadium demand will be increasing sharply.
Vanadium is becoming essential for the production of steel as aircraft and automotive manufacturers address demand for lighter and tougher materials, which contribute to reducing fuel consumption and reduce emissions. Steel companies are now offering high strength low alloy steels which the fastest growing segment of the steel market and vanadium is key for its production. Mark adds that China is another important driver of vanadium demand because of its use in high strength steel for construction. Demand for such steel in China has been booming because of new anti-earthquake compliance standards.
Until recently China has been using in the range of 0.02-0.023% of vanadium per ton of steel. Japanese and Western steel uses anywhere from 0.06 to 0.08% per ton of steel, triple the amount or more: “China now wants to enhance the quality of the steel….and this will probably mean a doubling of demand for vanadium over the next two to three years.” says Mark. That will account for a virtual doubling of the global demand for vanadium.
Mark adds that Maracas may well be the best vanadium project in the world; it has the highest grade material, “which means we can be the lowest cost producer.” It is a big project with a 29 year projected mine life and “we believe this could go on for a hundred years and could change the way vanadium is used in the future.”
Disclaimer: Largo Resources is an advertorial member of InvestorIntel.
April 10, 2014 -- Hop Boyd Jr., Chief Manager, Process Engineering Associates LLC (PROCESS) speaks to Tracy Weslosky, Editor-in-Chief and Publisher of InvestorIntel. Hop has been a chemical engineer for many years and he describes his job, in jest, as a "highly educated plumber". Of course, PROCESS does much more than that. It offers process engineering services - as opposed to electrical, mechanical or structural -- from design and to safety services, relying on its over 50 highly qualified, full-time chemical engineers. As a further analogy, Hop describes the typical scenario of a prospective client approaching PROCESS to shift from the small scale production of a given chemical to an industrial one. In other words Hop and his team will help the client by designing and developing a process on an industrial scale "that will manufacture methyl-ethyl-death or whatever it is in this person' dreams to manufacture."
The crucial issue for InvestorIntel, however, is what PROCESS can do for rare earth companies. Hop promptly says that PROCESS will not help them get the mineral out of the ground: "but when you get something out of the ground, you have to separate it or purify it, or even possibly convert it into another form. And that's where we come in, designing, troubleshooting, and helping with processes to do that." What should happen if the rare earth companies choose the wrong process engineering solutions? Hop offers a personal account to explain what can go wrong. Indeed, the story relates to the 'genesis' of Process Engineering itself. Hop "was working as a process engineer for another company at a major chemical company client site and we were working on a separate process when an engineer said: come to the back, where there was a brand new process sitting there; it was beautiful....But, the engineer told me that it got 50% of the production that it was supposed to deliver." In other words the design of that chemical process was "messed up", because they didn't hire the proper chemical process engineering team from the very beginning.
PROCESS is a company made up exclusively by chemical engineers. As such PROCESS is uniquely qualified to evaluate the viability of a given project, offering as unbiased an answer as possible. That is because "other engineering companies have chemical as well as mechanical, civil, electrical engineering and in most cases they make their money mostly from these latter disciplines; therefore, there is a tendency...or a subtle pressure to have a project move forward, that the answer from the beginning of the chemical process design, the engineer says, yes, this makes sense, it needs to move forward," influencing the other disciplines. Hop explains that PROCESS does not have a "dog in the fight" as to whether or not a project goes forward. The risk, then, is that the comprehensive engineering companies are under more pressure to give a project a favorable evaluation in order to see a project proceed, whereas PROCESS is solely focused on evaluating the chemical aspects.
Disclaimer: Process Engineering Associates LLC is an advertorial member of InvestorIntel.
March 30, 2014 -- Richard Spencer, President and CEO of U3O8 Corp. ("U3O8" TSX: UWE | OTCQX: UWEEF), speaks to Tracy Weslosky, Editor-in-Chief and Publisher of InvestorIntel, about uranium, rare earths and phosphate projects in South America.
In March, U3O8 completed an oversubscribed private placement resulting in proceeds of about USD$1.15 million. Richard said "the insiders stepped up yet again and we've developed some support from a new shareholder over the last couple months and this group has been amazing. They were in the market in December when no one else was....this guy likes this story."
Meanwhile, the past few weeks have witnessed a rally in uranium stocks that may herald a forthcoming bull run for uranium company shares. Richard said the "fundamentals for the uranium market are great and, as many analysts predict, there will be a big gap between supply and demand starting in about 2017 and we think it may start a little earlier than that. We're working towards production around that time."
U3O8 Corp. is active in the uranium space in Argentina because we like the clear direction and leadership position that the country has assumed. "Argentina's nuclear industry started in the early the fifties and they've got their own nuclear design; in fact, the first small modular reactor under construction anywhere on the planet is under currently under construction in Argentina."
Richard states that the Columbia project has resources in uranium, vanadium, phosphate, nickel and rare earths. This source of "phosphate is located 60 kilometers from one of the biggest agricultural areas in Colombia." Moreover, "On a bigger scale than that, South America has got more arable land than the rest of the planet and it has abundant fresh water while Chinese investment in South American agriculture is huge." China has realized that South America will be one of its main sources of food in the next decade. There is also the prospect of phosphate used in a new generation of batteries, that use phosphate-vanadium or phosphate-iron cathodes that are inherently stable and these batteries don't easily overheat as a result of over-charging - They allow for more efficient storage of energy....and they don't overheat" like the average Li-ion battery such as used on the Boeing 787.
Disclaimer: U308 Corp. is an advertorial member of InvestorIntel.
February 23, 2014 -- Jack Lifton, Sr. Editor of InvestorIntelReport provides a confidential synopsis for members of his participation last week in Paris at the French National Assembly Building (Parliament) for a roundtable “The War of Strategic Materials”. Attended by 20+ members of Parliament, plus an additional 250 members from the critical materials sector. Jack offers commentary and conclusions on his respective understanding of what was achieved at this event.
For starter, France does not produce domestically any of the technology materials needed to maintain its technological society. Cognizant of the fact that they (the French) are completely reliant on the Chinese, and very well aware of the increasing demand required for the build out of some of the most sophisticated technologies, this is the second time in the last year that Jack has been asked to come and speak on the issues surrounding strategic materials. In this honest commentary by Jack, he lays the foundation for understanding how the French perceive this dependence, and their respective priorities as they have the “…most comprehensive rare earth supply chain outside of Japan. They have the only large total rare earth separation plant in the world and the longest running one…”
What is particularly compelling is Jack’s insight into the refinery leadership, abilities and processing capabilities. He touches on how there is only one active project in Europe for production of rare earths, which is Tasman Metals in Sweden. He also discusses that the two priorities discussed: 1) They do not want to be dependent on China (for raw materials or finished goods) and 2) They want to preserve their culture, and maintain industrial survival.
This commentary becomes even more fascinating when Jack discusses France’s role in producing most of the nuclear fuel for the world. To access this full interview, log into InvestorIntelReport, or click here to become a member
December 18, 2013 -- Tracy Weslosky, Publisher and Editor-in-Chief of InvestorIntel interviews Eric Noyrez, CEO and Managing Director for Lynas Corporation Limited (ASX: LYC | OTCQX: LYSDY) for an update on Lynas and to discuss the recent AGM, production capacity, future demand, Eric’s recent purchase of Lynas stock, and how entering 2014, Lynas is positioned to achieve its vision of being the global leader in rare earths for a sustainable future. Lynas has the rare and esteemed distinction of being both an operational rare earths miner and producer. A pioneer in the rare earths space outside of China, Lynas mines rare earths from its Mount Weld Mine in Western Australia (the highest-grade deposit of rare earths on the planet), concentrates it onsite and ships the materials to the state-of-the-art Lynas Advanced Materials Plant (LAMP), near Kuantan in Pahang, Malaysia, where the concentrate is refined into final end-user-ready rare earth products. A titan in the REE space, Lynas has successfully built the world’s largest, most advanced and most environmentally friendly rare earths production platform to complement the uniquely rich Mount Weld ore body. As a result, Lynas is able to offer its customers an integrated, sustainable source of rare earths.
Tracy begins with asking Eric about Lynas’ recent Annual General Meeting, specifically in regards to the ramping up of REE production at the LAMP, which is expected to be at full Phase 1 capacity by the end of this year.
Eric confirmed this and said that they are now in Phase 1 (operating since 2011 in Western Australia and since 2013 in Malaysia), producing 11,000 tonnes, with the second phase equalling 22,000 tonnes. Market conditions will be the primary determinant as to when full production capacity is utilized. “So we will be optimized at 11,000 tonnes, and should the market improve in regard to off-take and pricing, we will keep up the pace,” explained Eric.
Tracy, in commenting that virtually anyone who is following the rare earth space today is following Lynas, asked Eric to give listeners an overview as to where the company is today, specifically focusing on the Mount Weld Project -- the world’s richest known REE deposit. Eric stated that Mount Weld is a deposit with 10% to 25% rare earth containing ore, whereas with other deposits such as in Inner Mongolia (China) or California, it is closer to 5% to 10%. In the rest of the world, grade is more along the lines of 1% to 2%. Lynas has more than 25 years of reserves on site at full production capacity and additional resources which could later be extracted.
Mentioning a debate which has taken place at InvestorIntel, Tracy remarked that a lot of people like to characterize Lynas as “a light rare earth producer only”. Eric responded: “Yes we are a primarily a light rare earth’s producer, which is correct. But we do have 5% heavy rare earths in our ore, so Lynas is probably one of the biggest -- in total terms -- heavy rare earths producers in the world. Inside even the light rare earths, we tend to have more valuable products.”
Tracy inquired as to the current demand for light rare earths. Eric stated: "The Lynas project has been a customer-based business model (which means that) the key leaders in the various rare earth elements -- meaning lights and heavies -- have made the way Lynas is set up today. Initially we had a long-term contract set up for Cerium and Lanthanum, which is supposed to be the longest product in the rare earth’s cart -- as a way of making sure that the off-takes of Lynas would be secure. Thus, the company’s Phase I production (of 11,000 tonnes) is fully secured under contract and we can sell everything we can produce.”
Lynas’ goal is to support the rare earths market in growing to its full potential. Lynas believes the market will grow to its full potential when prices are sustainable for both customers and suppliers. The company believes prices need to be higher to secure long term supply visibility to customers. For example, NdPr prices are currently supporting most of RE production cost on the basis of expected future growth. Lanthanum, on the other hand and contrary to market perception, is already short as shown by the export figures from China. Consequently, Lynas has recently announced a minimum price for new lanthanum oxide sales contracts of $15 per kilo, reflecting the actual market dynamic.
In closing, Tracy wanted to ask Eric briefly about the recent announcement of his decision to purchase more shares of Lynas. Without hesitation, he remarked, “I bought shares because I believe in the business and I believe in what we are doing. I’d like to get the reward of it -- and not take on the risk. That’s the simple reason why I bought shares of Lynas.”
December 3, 2013 -- Tracy Weslosky, Publisher and Editor-in-Chief of InvestorIntel interviews Dr. Gerald Bailey, CEO of MCW Energy Group, Ltd. (TSXV: MCW) is a Canadian holding company with 2 separate operations: 1) MCW Fuels: the first is a gasoline distribution system and 2) MCW Oil Sands Recovery, LLC: the second is an oil sands division. Tracy asked Dr. Bailey to speak first about MCW Fuels, noting that with 2012 gross revenues of US $400m, and only 41m shares outstanding, MCW has "a tight, tight corporate shell"
Dr. Bailey responded that MCW Fuels, headquartered in Glendale, CA is a regional gasoline distributor, and discussed how it operated, stating: "The basis of it is that we collect gasoline from the various refining entities in the Southern California region -- and we are the distributors. Then we take that to the various branded stations, and also the mom and pop convenience store stations, and that's where that huge revenue and millions of gallons transpires and gets moved about."
Tracy sought to confirm her perspective with Dr. Bailey, asking him "You have a classic business formula where you have both revenue and technology innovations that you're doing concurrently, is that correct?
Dr. Bailey agreed with her assessment, adding: "For the comfort of the investors, that energy distribution system, MCW Fuels, is a very solid, sound business that's been in operation since the 1930's (acquired by MCW within the past decade). That gives investors a backstop that gives them comfort when we go off into the oil sands recovery technology business -- so it's not like we're a start-up company, we're an existing oil company."
MCW Energy Group, Ltd.: Investors can think Green -- and they can think Energy
Disclaimer: MCW Energy Group, Ltd. is an advertorial member of InvestorIntel.
May 9, 2013 (Source: Press Citizen) -- MidAmerican Energy Co.’s $1.9 billion investment in wind energy in Iowa will help hold down customers’ electric bills, make the state more attractive to companies looking for greener energy, and create good jobs, state and utility leaders said Wednesday.
The MidAmerican Energy project becomes the biggest single economic investment ever in the state, said Gov. Terry Branstad. “We’ve made that announcement a few times lately,” he said.
Over the past year, the companies taking the lead have switched off: First, Orascom Construction Industries said it would build a $1.4 billion fertilizer plant in eastern Iowa, then CF Industries said it would invest $1.7 billion in its fertilizer plant near Sioux City. And then Orascom recently said it would boost its investment to $1.8 billion. Unlike those projects, this one will receive no state incentives.
MidAmerican Energy, a utility serving 714,000 customers in Iowa, Illinois, Nebraska and South Dakota, said the project would create 460 construction jobs over two years and 48 permanent jobs, primarily workers needed to maintain the 656 wind turbines the utility will build through 2015.
The permanent jobs will create $2.4 million annually in pay for workers, MidAmerican said. The construction workers will take home $30 million, said Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds. “That’s over 500 Iowa residents who will bring home a paycheck to provide for their families,” she said.
The project will add 1,050 megawatts of wind generation, pushing the utility’s total to 3,335 megawatts of energy. As a result, MidAmerican expects that about 40 percent of its power to Iowa customers will come from wind.
“That is marvelous news,” said Harold Prior, executive director of the Iowa Wind Energy Association. “MidAmerican is one of the top utilities in the country as far as embracing wind energy.”
William Fehrman, MidAmerican Energy Co.’s chief executive, said the project would hold down power costs for consumers. “The reality is that you’re avoiding any kind of increase,” Fehrman said.
The company said the project would “be built at no net cost to the company’s customers.” The added wind generation is expected to cut consumer rates by $3.3 million in 2015 and grows to $10 million annually by 2017, the company said. “This is real money back in the pockets of Iowans,” Reynolds said.
Branstad and Fehrman said green energy has been critical to attracting companies like Facebook, the social networking giant that last month announced it would build a $300 million data center in Altoona. State leaders expect Facebook to push its investment to nearly $1 billion over six years.
Facebook has pledged to get 25 percent of its energy from renewable resources by 2015. Ferhman said renewable energy was critical during negotiations with the California company. Facebook even explored the possibility of owning its own wind farm, state leaders have said.
“This sends a larger message to the nation that Iowa is cutting edge, Iowa is innovative,” Reynolds said.
Prior, the wind association leader, agreed the move could attract new development. And the project will keep Iowa on track to generate 10,000 megawatts of wind power by 2020, and will help support jobs at turbine-component businesses and blade manufacturers, he said.
The company’s new investment pushes MidAmerican Energy’s investment in wind to about $6 billion. Fehrman said the company has purchased turbine blades from Siemens Energy in Fort Madison and towers from Trinity Structural Towers in Newton. Fehrman said a new turbine costs about $2 million.
The company has already erected 1,267 wind turbines, many in western and north-central Iowa. The company declined to say where the new wind farms would be located. “If you look at a good wind map, you’ll probably get a good feel about where we’ll be targeting,” Fehrman said, adding that location decisions will be made in a couple of months.
MidAmerican is not seeking state assistance for the project, but it will receive federal wind production tax credits.
Ferhman said the one-year extension of the tax credits helped the project. “Without that, the environment for doing projects of this magnitude and this size would not be possible,” he said during a news conference at the Capitol.
The company expects to pay landowners $3.2 million annually for the rights to use their land for the turbines, and to generate more than $360 million in additional property tax revenues over the next 30 years.
“This is a tremendous deal for farmers and the tax base of these rural counties,” Branstad said.
Nathaniel Baer, who follows energy issues for the nonprofit Iowa Environmental Council, said MidAmerican’s announcement is encouraging, but there is room for far more wind energy in Iowa than the utility proposed. He added that he hopes MidAmerican will make it easier for Iowans to install their own wind turbines in the utility’s territory, by paying more for the power.
“I think it is a welcome development for wind energy, the Iowa environment and the economy,” Baer said of MidAmerican’s wind-energy expansion plans.
Senate Minority Leader Bill Dix, R-Shell Rock, said he felt everything about MidAmerican’s announcement was positive for Iowa’s economy and for future job growth. “This is home-grown energy coming from right here in Iowa. It is renewable, it is clean, and that is all a good thing for Iowans,” he said.
The utility’s project will boost Iowa’s overall wind generation, from all sources, to 6,000 megawatts from 5,000 megawatts currently, Baer said.
The U.S. Department of Energy has estimated that Iowa would have to boost its production significantly to help the nation meet environmental groups’ goal to have the country produce 20 percent of its power from wind by 2030.
Baer said Congress should extend the production tax credit long-term to help make that happen.
MidAmerican Energy began building wind projects in 2004. The expansion needs approval by the Iowa Utilities Board, officials said.
MidAmerican Energy is No. 1 nationally for ownership of wind generation capacity among rate-regulated utilities.
October 16, 2012 -- "Give it back to the States, get the Federal government basically out of the way...let's go in and do the job. The more jobs that are created the better the tax base, the better the chance you have of getting out of these problems; which will reduce the unemployment somewhat..." comments David Morgan of "The Morgan Report" in a discussion with Tracy Weslosky, Publisher of ProEdgeWire (ProEdgeWire.com) on the resource sector and self-sustainability issues in the Presidential election.
In this interview, David lays out his thoughts on the impact of the election on the resource sector and public markets, with attention to each Presidential Candidate's approach. Specifically, he speaks to self-sustainability for rare earths and highlights the hi-tech sectors that rely so heavily on rare earth elements as critical inputs.
In talking about the ways that the US can capitalize on their resource sector, David comments: "The US particularly, is probably one of the best counties as far as the regulation is concerned at making sure these miners do a very, very clean and pristine job of not only getting the elements out but also leaving the environment better off than when they started to mine." Investors also learn about importance of the mining industry in the US for wealth and job creation in this timely interview.
For more information, contact Jessica@ProEdgeWire.com on "The Morgan Report" or ProEdgeWire.
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