EDITOR: | September 21st, 2017 | 55 Comments

Profiting from the Inevitable Price Increases of Rare Earths in 2018

| September 21, 2017 | 55 Comments
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The rare earth market will have a tremendous 2018. Position yourself now to profit from that.

There are three key takeaways from this article. The first is that while rare earth elements aren’t actually that rare (for example, cerium, #58 on the period table, is about as common as copper), REE’s are extremely difficult to extract and process.

It is technically complicated to separate them from each other and from the host ore, increasing the cost and risk of mining REE’s as compared to something more generic like gold or nickel. While they are easy to find, these metallurgic difficulties makes the REE supply response inelastic.

Second, something to compare it to, and for that we look at cobalt, the dominant element in the cathode of a lithium ion battery. For a primer on why cobalt spiked, please look here and here. In summary, Economics101 predicted the increased value in cobalt. It was clear that demand for cobalt was increasing as lithium ion batteries found their way into our toothbrushes, hedge trimmers, drones, cell phones and most importantly our electric vehicles. It was also clear that supply was at risk due to the concentration of cobalt production in the unfortunate Congo.

Risky supply + increased demand = price increases. When we called about cobalt about 20 months ago, it was trading on the LME at roughly USD$10 per pound. Today, it’s around $27. We’re calling for $35 by year end.

We are calling for the same kind of reaction in the REE market, and for the same basic reasons.

Which brings us to the the third takeaway, namely, supply and demand. The REE market already had one major surge this century, coming in 2010, but that was in response to China’s state-managed cuts in production. Since 95% of the world’s REE’s come from China, those production cuts caused prices to jump through 2011, when China changed its mind and prices plummeted (a simplistic summary of a complicated situation). In that case, the supply side dictated pricing.

As with cobalt, and the third major takeaway here, is that the next run in REE pricing will be driven by the leveraged push-pull of global product shortage and increased demand.

The U.S. Department of Energy is anticipating a critical shortage of neodymium, europium, terbium, dysprosium and yttrium necessary for green technology development and construction. (US Dept of Energy, Technology Metal Research). With virtually no production outside of China and with the supply response being inelastic, it will take a considerable amount of time for new mines to come online and begin production.

Part of that shortage will be driven by new demand, with possibly the greatest new demand for REE’s in electric vehicles. For proof, consider the thought experiment from UBS in May, 2017. UBS’s thought experiment was, let’s tear apart a Chevy Volt to see what it’s made of, and then draw inferences as to pricing of the vehicles and the pricing of the minerals that go into making a Volt. (As an aside, note that UBS’ cobalt conclusion was the same as ours, that cobalt will have a great run should the sale of EV’s continue.)

One of UBS’ many interesting conclusions was that the market for rare earths, neodymium in particular, could face demand shocks in case of a rapidly evolving EV market. The material is used in the e-motor magnets (see page 8 in the report).

There is one more less empiric measurement to consider here, and we acknowledge it is less scientific and more anecdotal. However, it has been a reliable gauge for us in the past.

That gauge is this: there are more REE deals passing through my inbox than ever before. Investors are asking me to find them to good REE companies, and good REE companies are confidently seeking growth capital rather than coming apologetically hat-in-hand. Those two things happening at the same time is a leading indicator that the REE market will be play within 12 months or so.

So our three takeaways and the anecdotal evidence result in one question: do you as an investor think there will be more appliances with lithium ion batteries sold next year, or fewer? If it’s more, then load up on the REE companies. If it’s fewer, then go long steel.

Our call is that 2018 will be a big year for REE’s. Plan ahead to profit from that.


Peter Clausi

Editor:

Mr. Clausi is an experienced investment banker, executive and director. A graduate of Osgoode Hall Law School called to Ontario's bar in 1990, Mr. Clausi ... <Read more about Peter Clausi>


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Comments

  • Tracy Weslosky

    Peter — I reviewed the rare earth leading performers this morning, and here’s what I discovered — some are already profiting nicely! BUT ONLY THE AUSTRALIANS — the North American rare earth companies have not been identified yet by NA investors…

    Since the New Year (in order of stock % increase) and calculated through market close yesterday, 9-20-2017:
    Lynas’ OTC: LYSDY up +162.10% & ASX: LYC +156.94%
    Arafura Resources’ ASX: ARU up +100.00%
    Alkane Resources’ OTCQX: ANLKY up +17.20% & ASX: ALK +10.29%

    September 21, 2017 - 11:40 AM

  • JJBeswick

    Peter your claim that that there’s”..virtually no production outside of China.. ” is outdated.
    Check Lynas’s last quarterly where they announce “Lynas has consolidated its position as the second largest NdPr producer in the world and the largest supplier of NdPr to the free market”; I’ve estimated they make about 20% of global NdPr production. They had quarterly free cash flow of A$15m when the price was down at $39/kg.
    Who else ex-China is going to reap the benefits of this bull RE market?
    With overcapacity in the expensive part of the LAMP processing facility, I’ve also heard it would be relatively easy to expand production; simply more SX circuits and a upgrade of the beneficiation gear at Mt Weld.

    September 21, 2017 - 11:01 PM

  • Robert Richardson

    Peter, re your “….there are more REE deals passing through my inbox….”, the fundamental issue isn’t mining the stuff, but PROCESSING it. Lynas is the only company outside China with the capability to do this, and it’s cost billions to do it successfully and cleanly, in what a knowledgable person has said is the largest and most complex chemical processing plant in the world. Other would-be miners need to be asked where they plan to do this, because each orebody needs a plant tailored to its product, and with its own richest RE mine in the world that is currently drilling to prove resources beyond 50 years in a safe, accessible location without country risk, I cannot see Lynas bothering to toll-process for others.

    September 21, 2017 - 11:48 PM

    • Peter Clausi

      Robert, I agree with you. I’m on record elsewhere as saying in REE’s, the deposit is secondary to the metallurgy. The world outside of China needs better intellectual property to accellerate the REE market.

      September 22, 2017 - 11:12 AM

    • reejoey

      If you are looking at the processing portion of the ree chain, look no further than innovative Ucore–actually a nanotechnology company with America’s highest grade HREE deposit in its back hip pocket. Its MRT is a cleantech/greentech solution to refining/recycling of rare earths and other critical companies–beginning with platinum and probably extraction from coal on the horizon. Their planned portable processing (40 foot containers) has the capacity to rewrite this industry and the relevance of geography. Just don’t understand all this focus on Lynas–its existence as well as economics are just too tenuous.

      September 23, 2017 - 4:34 PM

      • Chris

        Lynas is the only ROW producer of seperated REO supplying on spec product to a diverse customer base. Not sure how you can call that tenuous. As far as I can tell Ucore are yet to prove they can produce a product at commercially acceptable quantities let alone in spec product to customers requirements. BTW, who are Ucores customers?

        September 24, 2017 - 10:16 PM

  • Peter Clausi

    Mr. Beswick, you know you just agreed with me, right? The article doesn’t say all, it says “Since 95% of the world’s REE’s come from China…” I know Lynas quite well from the interview I conducted with the CEO last May.

    September 22, 2017 - 11:11 AM

    • JJBeswick

      We don’t agree if you think 20% is “virtually no production” and not worth mentioning.

      September 22, 2017 - 12:51 PM

  • Daniel J. Dragonsmyth

    Dear Peter
    I agree that finding rare earths is fairly easy, but the separation of REE is the real problem. Which has been solved by a little Canadian company by the name of Ucore. Symbol: V.UCU in Canada and UURAF in the US. In April 2015 they told the world that they had separated all 17 rare earths to 99 plus % purity using a new green tech called MRT. But did the world listen, no not really. The best part a MRT plant is about a tenth the size of a SX plant and does not contaminate the soil like SX does. You want a deal for your readers have them have them check out Ucore.

    September 22, 2017 - 11:33 AM

    • JJBeswick

      A couple of comments here.
      For RE a big part of the cost is in getting from raw ore to a PLS: essentially the RE in solution.
      Ucore’s tech does nothing to advance that challenge.
      SX may be big but it is pretty cheap. Just a bunch of vats containing immiscible liquids getting stirred and decanted. It’s not a big cost in the overall process.
      If some idiot (or environmental vandal) was to empty those vats onto soil the impact you claim would be correct; the contamination would be mainly kerosene.
      Lynas doesn’t, of course, so zero spoilt soil.

      September 22, 2017 - 12:44 PM

    • Jimmy Gibson

      Another good deal for readers check out Rainbow Rare Earths production and first sales due this quarter

      September 22, 2017 - 1:47 PM

  • JJBeswick

    Sure the RE hopefuls will be lifted- as they should- by strong RE prices.
    But as pointed out above it’s Lynas that stands to generate actual wealth from this improved market.
    I did a rough back of envelope estimate working in US currency for convenience.
    Lynas current annual free cash flow (FCF) is A$60 = US$45m pa based on a NdPr price of around $40/kg. Current Lynas NdPr production is about 6ktpa and of course any price increase goes straight to the bottom line.
    Let’s assume a NdPr price (below the current) of $80/kg.
    That’s a $40 increase times 6 million kg pa = $240m pa
    That gives a total FCF of $240 + 45 = $285m annually.
    Of course we’re ignoring the price increases in the other RE Lynas products and the ongoing improvements in their plant costs and throughput.
    So it seems Lynas’s “huge” debt of (currently) $185m can be paid off in about 8 months in this conservative scenario.
    I wonder how the other $100m for the year will be used?
    How will any aspiring startup attract funding in competition with those figures? Especially, as RR points out, the production learning curve is very steep and time consuming.

    September 22, 2017 - 12:32 PM

  • Teh kian lang

    If opposition wins the election next year, Lynas’s Plant license in Kuantan, Malaysia may be revoked.

    Teh Kian Lang
    Kuantan
    Malaysia

    September 22, 2017 - 9:16 PM

    • Chris

      Commentary like that belongs on the SMSL Facebook page, along with all the other disinformation.

      September 24, 2017 - 11:34 PM

  • Joe O

    Jack Lifton called MRT /Ucore ” a game changer” before he bolted back to Texas rare earth (not much from them lately?) If they get a deal with the alberta oil sands like speculated they can be a home run just on that. Its seems MRT may be big in lithium, cobalt etc spaces too Yes They start at the PLS solution but also there are ridiculous amounts of tailing out there that they may be able to make $$$ out of. What happended to jack? I have heard much from him since he went back to texas. I do own a small amount of share in them too (very speculative)

    September 23, 2017 - 4:53 PM

    • Jack Lifton

      Joe,
      I did not “bolt” back to Texas Mineral resources. I left Ucore and that terminated my agreement with them to not work with any other rare earth venture. I have had almost no contact with Texas MR, since I “rejoined” their advisory board. I do get occasional calls from their Chairman or CEo to discuss specific REE topics. I no longer write for Investorintel. I continue to advise clients on business operations and the marketing of technology metals and materials, and I have a busy schedule of conference presentations. MRT is a game changer, because grade deflation is a global problem, and MRT is ideally suited to work, where it is effective, at concentrations too low for legacy extraction/selection technologies to be economical. It now looks to me that MRT’s first real test bin mass production will be for Lithium Energi’s brine project in Argentina.

      November 7, 2017 - 12:45 PM

  • Tim Ainsworth

    All top down as usual, all totally misses the business end, as usual.

    If any were to understand the tiny, narrow little market, they might have a hope of understanding the business.

    September 23, 2017 - 6:35 PM

    • Jack Lifton

      Tim,

      As usual, you are correct about the narrow uniformed perspective of so many small investors.

      Jack

      November 7, 2017 - 12:48 PM

  • Kiril – Geomega

    Great to see more and more articles being written about REE. The increase in demand for permanent magnets is significant and the price increase has been a good sign for the industry although not for the end users.
    Juniors in Australia are much closer to China and to signing deals to process REE concentrate there or with Lynas (if that ever happens). For the North American juniors it is much more difficult and therefore a mine development will have to go through first developing REE separation capacity here. Vertical integration is important to make NA REE pricing competitive as well. Geomega is one of the few companies with a large Nd project and a separation technology in development. Demonstrating scalability, capacity, operating and capital costs is important. GMA chose to do that through high grade industrial residues as indicated in last week’s results. UCU through oil sands.
    Working with end users and producing commercial grade and commercial quantities while the market is still hot will be critical to taking a project to the next step.

    September 25, 2017 - 1:54 AM

  • Joe O

    Yes Ucore does not have customers (as of today) no have they produced at a commercial scale. I cant say if the can meet customers specs either. Obviously its still speculative. Some would say highly speculative. My opinion is that I think (hope) that they are close to both. They also have a chance at some government ( so does TMRC) contracts. Not betting the farm, just a couple % points of my total portfolio

    September 25, 2017 - 6:07 PM

  • JJ Beswick

    I just don’t see a place for new RE players for some time.
    There’s just no NdPr capacity shortage anytime soon. Chinese production is about 30% shut down for now; illegals and sub-standard operations. They can be progressively upgraded and brought back online. Lynas can increase by ~ 3ktpa NdPr relatively easily; by itself that’s 10% of current global production.
    Any new player will have to convince funders that they either have a new product, can make it substantially cheaper than the established producers or have some kind of privileged market access.
    Looks to me like there will be controlled NdPr expansion from the established players, keeping prices in a sweet spot for both producers and consumers.
    The barrier to entry has never been higher.

    September 26, 2017 - 11:03 AM

    • Daniel J. Dragonsmyth

      Okay, JJ. Let’s look at the new player vs China and Lynas. Ucore is not a miner any more, it has evolved into a separation tech company. When Ucore signed the joint venture with IBC in 2015. They saw the wind of change and set sail. China and Lynas have to dig there feed stock out of the ground and no one pays them to do it. Ucore, is going after oil sand and tailing, no digging already above ground. What Jim the CEO calls low hanging fruit. Ucore can do the separation on over 60 different elements. Which means when oil sands come on line in the 2 quarter 2018 They will be selling all 17 rare earths, titanium, vanadium, scandium, maybe cobalt.
      Ucore is working with the U of Kentucky to separate REE and others elements from coal, fly ash, the clay above the coal deposits and the water in old coal mines. The best part DOE is paying them to do it.
      Ucore is talking with the EPA to use MRT to help clean up super fund sites. MRT could be used to separate elements to help pay for the clean up. Much the same way that they are being used to clean seawater of nuke elements at the Fukushima plants in Japan.
      No JJ, Ucore is a little company that is riding a big wave of change to the mining industry.

      September 26, 2017 - 3:19 PM

  • JJ Beswick

    Daniel,
    I have to agree that Ucore is wise to distance itself from the very 2nd rate Bokan deposit.
    The TMR site catalogues any number of much better RE resources.
    Is the Ucore tech so game changing that it will magically render economical 3rd rate sources such as oil sands and tailings?? (Admittedly tailings work for Bataou, the biggest RE source globally.)
    So you reckon Ucore will be selling ” all 17 rare earths, titanium, vanadium, scandium, maybe cobalt.”?
    Seriously??
    I suggest you add lithium, tantalum, niobium, , gold and platinum to that wish list so it’s totally up to date when it comes to desirable metals.
    Would you care to share the assays of these metals in your tailings/sands??
    Recovery rates or costings??
    I think it’s a complete fantasy, but I’m happy to be persuaded otherwise by hard facts as opposed to motherhood statements.

    September 27, 2017 - 11:40 AM

  • Joe O

    JJ FYI Jack Lifton (before going back to texas rare earth) has called MRT a “game changer” go look at the PDAC conference interview very in depth. Sure Jack was marketing it for sure. No one is saying ucore is a slam dunk obviously it hasnt scaled yet and has not announced signed contracts. That being said I don’t think its accurate to say its complete fantasy. Its a very compelling speculative company that has high upside if a few things pan out. Go read up on it some more & then tell us its fantasy

    September 27, 2017 - 2:06 PM

    • Tim Ainsworth

      Joe, can you point to a single metric from Ucore that evens hints that it it is a business?

      September 28, 2017 - 7:02 PM

  • Joe O

    Tim, as of today probably not. The tech sounds cool and promising 🙂 So basically do you think its all BS and MRT never scales? Useless to MOSP’s? Cant do anything profitable with tailings? Jack Lifton was just full of BS pumping the company he worked for at the time? I have said numerous times its highly speculative . What your unbiased thought on MRT/Ucore etc? I know crap about the science, not claiming I am nothing but a layman.

    September 28, 2017 - 8:17 PM

    • Tim Ainsworth

      Exactly how is it investable?
      Nice to have a concept, but where does it connect to reality, as in “show me the money”?

      September 28, 2017 - 8:31 PM

  • joe o

    Cmon Tim, U dont think IBC had more than a concept? You get what I mean when I say highly speculative, correct. ? So a 60 million market cap based on nothing? Agreed that may be a very generous market cap but you act like I am throwing away money on garbage? No there is no money yet But if they do get some deals going I will point you to the money trail and show it to you. Its not like I am pumping ucore as the next tesla or something, go after the true pumpers.

    September 28, 2017 - 8:40 PM

    • Tim Ainsworth

      IBC successfully operate in a high value niche, why exactly did they not leverage to independent commercial scale commodity?
      Show me the numbers.

      September 28, 2017 - 9:52 PM

  • Robert Richardson

    After nearly 8 years of following the RE saga, including the truly extraordinary MCP repetitive ‘Pump&Dump’ by its board, I’m afraid I’ll continue to stick with the world’s only proven miner and now producer ex-China. Lynas is easily capable of low-cost expansion to meet growing ROW demand, and its Mt Weld mine’s large reserves will be expanded further shortly.

    September 28, 2017 - 8:49 PM

  • Richard Hammen, Ph.D.

    Ucore made a great accomplishment when the governor of Alaska signed the $146 million financing agreement with Ucore. To bring in this important capital, Ucore needed to provide a bankable feasibility study (BFS) for the Bokan rare earth mine. The question is: why have Ucore and IBC not completed the BFS, so as to bring in the $146 million?

    September 29, 2017 - 12:47 AM

    • reejoey

      Very logical reason Ucore has not proceeded with Bokan–it is an emerging greentech/greentech metals refining company with a growing involvement and recognition as just that in the US. Right now it is in a position to make much with its MRT and sooner. It always has the highest grade HREE deposit in North America in its back pocket. Thank you, Daniel, for posting the link relating to Ucore breakout article below–there are folks who have figured this out!

      September 29, 2017 - 8:19 PM

  • Daniel J Dragonsmyth

    To quote Jim, Bokan is not ripe yet. Why dig ore when you have oil sands and coal tailing above ground already? IBC has been scaling up MRT plant all over the world for the last thirty years. Once they figure out the MRT chemistry, which they did in 2015. Scale up is simple a matter of column size and run time to reach full size MRT plant from bench.
    https://insiderfinancial.com/ucore-rare-metals-com-npv-otcmktsuuraf-on-the-verge-of-a-breakout

    September 29, 2017 - 12:00 PM

  • JJ Beswick

    I find the effort to make this discussion all about Ucore seriously misleading and rather silly.
    Ucore are merely one hopeful and it’s not a small field.
    So are Alkane, Arafura and Greenland to name some Aussie companies. Texas RE is also a hopeful as are Hastings Namibia Tasman and Quest.
    The Thorium foundation, Pacific Wildcat and Peak all have much more concentrated value in their ore -each over 4x compared to Bokan- and Mt Weld’s in-situ ore value is about 10x that of Bokan.
    Of course you have to get it out and to market to make a buck. Some such as Northern may get some PLS to China for toll processing in the next few years; minor amounts for meager returns.
    There are of course 4 or 5 new “revolutionary” RE extraction and separation techs, that I won’t bother googling, each of which will be game changers for RE separation. They include Texas RE’s plan to heap leach a mountain, 2 types of chromatography (more often used to separate microgram amounts of proteins), enhanced SX methods and 2 types of polymer adsorption techniques. The latter include MRT, more often used to separate ultra high value materials (such as platinum group metals) or to remove small but bothersome impurities (such as bismuth in Cu or iron and cadmium in cobalt and nickel purification). I’m really not sure how MRT would stack up working its way through a big pile of Ce but I suspect it would get ugly….
    Then of course there are the magic resources that will solve all of a hopeful’s problems. I think we can all agree that the idea (seriously raised) of sourcing REs from asteroids has had its day. Probably for the next millennium. Deep sea suction was in vogue for a bit but no one really believed that it was anything but an expensive ecological disaster. (Geothermal vents, carefully harvested one day may be a possibility as might other seafloor deposits.) Fly ash (from burning coal) was popular for a bit as were various tailings.
    (Tailings from separation of mineral sands (for zirconium) is a real possibility in my opinion. Tailings from iron ore production are the feedstock for the biggest producer, Baotou.)
    Now oil sands is the latest lightbulb moment for yet another hopeful, Ucore.
    Maybe the better option is to simply find a good RE resource.
    Of course it’s about now that the HRE card is played by the hopefuls; civilization will collapse if our HRE don’t make it to market.
    In terms of raw concentration of Dy, Mt Weld’s CLD (that ‘light’ deposit currently being mined) has about the same grade as Bokan. The adjacent Duncan deposit about 5x as much. Both have much better grades of the main payers, NdPr, so the overall value is MUCH higher.
    The hopefuls may hope for a global production shortage so they can leap in to fill a gap? Not likely anytime soon. Global supply/demand appears roughly in balance at the moment with NdPr prices roughly where they should be. That’s in the economic sweet spot; affordable for users & profitable for producers.
    Spare capacity from China and a modest investment by Lynas could quickly increase global production by about 50% if there’s any supply shortage of NdPr in the next few years. For now and into the forseeable future, they’re the only producers of substance.
    I do expect one or 2 of the hopefuls will get to production in the next decade or so.
    Ucore might be one of them.
    But for now, I see Ucore as merely the hopeful with the biggest and loudest cheer squad.

    September 30, 2017 - 1:15 PM

    • Tim Ainsworth

      Lol JJ, WAY too much information, way too much realism, even before you get to market.

      September 30, 2017 - 7:23 PM

      • Thomas Crown

        Yeah, so what about Alkane? ..wasn’t 2017 supposed to be THE year of financing Dubbo and breaking through to the other golden side of digging?

        October 6, 2017 - 2:36 PM

  • Richard Hammen Ph.D.

    Daniel,
    I asked why have Ucore and IBC not completed the BFS. The BFS is needed to bring in the $145 M, or other serious financing. Ucore had mined Bokan ore and held approx 29 tons of concentrate with 1.2 tons of TREE. The amount of neodymium (Nd) extractable from this is 157 kilograms (kg). If the RE purification at the IBC pilot plant gave 99% recovery, then the quantity of the 99.99% pure Nd product should be 155 kg.

    Photos of small test tubes with a few grams of crystals are posted. The quantity of the crystal substances is at most 20 grams in each tube. It is well known in the chromatography, or the Solid Phase Extraction (SPE) field, that very high purities are readily achieved using a technique known as “peak shaving”. When the front or the tail of a chromatographic peak is collected or “shaved off”, the purities are high and the yield is low. The question is, what are the yields of the 99%+ pure RE salts that IBC shows? The ~20 gram samples shown by IBC are only 0.013% of the 155 kg. Does the IBC process work for RE production at commercially needed yields?

    September 30, 2017 - 2:21 PM

  • Robert Richardson

    A most informative post JJ, thank you, and a very pertinent question Richard!

    September 30, 2017 - 3:40 PM

  • Joe O

    Geez, I guess I have to state it more than several times that I realize Ucore is one of my most speculative investments. JJ keeps touting lynas, thats great since I own it too. Of course ucore is strictly a hopeful at this point. Until they get some deals they have to be looked at that way. Why cant I like ucore, lynas and take a flyer on TRMC? Does it have to be only 1?

    September 30, 2017 - 3:55 PM

    • Tim Ainsworth

      Simple answer Joe is there is only one business, something I realised a while back. GL with the rest.

      September 30, 2017 - 7:27 PM

  • Tim Ainsworth

    Lynas Chair:

    “Lynas now presents itself to its global customers as the only miner and processor of rare earths outside China.”

    http://www.asx.com.au/asxpdf/20171003/pdf/43mwmjznf1m3t7.pdf

    No Peer

    none, zip, daylight, & fairy dust

    October 2, 2017 - 7:00 PM

  • Joe O

    Tim
    I am very glad to read that. Like I said, I do own lynas also and if it has a reasonable pullback, may consider purchasing more. Like the LT potential with major auto really going hard into EV’s.
    You may/may not be correct re: ucore like I said prior, it is one of my highly speculative boom/bust holdings. (as in less than a 2% holding)

    October 2, 2017 - 8:15 PM

  • Joe O

    Well its small but its a contract!
    TORONTO, Aug. 24, 2017 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Lithium Energi Exploration, Inc. (TSXV:LEXI) (“LEXI” or the “Company”) is pleased to announce that it has executed an agreement (the “Agreement”) with IBC Advanced Technologies, Inc. of American Fork, Utah, USA (“IBC”) to utilize IBC’s proprietary metals separation technology, known as Molecular Recognition Technology (“MRT”) for selective lithium extraction in Argentina. From testing to commercial operations, MRT has repeatedly been proven as one of the most advanced, efficient, and eco-friendly refining technologies in the world for segregating metals in both mining and recycling with up to 99.99% purity. “With MRT’s proven record in separating platinum group metals, rare earths, and alkali metals, we believe that IBC’s designer molecules, applied to selective lithium extraction, will significantly expedite LEXI’s path to production in Catamarca Province,” noted LEXI’s CEO, Steven Howard, adding that “the remarkable success of IBC’s chemical engineering team in the arena of engineering and manufacturing complex, ligand-based components, is evidenced by IBC’s extensive development and commercialization of separation systems at mining and industrial sites around the world.”

    Under the Agreement, IBC will be responsible for completing basic engineering specifications and drawings, process design and throughput calculations, brine testing and ligand selections for the MRT plant. For providing the services, LEXI will pay IBC USD $600,000 in cash over the next 12 months and issue 5,000,000 common shares of the Company. Under the Agreement, LEXI will incur future additional costs for site licensing and/or similar engineering services for other commercially viable minerals. IBC will also have the right to a 10% carry-forward interest in the assets of, and 8% of the net profit from, any MRT plants developed by LEXI and IBC under the Agreement. In exchange for completing its payments under the Agreement, LEXI will have the exclusive right of first refusal to obtain site license(s) to use MRT for the separation, recovery, refining and purification of lithium from brine prospects in territories comprising approx. 20,000 square kilometers (7,500 square miles) in two areas of Catamarca Province, specifically including all of the areas in and around the salars of Antofalla, Hombre Muerto, and Pipanaco.

    In regard to the Agreement, IBC’s President, Steven Izatt stated, “We believe LEXI’s management team and extensive property package provide a great foundation to build a significant, lithium processing presence for MRT in Argentina.” Izatt added, “At IBC, we have spent nearly 30 years in MRT research and have installed commercial applications at client operations all over the world. As the global community quickens the pace to move to more green energy alternatives, we believe that green chemistry will play a decisive role in that progress. This premise underscores our belief that MRT will emerge as one of the preeminent separation technologies for lithium, due to its unparalleled advantages in reducing speed to market, capital and operating costs, and adverse environmental impacts.”

    All of the securities to be issued pursuant to the Agreement are subject to TSX Venture approval and the applicable U.S. and Canadian hold periods.

    About Lithium Energi Exploration, Inc.

    Lithium Energi Exploration, Inc. is an exploration company focused on the strategic acquisition, exploration and development of lithium brine assets in Argentina. The Company is headquartered in Toronto, Ontario and has offices in Dallas, Texas and Catamarca, Argentina. The common shares of the Company are listed on the TSX Venture Exchange (TSXV:LEXI). The Company recently completed the acquisition of a portfolio of projects comprising over 128,000 hectares of lithium brine concessions in the Argentina Province of Catamarca in the heart of the lithium triangle.

    October 5, 2017 - 7:30 PM

    • JJBeswick

      This advertorial is utterly inappropriate here as it’s about Lithium separation.
      The claims are also inaccurate, such as “With MRT’s proven record in separating platinum group metals, rare earths, ….”.
      Sorry, but if IBC need to claim rare earth separation as a key success story on the basis of some bench top experiments the tech has achieved far less than I’d thought.
      This post is SPAM.

      October 6, 2017 - 12:19 PM

  • Joe O

    Tim,
    Where do you see Lynas in 5 years and thoughts on alkane?

    October 5, 2017 - 7:32 PM

  • Tim Ainsworth

    No idea 5yrs but more immediately you could do worse than updating the magnetics supply chain http://www.usmagneticmaterials.com/documents/Rare-Earth-Supply-Chain-Chart.pdf and examine the limited points of entry for precursors at volume, understanding oxides/metals/alloy/powders/magnets. Perhaps a refreshing distraction from the EV hype.

    Based on agreed price collusion by Big6, Sth RE shutting all production for Oct, warnings of production quotas filling prior EOY, etc, appears the Dragon now running a squeeze play on the small independents outside the vertical SOE’s, further restricting points of entry.

    From the RE oxides POV the moral of the story is get big, quickly, or get out > plenty of brownfield capacity at the top of that supply chain, for at least that next 5 yrs.

    October 6, 2017 - 6:54 AM

  • Joe O

    This is not spam .
    Tim asked me for any contracts RE: Ucore so I found that. Sure its a little light but it does have $$$$ and details. Dont get the ucore hate. So I dont understand whats inappropriateI? I understand the love for Lynas, I do own it too. Not pumping anything, Ucore is a sponsor on investor intel you know.

    October 6, 2017 - 2:12 PM

    • Tim Ainsworth

      Joe, it is not RE, and it’s not Ucore, simply begs the Q what exactly do they bring to IBC?

      And MRT simply one of many with a “proven record in separating…..RE”, @ pilot.

      October 6, 2017 - 3:11 PM

  • Joe o

    Tim. Quiet honestly that isn’t a bad question. Kinda seems why does ibc need ucore? Or why didn’t someone else buy out in a long time ago. I will dwell on this during the weekend

    October 6, 2017 - 3:16 PM

  • Joe O

    Jack,
    Maybe bolt was not accurate. I just found the timing odd after your excellent video about MRT from PDAC conference. I did see you were on the board of lithium energy exploration. And they have the deal with IBC. I would have to guess you most of had alot of involvement putting that together.
    Whats your thought on Ucore and MOSP they are working with?
    I know on another board you mentioned that its possible MRT and Cix/Cic might have some synergy if round top ever goes into production
    If TMRC has you on advisory board they should be calling you more!! There news pipeline has been barren since DOE grant in june.

    November 7, 2017 - 2:46 PM

  • alex

    lots of comments on ree companies but no mention of commerce resources,the best deposit on our soils but does lack access,ucore in talks with them as their deposit is superior,any thoughts

    November 7, 2017 - 2:59 PM

    • alex

      to add to that i do not find PUBLISHER HAS DELETED NAME that credible anymore,he has pushed many companies,and moved around alot,great western was a big lose for me

      November 7, 2017 - 3:20 PM

      • Tracy Weslosky

        Alex – the name of the person your trash talking has been deleted. A lot of people recommended a lot of REEs during the REE BOOM and well, I like you — lost a great deal of money too as small caps drop as quickly as they rise.

        November 7, 2017 - 3:25 PM

    • Tracy Weslosky

      This is BS police. Alex, Commerce has had plenty of PR here and coverage. Now go away and don’t come back.

      November 7, 2017 - 3:20 PM

  • Joe O

    Defending NAME DELETED BY PUBLISHER,
    Sure he liked great western (mostly LCM) but did think molycorp was a bomb. If japanese didnt bail out lynas they would went under too. I know he loved the nora carr deposit for Tasman (dont know if thats ever going into production)

    November 7, 2017 - 3:30 PM

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