EDITOR: | September 25th, 2019 | 5 Comments

Jack Lifton on rare earths version 2.0

| September 25, 2019 | 5 Comments
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“A lot of my friends are calling this rare earth version 2.0. This is the first real awareness of the Washington that there is a problem and that they need to find a solution. How it is impacting the space is that a lot of investors are now looking again at the rare earths projects that are closest to production. In the non-Chinese world, we have perhaps half a dozen producing rare earths companies but all of the processing of heavy rare earths, in general, is done in China today.” States Jack Lifton, Co-founding Principal at Technology Metals Research LLC (and the new InvestorIntel host for all critical materials), in an interview with InvestorIntel’s Tracy Weslosky.

Jack went on to provide an update on Lynas. He said that Lynas is trying to balance its operations to satisfy both the Malaysian government and the Australian government and Lynas will build an ore processing plant in Australia. The ore processing part is a problem in Malaysia. The ore is brought from Australia to Malaysia where it is roasted, cracked, leached and separated. The roasting, cracking and perhaps leaching is going to move to Australia. Also, Lynas has indicated that it is going to set up a separation plant for its heavy rare earths with its current distributor which is Blue Line Chemicals of Texas. Jack further added that the United States is very concerned about the security of supply (of rare earths) and investors would be making a mistake if they ignore the space.

To access the complete interview, click here


Raj Shah

Editor:

Raj Shah has professional experience working for over a half a dozen years at financial firms such as Merrill Lynch and First Allied Securities Inc., ... <Read more about Raj Shah>


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Comments

  • Rare Earths Investor

    Like the idea that even Jack Lifton is now talking about the timeline for new RE companies to progress and potential emergent value chains being in the 2-3 year range, no longer 5 – 10. Strategic moves are by their nature faster rather than slow and on mass rather than piecemeal.

    September 25, 2019 - 7:57 PM

  • Joe

    The western world is all about economics. If it’s not economical it won’t happen. Hard to see any of the current crop of junior hard rock wannabe producers including the one with a pilot plant being able to produce economically. Unlike the Chinese who have subsidised their RE companies and turned a blind eye to the damage they have caused to the environment in order to gain the upper hand in the RE space. It appears that what is needed is a downstream processing magic pudding. What I mean by that is there needs to be a new technology that enables processing and separation of RE from low grade sources to be processed cheaper than what it would by using traditional SX tech. Still waiting for that magic pudding…

    September 26, 2019 - 4:29 AM

    • Jack Lifton

      Joe,

      The issue is right sizing the separation plant. For large volumes SX is the answer. But for the smaller SEG and HREE volumes IX, CIX, MRT, and maybe even membrane technology may well be the answer.

      September 30, 2019 - 7:29 PM

    • Tracy Weslosky

      My email Joe O is tracy@investorintel.com – send me a letter and I may publish it. Figure 600-750 words and focus on 1-2 of your points. Our readers may enjoy this.

      October 7, 2019 - 11:08 AM

  • Joe

    Jack
    Will be interesting to see which, if any, of those alternative technologies proves to be successful. Have any been tested at commercial scale to validate economics?

    But separation is only one part of the issue. There is mining and then processing the ore into a mixed concentrate ready for separation that also needs to be taken into consideration.

    Using NTU as an example, the company is struggling to produce a mixed concentrate from the small patches of low grade ore the company has mined that is suitable for downstream separation. And that is from a 1/10 scale plant. Apparently Xenotime was meant to be one of the easier types of host rock to process.

    Will be interesting to see how this plays out. A great deal of hype around the RE sector ATM.

    October 1, 2019 - 5:24 PM

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