Lifton on Rare Element Resources leading technical team
My congratulations to Rare Element Resources Ltd. (NYSE MKT: REE | TSX: RES) on taking a significant step forward in the execution of its excellent business operations plan.
The North American junior rare earth space is rapidly shrinking due either to poorly conceived, usually bloated business operations models that simply cannot be economically executed or due to poor execution of business operations models that are too ambitious, or too technical, or just too expensive for the junior’s management to execute.
Rare Element Resources is one of the few juniors with a well thought-out and practical business operations model that has been logically prioritized and is being executed incrementally within a reasonable time-frame. Last week’s announcement that the company has achieved the targeted goal of producing a clean (of both radioactive, and of separation-process-interferents) high purity mixed concentrate that is also free of most of the cerium contained in the mineralogy is a landmark that very few other juniors have reached. And by not reaching it the majority of the others have eliminated any chance of economic success.
Just by eliminating the cerium Rare Element Resources has dramatically reduced the size of the traditional solvent extraction plant it will need to separate its rare earths into individual salts and customer or market specified blends. It is my understanding that the company plans to now design build, and bring onto operation a streamlined solvent extraction system to process its high purity mixed concentrate into individual rare earth salts and customer-specified blends.
Rare Element Resources, among non-producing juniors, has the deepest in-house technical staff for chemical processing of any rare earth junior that I have met anywhere.
Rare Element Resources has chosen to streamline the traditional and well proven solvent extraction technology and, if successful, will transform the traditional technology forever by inaugurating an era of tailored minimalist solvent extraction plants specific to the ore body being developed into a producing mine.
As an aside, the best technologies for commercially producing rare earth permanent magnet alloys and the magnets themselves were invented in the US and Europe. As supplies of high purity individual rare earths become available in the USA I predict that rare earth alloy making and magnet making will revive. In fact I predict that Japanese companies doing both will outsource such activities to the USA before 2020; they will be joined, and I hope, preceded by American companies.
So-called globalization has hammered corporate profits, and disillusioned American and European companies are gearing up to return production to their native shores. I predict that their sourcing of rare earth permanent magnets, fluid cracking catalysts, rare earth lasers, and rare earth modified structural alloys will be local by 2020.
Rare Element Resources’ baby step may become a giant step.
Jack Lifton is the CEO of Jack Lifton, LLC and is a consultant, author, and lecturer on the market fundamentals of technology metals. “Technology metals” ... <Read more about Jack Lifton>