EDITOR: | August 2nd, 2017 | 6 Comments

InvestorIntel Rare Earths Monthly – July 2017

| August 02, 2017 | 6 Comments

And let the Games begin!

July 2017 maybe, just maybe, the first clear sign that the rare earths turnaround has well and truly occurred and is gaining pace. Just look at what is happening to the prices! And in particular, the magnet market rare earths. For the month, Neodymium is up 19.70%, Praseodymium is up 28.09%, Nd/Pr is up 20.57% and even Dysprosium is kicking it’s past trend to be up 5.38%. Looks like the magnet related market is in for some interesting times. But there have also been good gains for Cerium up 9.61%, for Terbium up 5.38% and for Lanthanum up 3.01%. So, an across the market rally appears to be underway. Not so for Yttrium though, as that is languishing.

I have been very interested in the news about recovery of rare earths from coal over-burden or coal beneficiation plant wastes. I’ll look to provide a close watch of developments here. I’ll provide my first cautious comments after the Company news section.

July in summary. A calm before the storm? Not as much news coming through as I would have anticipated with the price rises surely set to re-kindle the rare earth space. Maybe August will reflect more the perceptions that are out there and that will bring out all projects to re-state their value cases and attempt to re-position themselves in the rare earths investment pecking order.

Let’s look at the news on rare earth prices.

Will this momentum continue? Last quarters statement about rare earth prices approaching, are at or have passed the 2 year high point is still valid. Excellent price rises across the board (yttrium excepted) are being recorded almost every day. Let’s watch the investor market reaction! And the news out of China is for further increases.

The decline in the yttrium price issue is a consequence of the rapidly growing LED lighting industry. It’s expansionary pace has out-stripped market commentators expectations and this appears to be suppressing the old phosphor market feed materials, particularly yttrium. But all is not lost! The 14 July, ABC Action News article on rare earths in street lighting brought back memories of a visit to what was claimed to be the largest and most advanced phosphor laboratory in the world. It was in Beijing and I was given a very clear and uplifting experience of what the future of phosphors could be. These were real examples. Just imagine driving with no street lights! All streets signs and important information displays are phosphor based. They charge from the sun during the day and emit light at night. All emergency signage inside buildings can operate independent of battery backup. I even saw a wedding photo that was still visible in the dark in full colour. There were many more examples. The volume of uses for such phosphor based technology would easily consume the yttrium being produced as a co-product with dysprosium. Just a thought!

Below is the list of published information pieces (with hyper-links where possible) from:

  • Companies in the rare earths space
  • China
  • Other Countries
  • Rare Earths related market research and commentary

And where it represents a shift in an REO-business fundamental or a significant development for the company I will provide commentary. Note that certain references will require registration or purchase (*). Selecting the company name of any members of the InvestorIntel Rare Earths family will take you their InvestorIntel Member information page. Selecting the company name of Non-InvestorIntel members will direct you to their website (where available).

Alkane Resources Ltd. (ASX: ALK | OTCQX: ANLKY)

Date Source Title
20 Jul InvestorIntel 2017 – The Year of Alkane Resources

InvestorIntel advertorial member

Hastings Technology Metals Ltd. (ASX: HAS)

Date Source Title
31 Jul InvestorIntel Hasting Technology Metals Quarterly Activities Report

InvestorIntel advertorial member

Lynas Corporation (ASX: LYC | OTC: LYSDY)

Date Source Title
5 Jul The Australian Financial Review Rare Earths supplier Lynas finally out of the woods
24 Jul InvestorIntel Lynas defies market to become a super metal heavy weight

InvestorIntel advertorial member

Matamec Explorations Inc. (TSXV: MAT | OTCQX: MHREF)

Date Source Title
13 Jul InvestorIntel Matamec announces a Non-Brokered Private Placement

InvestorIntel advertorial member

Northern Minerals Limited (ASX: NTU)

Date Source Title
13 Jul Mining Journal Prime time for xenotime HRE player
28 Jul InvestorIntel  Northern Minerals Limited: WA Premier marks commencement of works at Browns Range

InvestorIntel advertorial member

Peak Resources Ltd. (ASX: PEK)

Date Source Title
4 Jul The West Australian Tanzania’s mining agreements plan rocks Cradle
14 Jul InvestorIntel Peak positioned to capitalize on explosive EV marketplace over next decade

InvestorIntel advertorial member

Search Minerals Inc. (TSXV: SMY)

Date Source Title
5 Jul InvestorIntel Search Minerals provides final composition of high purity Mined Rare Earth Oxide product from the pilot plant operation

InvestorIntel advertorial member

Ucore Rare Metals Inc. (TSXV: UCU | OTCQX: UURAF)

Date Source Title
13 Jul InvestorIntel Ucore comments on National Defense Authorization Act for F2018

InvestorIntel advertorial member

Frontier Rare Earths Limited (OTCQX: FREFF)

Date Source Title
9 Jul News 24 Renew faith in brand SA

Non-InvestorIntel advertorial member

Greenland Minerals & Energy Ltd. (ASX: GGG)

Date Source Title
4 Jul Proactive Investors Australia Greenland Minerals and Energy Limited positioned for price rise
21 Jul RM Research Greenland Minerals & Energy Ltd – Flash Note

Non-InvestorIntel advertorial member

Mountain Pass (former Molycorp property)

Date Source Title
18 Jul Bloomberg News Trump urged by CEO to nationalize the only US rare earths mine
21 Jul Investing News Network The only US Rare Earths mine could be nationalized if this CEO gets his way

Non-InvestorIntel advertorial member

Quest Rare Minerals Ltd. (TSX: QRM)

Date Source Title
5 Jul Globe Newswire Quest Rare Minerals files a Notice of Intention to make a Proposal under the Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act (Canada)

Non-InvestorIntel advertorial member

Rainbow Rare Earths (LON: RRE)

Date Source Title
21 Jul MINING.com New African rare earth mine to start production by year end
25 Jul Mining Review Africa Rainbow Rare Earths launches Gakara project in Burundi

Non-InvestorIntel advertorial member

Strategic Minerals PLC (AIM: SML)

Date Source Title
18 Jul Proactive Investors UK Why are Strategic Minerals Plc getting excited about rare earths?

Non-InvestorIntel advertorial member


Date Source Title
7 Jul Industrial Minerals* Sichuan looks to strengthen rare earths, TiO2
28 Jul Foreign Brief China to open more industries to foreign investment but rare earths remain protected
31 Jul Global Times Chinese expert tells US to “calm down” on North Korea

 Other Countries

Date Source Title
1 Jul Townhall Monumental, Unsustainable Environmental Impacts
4 Jul Bismarck Tribune* North Dakota coal studying supply of valuable rare earth elements
5 Jul The Capital Journal ND coal companies research rare earth elements supply
8 Jul Asia Times Potential rare earths industry in the US must avoid China’s mistakes
8 Jul Scranton Times – Tribune* New Use for coal
8 Jul Standard Speaker* Barletta offers updates on new uses for coal
11 Jul Chromatography Today How is Chromatography helping to extract rare earth elements?
14 Jul BU Today Klinger in Forbes on North Korea and Rare Earth Elements
14 Jul Forbes Why North Korea is an untapped goldmine for Tech Companies and for China
17 Jul Times of India Geologists strike seabed gold in peninsular India
18 Jul Gilmer Mirror NETL Researchers use advanced techniques to identify rare earth elements in coal and coal by-products
19 Jul Resource Clips Diamond explorer Artic Star to drill British Columbia property for rare earths and rare metals
24 Jul WDAZ* Researchers sample ND coal for rare elements
24 Jul Digital Trends Billionaire space prospectors are racing to mine the moon, and that’s a good thing
24 Jul InsideEVs Koch Brothers attack electric cars with misinformation campaign again
26 Jul US News & World Report North Dakota geologists search for rare earth elements
29 Jul Phys. Org Team manufactures magnets entirely from US sources rare earths

Market Research and Commentary

Date Source Title
5 Jul InvestorIntel Hedge Funds and Mining – Never shall the two meet
7 Jul InvestorIntel InvestorIntel Rare Earths Monthly – June 2017
14 Jul ABC Action News Rare Earth crystals being used to better light city streets in Tampa
16 Jul Registrar Daily* 2017 -2022 Global Holmium Oxide market analysis: China Minmetals Rare Earth, Longyi Heavy Rare Earth, Ganzhou Rare Earth mineral industry
17 Jul Recycling Today Eriez P-Rex rare earth scrap drums aid in ferrous recovery
20 Jul Argus Media Rare earths: Rise in prices to continue in 3Q on tight supply
25 Jul InvestorIntel Resurging Commodity Markets: The Rare Earths (Part 2)
27 Jul The Hill (blog) A rare earth cooperative for critical minerals could be just what America needs

Still await news on any legal actions on the Mountain Pass auction. And also the suggestion that the US Federal system should get involved will make interesting reading and commentary as the story unfolds.

Rainbow Rare Earths (LON: RRE) have started operations in Africa! Small scale but watch this space.

Rare Earths extraction from coal. Well, the story is developing. The rare earths isn’t in the coal per se, it’s in the waste. This may be the mining over-burden, or the coal beneficiation plant (washery) wastes, or in the ash that remains after the coal is burnt. A trigger went off in my head when I discovered this and it may serve as a “warning” / “guide” to those involved. A few years ago, I was responsible for the environmental implications for the development of coal seam methane in the Sydney Basin on the east coast of New South Wales, Australia. The coal seams were quite extensive spanning some 150 x 50 kilometres. The seams were not deep and were accessible by the local farmers who obtained a water extraction licence from the relevant Land Use regulator. The farmers used this “coal seam water” for their livestock and was deemed perfectly acceptable to the Regulator. Along comes a gas explorer who operates under different regulations! We were regulated under the oil and gas regulations and as such the extracted water was classified as “petrochemical wastes”. Could we give it to the farmer? No way! Could we use it for keeping the grass green? Nope! We had to collect and transfer this “waste”, that the farmer could still water his livestock with, to a registered waste handling facility. Cost $0.60 per litre! And BTW what did the waste handling facility do with this “waste”? They simply used it to dilute other liquid wastes (therefore needing less or no chemical treatment) before the combined flow went to ocean out fall! Great economic, environmental or productivity outcome!

Rare earths in coal over-burden. Over-burden is for the most part benign and is disposed of in large heaps (sometimes quite large), where they have some vegetative rehabilitation put on the top to prevent erosion and transportation by dust or water runoff. Pretty simple stuff. Now I hear that the preferred method of extracting the rare earths is by heap leaching. Alarm bells! These heaps may now be classified as chemical wastes and the environmental liability and scale of management processes may exceed any added value. Maybe I’m exaggerating, or maybe I’m over-reacting. So, will those investigating rare earths extraction from coal wastes just check which regulations will you be operating under. It is likely to be different from State to State, and better check Federally as well.

See you next month.

Steve Mackowski


Mr Mackowski is a qualified engineer in mineral processing with over 30 years technical and operational experience in rare earths, uranium, industrial minerals, nickel, kaolin ... <Read more about Steve Mackowski>

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  • Martin Eales

    Hi Steve, thanks very much for the excellent summary. Just a small note for any readers tempted to take a look at Rainbow Rare Earths: our ticker code in London is actually RBW rather than RRE.
    Very best wishes

    August 2, 2017 - 3:43 PM

    • Steve Mackowski

      Corrected for next monthly publication. Keep up the good work by the way.

      August 2, 2017 - 9:50 PM

  • JJBeswick

    Seems to me there are 2 categories of company reported here: Lynas and the rest.
    Lynas have spent the money, built the plant, struggled mightily with the tech and the market and are now cash flow positive/profitable.
    The word is the world needs a new Lynas every 4 years.
    The rest have a huge barrier to join Lynas as successful producers, barring some disruptive processing technology. There are plenty of contenders but no proven improvements.
    I expect that the required new Lynas’s will (mostly) be an expansion of Lynas.

    August 8, 2017 - 10:22 AM

    • Thomas Crown

      .. the required new Lynas will be Alkane, shovel ready and with far more rare earth elements at iit Dubbo mine than Lynas. Alkane is my top pick to meet industries new technology demand.

      August 9, 2017 - 3:18 AM

  • JJBeswick

    The required new “Lynas after next” may well be Alkane, a very good project.
    But the next expansion is very likely to be from Lynas adding another solvent extraction line or 2, beyond the current 4.
    The reason is that the cracking and leaching “front end” of the LAMP – the most expensive bit- has considerable spare capacity now it’s optimised. (I believe they’re running 2 of the four kilns, with another on warm standby, for example.)
    Compared to Mt Weld, Alkane has a resource about one tenth the ReO per kg (and about half the total RE resource) but of course there is considerable value in Alkane’s zirconium, hafnium and niobium by products.
    What’s the current state of funding? Will take a a long while to develop it based on the gold mining cashflow. Offtake agreements are great but they still need to produce first.

    August 9, 2017 - 10:09 AM

  • InvestorIntel Rare Earths Monthly – August 2017

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    September 7, 2017 - 3:05 PM

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