The Question of Priorities in Carbon Offsetting

As the world races to reach net zero carbon in time to slow and eventually halt climate change, a lot of people are asking the question: what is the best way to reach our goal in the time frame available?

Humans are innovative creatures and we’ve not only worked out some of the most effective natural options available but have also developed a number of technical solutions. Having multiple paths in front of us inevitably leads to a question of what gets prioritized?

We ended up with this climate change mess because we attacked the climate in two ways: we increased carbon emissions while simultaneously reducing nature’s ability to remove it. We will only be able to fix this situation with a similarly multi-pronged approach: Reduce existing emissions, eliminate future increases in emissions, and enhance removal and storage (sequestration).

With its headline-grabbing actions, sequestration tends to get the most media attention. If you consider our nature-based options, it sounds far more impressive to reforest thousands of hectares with millions of trees than it does to protect an existing forest from logging. The same goes for coastal blue carbon projects that involve replanting mangroves, tidal marshes and seagrass meadows versus a project that protects a marine biosphere already in place.

This is partly because there is a feeling of action that goes hand in hand with sequestration projects, a comforting feeling that we are actively solving the problem. Not only that but there is an economic advantage too because sequestration often promises greater levels of employment in regions that adopt these solutions, making it far more attractive from a political perspective.

However, the danger of this debate is the temptation to think sequestration alone will be enough to overcome our climate challenges and perhaps even allow us to go back to business as usual. The reality is more complex.

Let’s continue with the reforestation/afforestation versus protecting an existing forest. Carbon dioxide is a must-have resource for trees. They pull it from the atmosphere, they use it to grow and they also release oxygen. They are one of the best carbon capture and storage solutions we have. There have even been studies proposing that planting an additional 0.9 billion trees globally could result in the sequestration of a whopping 25% of the current atmospheric carbon pool once they matured.

It’s an exciting idea but there are some serious roadblocks. Firstly, note the comment about “once they matured.” When it comes to tree-based carbon sequestration, age is a huge differentiator.

For those of you who may be data driven, here are some figures to consider: Over a 20-year period, estimates put reforestation at 6 tonnes of carbon stored per year for every hectare[i]. Over the same time frame, a standing forest stores 200-400 tonnes per year for every hectare[ii]. Cut down that standing forest and you’re releasing all of the stored carbon built up over the years, as well all of the ongoing sequestration.

Then you have the practicality of such projects. In 2019, Canada announced plans to plant an additional two billion trees to help meet its 2030 climate pledges. As the world’s second largest and second most forested country (428 million hectares), Canada has the available land and the forestry knowledge to deliver on major tree planting initiatives. As of September, 2021, not a single tree has been planted. The delays, according to Canada’s Natural Resources Minister, were because “seedlings need time to grow, and the project needed nursery space, land to plant them in, and some sort of monitoring to ensure the trees survive”.

When it comes to technology-based sequestration, used at the sort of scale that could affect the course of climate change, there are a variety of challenges which include implementation across multiple industries, as well as the social and political will to fund it all.

These technologies vary in scope, cost, longevity, and storage capacity, and some have limited potential unless integrated with complementary solutions. For example, Direct Air Capture (DAC) can be employed to remove carbon dioxide from ambient air and concentrate it for storage or for use in various products. If that carbon is to be stored rather than utilized by manufacturing, you need one or more accompanying storage solutions, which all come with their own set of challenges, but which all share the hurdles of funding, legislation and permitting. In other words, the solutions exist but just like reforestation and afforestation, you’re looking at long time frames before these innovative technologies can be up and running.

The Natural Order

Does all of this mean that carbon emission avoidance should be prioritized over sequestration? Not exactly. The biggest lesson of recent years is that there is a natural order of prioritization.

Carbon offset projects that protect land and marine forests, and other critical biospheres, translate into the capture and storage that we need right now. Sequestration projects will deliver the additional capture and storage that we need as we move forward.

As a global community, our first priority is to take the quick wins that are in front of us. Realistically that means projects that protect our planet’s existing carbon removal and storage engines such as forests. While that is happening, we can be rolling out the longer-term plays.

What does all of this mean for investors? Well, the bulk of carbon offset projects being rolled out globally are also used to generate carbon credits that can be sold on the voluntary carbon credit markets. This approach is key for financing each project and those that are planned for the future. At its current stage of development, the voluntary carbon credits sector means that investors need to carry out significant due diligence all the way down to the project level. Understanding the role of each project, time to implement, time to generate credits, over what period of time and so forth, is key to helping achieve your planned ROI.

[i] https://vertree.earth/knowledge-centre/carbon-offsets-avoidance-and-removals/
[ii] https://vertree.earth/knowledge-centre/carbon-offsets-avoidance-and-removals/




Making lithium ion battery components more durable and efficient to improve battery capacity

NEO Battery Materials’ Progressing on the Development and Commercialization of Longer Lasting Higher Energy Density Lithium Ion Battery Components

Investors looking for a cutting edge technology company in the electric vehicle (EV) battery components sector need look no further than NEO Battery Materials Ltd. (TSXV: NBM | OTCQB: NBMFF). NEO is a North American battery materials company with a current focus on developing silicon anode (the negative electrode in a battery) materials through its “ion-and electronic-conductive polymer nanocoating technology.” Or, in simpler language, a ‘silicon material’ for batteries, used to make the anode last longer in service (make it capable of being charged and recharged more times without losing integrity or efficiency)  and be capable of holding more energy, thus making the battery more durable and efficient

NEO states: “NEO has a focus on producing silicon anode materials through its proprietary single-step nanocoating process, which provides improvements in capacity and efficiency over that of lithium-ion batteries using graphite in their anode materials.”

NEO’s stock price has been on a tear in 2021; however, the recent pullback potentially gives a better entry point for investors.

NEO Battery Materials (TSXV: NBM) 1 year stock price chart

Source: Yahoo Finance

Another thing that investors love is active management that can rapidly progress a company and produce lots of good news. We’ll take a look at the news flow summary below, just for November 2021.

  • Nov. 23, 2021 – NEO Battery Materials appoints lithium-ion battery electrode binder and polymer technology expert, Dr. Byeong-Su Kim, to Scientific Advisory Board. The news states: “Utilizing robust binder technologies with characteristics such as a high elastic modulus can help contain and control the volume expansion of silicon, resulting in lower probabilities of particle pulverization and a cracking anode.”
  • Nov. 18, 2021 – NEO Battery Materials receives approval for a core patent from the Korean Intellectual Property Office.
  • Nov. 16, 2021 – NEO Battery Materials announces research consortium LOI with both the University of Toronto and with an undisclosed global OEM for R&D and scale-up of EV Battery Materials. The preliminary project will involve the full electrode fabrication of silicon-carbon composite anodes through NEO’s silicon particle nanocoating process…..With the active material (silicon and/or graphite), binders and conductive additives as core components….
  • Nov. 10, 2021 – NEO Battery Materials appoints Dr. Dongmok Whang, expert in low-dimensional nanomaterials and graphene, to Scientific Advisory Board. His research expertise lies in the field of fabrication and manufacturing of low-dimensional nanomaterials, especially graphene, semiconductor nanowires, and porous nanostructures for applications in electric vehicle lithium-ion batteries, fuel cells, and various energy storage solutions.
  • Nov. 4, 2021 – NEO Battery Materials accomplishes anode production capacity upscaling Project over the past three months. The news states: “From the initial production rate of several grams per hour for manufacturing silicon anode materials at the lab-scale, NEO’s engineering team has accomplished to expand the rate to a level of several kilograms per hour. This is a result of improving productivity by more than 1,000-fold, and the success of the Project at this level has given stronger validation for the 120-ton semi-commercial plant that is scheduled to be commissioned by the end of next year.” President & CEO Spencer Huh, added: “As NEO understands the need to fast-track into mass production, we are pleased to announce the accomplishment of the Upscaling Project. The Company is at the forefront of developing unique Si anode lines through the low-cost manufacturing process, and we are customizing solutions for various downstream users to optimize the products for high-power electric vehicle lithium-ion battery applications.”

The above 5 news items, when added together’ show the rapid pace and progress NEO is achieving. Looking back on the previous two months there were even more great achievements by NEO. The standout news came on October 26 when NEO announced: “Completion of semi-commercial plant conceptual design and initiates engineering EPC stage for construction.” The facility will be in South Korea. President & CEO, Spencer Huh, stated: “NEO is now another step towards commercializing our silicon anode materials for EV lithium-ion batteries and is actively expediting our timelines and milestones.”

As shown below the problem with silicon in anodes can be that as the silicon absorbs the electrons it expands then cracks the anode, leading to a low cycle life (low longevity). NEO has managed to improve this by using its cost-effective and efficient one-pot, single-step, nanocoating process.

NEO Battery Materials state that their silicon anode materials are already achieving much higher cycles than competitors

Source: NEO Battery Materials company website

Closing remarks

A lot of the details surrounding NEO Battery Materials’ achievements are not very well understood by investors. This is only natural as most investors are not battery material scientists.

The key to understanding NEO’s work is that its silicon anodes or composite silicon graphite anodes can significantly improve battery capacity, which relates to greater energy density, and hence longer range for the same size battery. What EV manufacturers and customers all want is better performing batteries that result in longer driving range for a given size battery. Silicon anodes today present many challenges, especially cracking leading to poor cycle life. NEO is making great strides in solving this problem by producing silicon anode materials with a much longer cycle life.

If NEO can succeed in meeting commercial standards it will have Tesla and other EV and battery/anode OEMs knocking on its door. For now it appears there is plenty of promise, especially given the longer cycling results (1,000 cycles) and recent production scaling progress, as well as the interest from an OEM in joining NEO’s research consortium.

NEO Battery Materials trades on a market cap of C$39 million. It’s one to watch.




COP26 focuses investor interest on the critical materials required for a cleantech global vision

COP26 is now completed and the changes will impact the cleantech sector in the years ahead. Some came away disappointed at the lack of commitment from the 197 participating countries at COP26; however, there were many positive steps as outlined below.

The major outcomes from COP26

  • The “Glasgow Climate Pact” was introduced. It aims to limit global warming to 1.5 °C. It calls for a more ambitious climate response on cutting emissions, climate management finance, and pledging to double adaptation finance, and funding for loss and damage already being caused by warming. Countries were asked to “revisit and strengthen” their climate pledges by the end of 2022.
  • New transparency rules to ensure countries report sufficient information to determine whether or not they are meeting their pledges.
  • The first ever COP decision to explicitly target action against fossil fuels, calling for a “phase-down” of unabated coal and “phase-out” of “inefficient” fossil-fuel subsidies.
  • COP26 finalised rules for global carbon trading; however under the rules, the fossil fuel industry will be allowed to “offset” its carbon emissions and carry on polluting.
  • Record-breaking pledges of US$365 million to the Adaptation Fund. This was a tripling of the amount raised last year, with first time contributions from the USA and Canada.

Note: The Adaption Fund is set up to help developing countries build resilience and ‘adapt’ to climate change.

Sectors and companies to benefit from the COP26 changes

The renewable energy sector will continue to be a beneficiary. In particular, solar, wind, hydro, and geothermal energy. So too will nuclear energy benefit. The push for a global warming increase limited to 1.5 °C, and the focus for countries to revisit and strengthen their climate pledges by the end of 2022, should also be a positive catalyst going forward for renewables and nuclear energy.

Carbon capture and storage (“CC&S”) should also continue to benefit. The “phase-down” (not “phase-out”) of coal means CC&S can continue to play a role to reduce carbon emissions.

Zero-emission vehicles such as electric vehicles (“EVs”) indirectly got a boost with the COP26 decision to phase down “inefficient” fossil-fuel subsidies. If implemented fossil fuels would become relatively more expensive making EVs relatively more attractive.

Those companies working in the cleantech sector will benefit from the renewed COP26 push to reduce emissions.

Many InvestorIntel member companies set to benefit

When you look over the list of InvestorIntel member companies the standout feature is that many are involved, either directly or indirectly, in the cleantech and green related sectors. For example, Carbon Streaming Corporation (NEO: NETZ) invests into carbon credits, Cielo Waste Solutions Corp. (TSXV: CMC | OTCQB: CWSFF) turns polluting waste into renewable fuel, dynaCERT Inc. (TSX: DYA | OTCQX: DYFSF) reduces emissions from vehicles, H2O Innovation Inc. (TSXV: HEO | OTCQX: HEOFF) uses technologies to create clean water and treat wastewater, Ideanomics, Inc. (NASDAQ: IDEX) is investing in and supporting the EV industry, Nano One Materials Corp. (TSX: NANO) works to develop and commercialize better and cheaper cathodes for lithium ion batteries, and NEO Battery Materials Ltd. (TSXV: NBM) is developing silicon anodes for lithium ion batteries..

The mining companies that produce or are working to produce the raw materials that go into solar and wind energy, as well as electric vehicles, batteries, and other energy storage products, stand to benefit. This includes the rare earths (Appia Rare Earths & Uranium Corp. (CSE: API | OTCQB: APAAF), Search Minerals Inc. (TSXV: SMY | OTCQB: SHCMF), USA Rare Earth, LLC, Vital Metals Limited (ASX: VML); lithium (Avalon Advanced Materials Inc. (TSX: AVL | OTCQB: AVLNF), Critical Elements Lithium Corporation (TSXV: CRE), Neo Lithium Corp. (TSXV: NLC); cobalt (CBLT Inc. (TSXV: CBLT), Global Energy Metals Corporation (TSXV: GEMC); graphite; nickel (Nickel 28 Capital Corp. (TSXV: NKL); manganese; copper (Kodiak Copper Corp. (TSXV: KDK), Murchison Minerals Ltd. (TSXV: MUR); vanadium and scandium (Imperial Mining Group Ltd. (TSXV: IPG), Scandium International Mining Corp. (TSX: SCY). Another is the rare earths’ magnet materials maker Neo Performance Materials Inc. (TSX: NEO).

Finally, a phase-down of coal is a positive for the smart nuclear sector and hence the uranium miners and explorers such as Energy Fuels Inc. (NYSE American: UUUU | TSX: EFR), Ur-Energy Inc. (NYSE American: URG | TSX: URE), Western Uranium & Vanadium Corp. (CSE: WUC | OTCQX: WSTRF), Fission 3.0 Corp. (TSXV: FUU | OTCQB: FISOF), Appia Rare Earths & Uranium Corp. (CSE: API | OTCQB: APAAF), and Azincourt Energy Corp. (TSXV: AAZ).

Closing remarks

COP26 was perhaps more successful than what some are reporting. The phase-down of coal is a good achievement, with India joining this for the first time. The new transparency rules are underappreciated, given currently that there are no penalties for not following the climate change targets (only naming and shaming). New rules for global carbon credits trading are also a positive step forward. Also, the tripling of pledges to the Adaptation Fund to help developing companies is welcome.

Investors could look through the list of InvestorIntel members and select the companies that they think best align with the COP26 changes and the massive trend towards reducing emissions and producing green energy and technology this decade.

See you next time for COP27 in November 2022, this time in Egypt.




Copper, Lithium, and a Presidential Election in Chile, why does it matter?

Now that COP26 has concluded perhaps some other items will begin to show up in the news cycle. However, unless you dig deep you may not be aware that on November 21st Chileans go to the polls to elect a new president. You may be wondering why I picked an election in Chile as something to pay attention to given all the things going on in the world today. I have to admit that I’m a little concerned about the build-up of Russian troops on the Ukrainian border in response to complaints of increasing NATO activity in the region. And you just never know what’s going to happen when the Chinese and U.S. get together to discuss economic and military tensions. Yet despite all that I think the Chilean election could have greater global ramifications depending on the outcome…or it could be a non-event.

The reason for having a look under the hood at Chile’s election is two-fold. One is that the leading candidates in the polls are currently from the far left and the far right, neither are from Chile’s mainstream political parties. The second is Chile’s contribution to two very top-of-mind commodities at present: copper and lithium. Has this information started to pique your curiosity? If it hasn’t then it should and here’s why.

In today’s economic reality, as we move towards a cleaner, greener world with less carbon emissions, we are going to need a lot of copper to build out all the electrical infrastructure and of course lithium has been termed as the gasoline of the future. We’ve covered the macro necessity of both these commodities enough at InvestorIntel, so I won’t get into the weeds on everything regarding copper and lithium. However, I will say that Chile is the world’s largest miner of copper by a long shot. Mine production in Chile is approximately 28% of all copper mined in the world and the country  is estimated to contain 23% of global copper reserves. Those are the kind of numbers copper investors need to pay attention to.

As for lithium, it’s almost as impressive with Chile being part of the renowned Lithium Triangle. The Lithium Triangle is a lithium-rich region in the Andean southwest corner of South America, spanning the borders of Argentina, Bolivia, and Chile. Roughly 58% of the world’s lithium resources are found in these three countries, according to the 2021 USGS Mineral Commodity Summary. Although Chile only accounts for an estimated 11% of global lithium resources, they are currently the world’s second-largest producer with approximately 22% of the world’s lithium production. Again, this is enough material so that any sort of disruption to order or rule of law could have serious ramifications that ripple around the world.

As much as I like to brag about Canada being rich in commodities, Chile is knocking it out of the park when it comes to copper and lithium. Hence the reason I’m paying attention to this election given the importance to a nation’s commerce of an orderly transfer of power.

Now let’s take a closer look at the background heading into this election. This is the first election since widespread protests over inequality rocked Chile in 2019. Some of those protests turned violent, with riots, arson attacks, looting and violent clashes with police, all sparked after the government increased public transportation fares. Things were bubbling below the surface for a while and this was the ignition point. Needless to say Covid impacts to the economy and its people further exacerbated these issues. This led to Chileans voting in a referendum in October, 2020 to rewrite Chile’s constitution which appeared to be the writing on the wall for the center-right coalition government that is currently in power. Then in May of this year, Chileans voted again in an election for delegates who would rewrite the constitution. The ruling coalition failed to pick up the one-third of seats necessary to block radical changes to the constitution. Meanwhile, the center-left, which has dominated politics since the end of Augusto Pinochet’s 1973-1990 military dictatorship, garnered less support than leftists who have been pushing for wholesale change to the ‘Chilean model’ that has been credited with fomenting growth, but also with deep inequality.

That’s the macro reasoning but layered on top of that are a couple of micro issues that investors should also be aware of. The country is debating a controversial mining royalty bill which could sharply hike tariffs on the sector. The royalty bill, under discussion in Congress, could shut down the country’s private miners by slapping a 3% royalty on sales of copper with a sharp escalator as copper prices rise. As well, there is a new glacier protection law, which could impact some key mines.

The people of Chile want change and it looks like they will get it with the polls being led by far left hopeful Gabriel Boric and ultra conservative front-runner, Jose Antonio Kast. Thus far both candidates have kept their powder dry on mining during the campaign. Left-wing candidate Boric has discussed royalties while Kast has proposed vague changes to mining property law to rev up the sector, including opening up state miner Codelco to more private investment. At this point, it’s difficult to understand what either candidate could mean to Chile’s future as a mining powerhouse. Nevertheless, investors should be putting this election on their radar as there is potential for a lot more downside than upside, in my opinion. With that said, my hope is that this election is a non-event and results in an orderly transfer of power from one democratically elected party to another.

It should be noted that if no candidate gets a simple majority this coming Sunday, the top two will compete in a head-to-head ballot on Dec. 19. The polls suggest this is likely the next date you’ll have to mark in your calendar if you feel, as I do, that  it could be important to know who is the next President of Chile.




The Post-COP26 World Looks To Australia For Future Non-Chinese Rare Earths Production

To achieve U.N. climate change management goals the world needs to shift rapidly to clean energy, and that means we need to build or secure, reliable sources of rare earths. While the USA and Canada have made some progress in this direction, Australia will also be needed to play a key role.

When looking at a chart of rare earths reserves by country, China shows the largest reserves followed by Vietnam, Brazil, Russia, India, and Australia, in that order. The USA is ranked 8th and Canada is outside of the top ten. Given Australia’s stellar track record as a reliable supplier of raw materials, it should not be surprising to know that the West is looking towards Australia to step up production of rare earths, especially those needed to support the surging cleantech sectors of electric vehicles, wind energy, and solar energy.

ClearWorld.us says it well, stating:

“Renewable energy development relies upon sufficient quantities of rare earth minerals, specifically neodymium, terbium, indium, dysprosium, and praseodymium. These are used in the production of solar panels and wind turbines. If the world is to meet the greenhouse gas emissions targets sought in the Paris Climate Agreement the availability of these minerals must increase by 12 times by 2050.”

(Emphasis by the author.)

Rare earths are key elements in the cleantech revolution

Australian listed rare earths companies:

Producers

Lynas Rare Earths Limited (ASX: LYC) (“Lynas”)

Lynas is the second largest neodymium and praseodymium (“NdPr”) producer in the world. Lynas owns the Mt Weld rare earth mine, which is one of the world’s highest grade rare earths’ mines, and the Mt Weld ORE Concentration Plant, both located in Western Australia. Lynas also owns the Lynas Advanced Materials Plant (LAMP), which is an integrated manufacturing facility, separating and processing rare earths’ materials in Malaysia. The Lynas 2025 growth strategy encompasses plans to build the Kalgoorlie Rare Earths Processing Facility (cracking and leaching) in Australia and an LRE/HRE separation and specialty materials facility in the USA. Lynas trades on a market cap of A$7.3 billion.

Iluka Resources Ltd. (ASX: ILU) (“Iluka”)

Iluka is a relatively new (April 2020) producer of rare earths at their Eneabba Project in Western Australia. Iluka intends to ramp to selling 50,000 tpa of a 20% monazite-zircon ore concentrate for further processing offshore. Iluka has an offtake agreement for 50,000 tpa. Iluka is working on developing a Phase 2 of the Eneabba Project which involves investigating techniques to beneficiate and purify the monazite to an 80% concentrate for sale further down the value chain. Iluka is mostly known for being an Australian heavy mineral sands, zirconium and titanium, producer. Iluka trades on a market cap of A$3.5 billion.

Vital Metals Limited (ASX: VML) (“Vital”)

Vital recently began mining ore at its Nechalacho’ Mine in Canada’s Northwest Territories (NWT), with commencement of ore processing at Vital’s, under construction, Saskatoon cracking and leaching facility expected to begin in 2022. The Nechalacho Mine is a high grade, light rare earth (bastnaesite) project with a world-class resource of 94.7Mt at 1.46% REO (measured, indicated and inferred). Nechalacho’s North T Zone, which is being mined by Vital, hosts a high-grade resource of 101,000 tonnes at 9.01% LREO (2.2% NdPr). Vital has a non-binding MOU with Ucore Rare Metals Inc. for the supply to it of a mixed rare rare earth carbonate, beginning H1 2024. Vital Metals trades on a market cap of A$250 million.

Explorer/Developers (in alphabetical order):

Arafura Resources Limited (ASX: ARU) (“Arafura”)

Arafura 100% own the Nolan’s Bore rare earth project 135kms from Alice Springs in the Northern Territory, Australia. Arafura states: “The Project is underpinned by low-risk Mineral Resources that have the potential to supply a significant proportion of the world’s NdPr demand. It is a globally significant and strategic NdPr project which, once developed, will become a major supplier of these critical minerals to the high-performance NdFeB permanent magnet market.”

The deposit contains a JORC 2012-compliant Mineral Resources of 56 million tonnes at an average grade of 2.6% total rare earth oxides (TREO). 26.4% of the total rare earths contained are  NdPr. The Project is supported by Export Finance Australia (EFA), and the Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility (NAIF), via non-binding letters of support for a proposed senior debt facility of up to A$200 million and A$100 million respectively. Arafura is looking to raise further funds to get the project started. Arafura recently stated: “The momentum with offtake discussion has enabled engagement to expand to include the options for strategic investment as part of the Nolan’s project funding.” Market cap is A$379 million.

Australian Rare Earths Limited (ASX: AR3) (“AREL”)

AREL is progressing in the exploration of a significant deposit of valuable ‘clay-hosted’ rare earth elements, located at their Koppamurra Project spread over ~4,000km²  of tenements in South Australia and Victoria. Past exploration of the Koppamurra region has shown it contains mineralization containing the rare earth elements neodymium, praseodymium, dysprosium and terbium. The Koppamurra Project is an ‘ionic clay’ rare earth opportunity with a 2021 JORC Inferred Mineral Resource of 39.9Mt @ 725ppm TREO. AREL trades on a market cap of A$98 million.

Australian Strategic Materials Ltd. (ASX: ASM) (“ASM”)

ASM owns the Dubbo Rare Earths Project in NSW, Australia. The Dubbo Project is a 100% owned ‘construction ready’ poly-metallic and rare earths project with potential to become a key global supplier of specialty metals and rare earths. ASM’s goal is a “mine to metal” strategy to extract, refine and manufacture high-purity metals and alloys, supplying directly to global technology manufacturers. Market cap is A$1.92 billion.

Northern Minerals Limited (ASX: NTU)

Northern Minerals own the Browns Range heavy rare earth minerals project in Western Australia. Northern Minerals has built a pilot plant to test a number of deposits and prospects that contain high-value dysprosium and other Heavy Rare Earths (HREs) such as yttrium, hosted in xenotime mineralization.

The Company states: “Northern Minerals is positioned to become the world’s first significant producer of dysprosium outside of China. Accounting for 60% of the Browns Range Project’s (the Project) revenue, dysprosium is the key value driver of the Project and is at the core of Northern Minerals’ marketing strategy. With a high value, high purity, dysprosium rich product, the Company is set to become a long term and reliable supplier of dysprosium and other critical heavy rare earths to world markets.” Market cap is A$339 million.

Peak Resources Limited (ASX: PEK)

Peak Resources 75% owns the Ngualla Tanzania rare earth project, which the Company states is one of the world’s, largest and highest grade, undeveloped rare earth projects. The Ngualla Project has ore reserves of 18.5 million tonnes at 4.8% REO; 22% of the total mineral resource is NdPr, with an expected 26 year life of mine. The Project is currently at the funding stage having completed a BFS in 2017. The BFS summary details are here. About 90% of the Project’s revenues will be coming from NdPr. Peak Resources state: “Operating cost of US$ 34.20/kg NdPr* Oxide, demonstrating potential to be the world’s lowest-cost fully integrated rare earth development project.” Market cap is A$135 million.

Closing remarks

With rare earths demand set to grow strongly this decade as the world moves towards cleaner energy and technology, investors would be wise to take a second look at the rare earths sector.

Australian critical minerals projects were recently in the news after the Government announced that they would receive an A$2 billion boost (via a loan facility), to support the sector. This bodes well for the Australian rare earths junior miners to join Lynas as producers. Stay tuned as this sector looks set to shine this decade.




Nano One Strives For Sustainability and a Total Domestic North American Lithium Ion Battery Supply Chain

My biggest takeaway from COP26 is not so much climate action and emission reduction, but the message of sustainability. Without focusing on the importance of sustainability one risks thundering down a path of unintended consequences. What do I mean by this? Several years ago I read that if we could convert all coal fired power generation to natural gas it would achieve the Kyoto emission target. I can’t confirm if this is completely accurate or not, regardless it would have been a large step in the right direction (despite still being a fossil fuel based solution). At the time it would also have been achievable with existing, available resources and bought the world some time to continue building out renewable resources, which is the ultimate end game. However in 2021, with the lack of energy investment over the last several years due to a combination of factors, that isn’t the case today, and we are starting to see parts of the world where renewables haven’t developed enough by themselves to even keep people warm this winter. Meanwhile, the fossil fuel alternatives aren’t any longer as readily available as backup and may still not even provide enough for home heating. I understand the urgency of eliminating coal fired power, but if there aren’t enough alternative power options to keep people warm then who knows what happens next.

That’s why I think in order to successfully green our economy and reduce our global carbon footprint, the focus has to be on how to do it sustainably. One company that has to be at or near the top of the list in the transition to clean energy in a sustainable way is Nano One Materials Corp. (TSX: NANO). Nano One is a clean technology company with a patented, scalable and low carbon intensity industrial process for the low-cost production of high-performance lithium-ion battery cathode materials. The technology is applicable to electric vehicle, energy storage, consumer electronic, and next generation batteries in the global push for a zero-emission future. Nano One’s One-Pot process, its coated nanocrystal materials, and its Metal to Cathode Active Material (M2CAM) technologies address fundamental performance needs and supply chain constraints while reducing costs and carbon footprint.

Another facet of sustainability that is very applicable today is the supply chain. Currently, the cathode supply chain is long and complex. Nano One manufactures its cathode materials directly from nickel, manganese, and cobalt metal powder feedstocks rather than metal sulfates or other chemical salts. The metal powders used are one fifth of the weight of metal sulfates, avoiding the added costs, energy, and environmental impact of first converting to sulfate and then the shipping and handling of waste. The manufacturing process for all of its Cathode Active Material (CAM) uses lithium feedstock in the form of carbonate rather than of (lithium) hydroxide, which is costly, corrosive and harder-to-handle. The process is feedstock flexible which enables improved optionality of sourcing of raw materials. Nano One’s technology aligns it with the sustainability objectives of automotive companies, investment communities and governmental infrastructure initiatives.

On Tuesday, November 10, 2021, Nano One announced the goal of building a fully integrated and resilient battery supply chain in North America, which must include responsible mining of battery metals, onshore refining, environmentally favorable cathode material production, and recycling. The Company believes there is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to create a secure and cost competitive supply chain that is domestically integrated with a low environmental footprint. Accordingly, Nano One is shifting its LFP (lithium-iron-phosphate) cathode material strategic direction to large emerging markets outside of China, starting in North America, and has ceased joint development activities with Pulead Technology Industry.

LFP production is free from the constraints of nickel and cobalt, and although its origins are deeply rooted in Canada, its growth over the last decade is almost entirely based in China. Recent LFP cell-to-pack innovations have driven costs down and enabled greater EV range, setting the stage for EV pioneers to shift to LFP. The need has never been greater for a sustainable, responsible, and secure supply of LFP materials and batteries, to be established and supported in North America and Europe, proximal to where the EV’s are manufactured. Canada has clean energy assets, responsibly sourced critical minerals, and a rich history in LFP technology and manufacturing. By leveraging these opportunities with the Company’s simplified low-cost approach to cathode production, Nano One seeks to create a resilient value-added North American LFP supply chain in a collaborative ecosystem with a smaller environmental footprint.

There you have it. A company that sees the bigger picture and embraces sustainability in an effort to advance clean technology while reducing both costs and the overall carbon footprint. If this were a video, at this point I would simply drop the mic and walk away. Since it’s an article and I need a conclusion I’ll finish off by saying Nano One has the potential to have its technology in every EV built in North America and Europe, and that’s going to be a pretty big number in the not too distant future.




Nano One Materials’ Dan Blondal with Chris Thompson on decarbonizing the battery materials supply chain

In a recent InvestorIntel interview, Chris Thompson spoke with Dan Blondal, CEO, Director & Founder of Nano One Materials Corp. (TSX: NANO) about Nano One’s place in decarbonizing the battery materials supply chain and about the company’s product development collaboration with Euro Manganese and a global OEM automotive company.

In this InvestorIntel interview, which may also be viewed on YouTube (click here to subscribe to the InvestorIntel Channel), Dan Blondal said that Nano One’s patented technologies are used to make a wide range of the cathode materials used in batteries for electric vehicles, energy storage, and for consumer electronics. Dan also provided an update on Nano One’s One-Pot process, which increases the energy density and durability of lithium ion batteries, and how its M2CAM technology addresses supply chain complexities while reducing costs and carbon footprint.

To watch the full interview, click here.

About Nano One Materials Corp.

Nano One Materials Corp (Nano One) is a clean technology company with a patented, scalable and low carbon intensity industrial process for the low-cost production of high-performance lithium-ion battery cathode materials. The technology is applicable to electric vehicle, energy storage, consumer electronic and next generation batteries in the global push for a zero-emission future. Nano One’s One-Pot process, its coated nanocrystal materials, and its Metal to Cathode Active Material (M2CAM) technologies address fundamental performance needs and supply chain constraints while reducing costs and carbon footprint. Nano One has received funding from various government programs and its current “Scaling of Advanced Battery Materials Project” is supported by Sustainable Development Technology Canada (SDTC) and the Innovative Clean Energy (ICE) Fund of the Province of British Columbia.

To learn more about Nano One Inc., click here

Disclaimer: Nano One Materials Corp. is an advertorial member of InvestorIntel Corp.

This interview, which was produced by InvestorIntel Corp. (IIC) does not contain, nor does it purport to contain, a summary of all the material information concerning the “Company” being interviewed. IIC offers no representations or warranties that any of the information contained in this interview is accurate or complete.

This presentation may contain “forward-looking statements” within the meaning of applicable Canadian securities legislation. Forward-looking statements are based on the opinions and assumptions of management of the Company as of the date made. They are inherently susceptible to uncertainty and other factors that could cause actual events/results to differ materially from these forward-looking statements. Additional risks and uncertainties, including those that the Company does not know about now or that it currently deems immaterial, may also adversely affect the Company’s business or any investment therein.

Any projections given are principally intended for use as objectives and are not intended, and should not be taken,  as assurances that the projected results will be obtained by the Company. The assumptions used may not prove to be accurate and a potential decline in the Company’s financial condition or results of operations may negatively impact the value of its securities. Prospective investors are urged to review the Company’s profile on Sedar.com and to carry out independent investigations in order to determine their interest in investing in the Company.

If you have any questions surrounding the content of this interview, please email info@investorintel.com.