Rare Earth Success Factors and should you vote for Trump?
In Australia, at the moment, we are being bombarded with Electioneering. I see the same is happening in the United States. Got me thinking about a process to enable better decisions around voting, that is, should you vote for Trump? What are the factors to consider? My mind went back to the Rare Earths Success Factors series of articles from a while ago. Could we use a similar systematic process to make the decision rather than gut feel? Or who rang my bell last? It is important here to realise that the success factors for the USA may be different than those for Australia, but I am thinking that the process should be the same. OK.
Rare Earths Success Factors (Articles 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6) basically laid out the criticality (and ranking) of Resource, Mineralogy, Basket Price, Board/Management Capability and Mine to Market Strategy for a developing rare earth project. It is interesting to go back and read them (I did) and I still agree with the ranking. So it appears the process still works for me. I drift, back to Trump. Does this process work for deciding on who to vote for?
In Australia, we have two major parties, a minor party and some others (that are important as a voting block when they get together). Approximate support Liberal/National Coalition – 35%, Labor 35%, Greens 15%, others 15%. As far as I can assess the voting population are 80% dedicated to their party of choice. They really don’t change from one election to the next (and remember in Australia everyone votes!). So the electioneering strategy is targeting the uncommitted 20%. How do they choose?
Well, for mine the key success factor for a country and its government is Security and Safety. You cannot operate with no control over your borders, your people, their behaviour, etc. Is this comparable to the resource and mineralogy success factors discussed in my series of articles? It would certainly seem so if you think about a guarantee of the State. So if this is a MUST, then any party that espouses freeing up of the borders (ala Europe), would certainly not be a party that would receive your vote.
My personal next factor in deciding on who to vote for is a little like developing a rare earth flow sheet. You need to have the freedom to chase the opportunities that the mineralogy can take you to. For a country, you must have the freedom to allow all of the population to see and reach their potential. And to be encouraged to do so.
How about the Basket Price success factor? Well I am seeing this as how does the possible party display the value of the Country and its people. What is the economic plan today, tomorrow and into the future? Just as in an NPV calculation, the basket price over time is critical. So is the budget, the forward estimates, the short, medium and long term financial plan for the Country.
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For mine, the above success factors are MUSTs, that is, if you recall, they are the factors that strike out options. So in a rare earths project you MUST have resource, you MUST have mineralogy, you MUST have basket price. To be a successful country you MUST have Security and Safety, you MUST have freedom and you MUST have a sound economic platform. These three MUST factors should strike out some of the voting options that may be presented to you.
The next REO success factor was the capability of the Board and Management team. This is an interesting comparison with Government. The Australian scenario is becoming more Presidential each time, as is the case in the USA. Personally, I’m not a fan. Yes, you do need a good leader, a fair leader, perhaps even a visionary, but if there is not a good team behind him, then you don’t get the best REO flowsheet, you don’t get the best Mine to Market Strategy. This is where you can apportion values on the candidate and rank whoever is left after the culling following the first three success factors.
How about the Mine to Market Strategy? This is where the candidate of vision stands up. This is where aspiration happens. This is where you can have your Kennedy vision: “Man on the Moon”. This is where you can have your Hawke (Australian Prime Minister) vision: “No child will live in poverty”. This is where you can have the Mandela vision. But remember you have to be able to see that they (and the team) have the capability to deliver, or at least have a reasonable plan to strive to the vision.
Which again focusses me. Who would I vote for? In the USA, I would be looking for a leader who wants to put the long term technological future on the agenda. Front and Centre. We all know that North America needs and wants this future. But it is only by way of a very focussed Government that that goal will be achieved. And that will require the development of the rare earths industry and supply chain.
Who will I vote for on July 2? The only party that gets through the culling process of the first three success factors.
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>