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Four major mining industry takeaways from the 2022 Canadian Federal Budget

In this InvestorIntel interview with host Tracy Weslosky, CBLT Inc.’s (TSXV: CBLT) President, CEO and Director Peter Clausi discusses the four major mining industry takeaways from Canada’s 2022 Federal Budget.

In the interview, which can also be viewed in full on the InvestorIntel YouTube channel (click here), Peter Clausi talks about four major items in the budget that affect the mining industry, including $1.5 billion to support the domestic critical minerals industry with new infrastructure and “access to federal data”, and the proposed flow-through increase to 30% of the new Critical Mineral Exploration Tax Credit. He also discusses the $70 million earmarked to research and develop small modular reactors as a major policy shift towards reconsidering nuclear power, and the importance of partnering with First Nations.

To watch the full interview, click here

About CBLT Inc.

CBLT Inc. is a Canadian mineral exploration company with a proven leadership team, targeting lithium, cobalt and gold in reliable mining jurisdictions. CBLT is well-poised to deliver real value to its shareholders.

To learn more about CBLT Inc., click here

Disclaimer: CBLT Inc. is an advertorial member of InvestorIntel Corp.

This interview, which was produced by InvestorIntel Corp., (IIC), does not contain, nor does it purport to contain, a summary of all the material information concerning the “Company” being interviewed. IIC offers no representations or warranties that any of the information contained in this interview is accurate or complete.

This presentation may contain “forward-looking statements” within the meaning of applicable Canadian securities legislation. Forward-looking statements are based on the opinions and assumptions of the management of the Company as of the date made. They are inherently susceptible to uncertainty and other factors that could cause actual events/results to differ materially from these forward-looking statements. Additional risks and uncertainties, including those that the Company does not know about now or that it currently deems immaterial, may also adversely affect the Company’s business or any investment therein.

Any projections given are principally intended for use as objectives and are not intended, and should not be taken, as assurances that the projected results will be obtained by the Company. The assumptions used may not prove to be accurate and a potential decline in the Company’s financial condition or results of operations may negatively impact the value of its securities. Prospective investors are urged to review the Company’s profile on Sedar.com and to carry out independent investigations in order to determine their interest in investing in the Company.

If you have any questions about the content of this interview, please contact us at +1 416 792 8228 and/or email us direct at info@investorintel.com.




Betting the farm on lithium in the short term and the long term.

Politics Before Economics: The Coming Train Wreck of Peak Lithium, Mandated EVs, and Alternate Electricity Generation

This is the best time ever to invest in lithium mining and processing because the legacy global OEM automotive industry as well as dozens of newcomers, including TESLA, have bet their continued and future existence not on the market but on the politically mandated ultimate replacement of internal combustion engine power trains by rechargeable battery fueled electric ones. This powertrain replacement is to be 100% dependent on lithium-ion batteries to store the electricity (i.e., fuel) to supply the electric motors that will replace fossil fuel using internal combustion engines. These EV batteries are, for their operation, 100% dependent on the chemical element, lithium.

At the same time, the politicians have also decreed that the generation of relatively inexpensive electricity, which today is mostly done by the use of the fossil fuels, coal, oil, and natural gas (with the balance, more than 20%, coming from nuclear) shall be completely replaced by alternate forms of electricity generation dependent upon the wind and the sun with their excess outputs stored until needed in lithium ion batteries. Wind and solar are, at best, intermittent, and they are therefore not remotely reliable or dependable. They exist only because of government subsidies and, worse, mandates. Alternate energy generation being intermittent must be smoothed out (continuously maintained) ideally (in the Green Dream) by backup batteries. This would ultimately require enormous quantities of lithium, more than for EVs, for the gigantic smoothing and backup systems that would be necessary.

From the perspective of the supply of the key critical battery metal, lithium, these two goals, electrification of mobility and stationary storage of electric power for grid smoothing are competitive with each other for lithium, and this competition shows the complete ignorance of politicians and manufacturers of the fact that the overall demand for lithium from the two mandated uses cannot possibly be supplied from currently existing, planned, or known accessible sources.

A recent article in the Wall Street Journal states that “mining is like anything else. Eventually high prices stimulate more production. But the slow real-world expansion capabilities of mining explain the IMF’s forecast that mineral inflation would last “roughly a decade” until supply catches up.”

This is utter nonsense.

Mining any natural resource is entirely dependent on the physical accessibility of the resource, the grade (concentration) of the desired mineral, the ability of deployable technology to extract the desired mineral, the economics of the processing of the mineral concentrate to a usable form, and that the total costs incurred by the entire supply chain can be borne by the selling price for the end user products enabled or manufactured from that resource.

Supply of anything cannot “catch up” to demand if that supply is limited by a maximum price limit for the demanded form and for the accessibility, grade, and applicable process technology for the “deposit.”

The highest grade accessible and processable deposits of lithium from brine and from hard rock minerals are, respectively, in Chile, Argentina, and Australia. These deposits are already mined at scale and represent the lowest cost of production today. So, since the highest grade, accessible, physically and technologically, deposits are in production why can’t they just ramp up and supply any amounts of lithium needed? Those writers who are ignorant of geology, mineral economics, and geopolitics, and who are not aware of the limitations of contemporary known deposits of natural resources, think that lithium production is organic, i.e., that to get more lithium you simply do more mining. But, in fact, all mineral deposits decline in grade and fall below economic grades after a time. The period during which the mine is projected to be profitable is called, for that reason, the life of the mine.

In 2007 the global production of lithium, measured as metal, was 16,000 tons. In 2021 that figure was 86,000 tons, a 5.5X increase. Yet at the beginning of 2022, the price of metallic lithium, $60,000 a ton in January 2021 had reached $360,000 a ton! I note that lithium metal is now more expensive than silver.

Why?

The demand for lithium today just for batteries is 60% of global lithium production, and new battery factories are coming online and being planned and under construction daily. The total demand for lithium for all of these factories by 2025 is calculated to be 2.5 times total global lithium production in 2021. By 2030 that figure would be 5 to 10 times the total global 2021 output of lithium.

It is likely that the lithium supply is already in deficit due to existing battery factories buying for inventory and traders buying for speculation.

The legacy OEM car/truck makers have almost all allocated essentially all of their R&D capital and their new manufacturing construction to EVs. The better managed ones realizing that the total conversion of their outputs solely to EVs cannot be supported anytime soon, if ever, by the lithium supply chain and that the cost of such vehicles is already prohibitive in the mass market are hedging their bets by continuing to plan for a mixed output of EV and fossil fueled powertrains indefinitely.

Mis-allocations of capital in the most capital intensive industry on earth, the OEM automotive industry, cannot be reversed rapidly, and the damage to competitive advantage from losing the lead in internal combustion engine and transmission development could be fatal. This misallocation is not confined to the assembly operations of the global legacy OEMs. It could also be fatal to suppliers of ICE specific components.

There are today some 1.5 billion ICEs in use globally, and the number is growing. Imagine that each of them will use on average 4 kg of lithium, measured as metal, for a 50 kWh lithium-ion battery. A Tesla Model 3 uses 6-8 kg for a 100 kWh battery. So to replace just today’s powertrains would require 6 billion kg of lithium, or 6 million tons of lithium, or 36 million tons of LCE (lithium carbonate equivalent). This is more than 70 years total global 2021 lithium production with nothing left over for the stationary storage market for grid smoothing of wind and solar generation. Neither conversion will ever happen, because it is beyond the capability and capacity of our current know-how in mining, refining, and fabricating the end-use raw materials.

The looming and fatal to the green revolution lithium supply deficit has spawned an enormous price increase for the metal and its compounds, which has reversed the steady decline in the costs of lithium-ion batteries.

But is it too late to stop the attempted suicide of the global OEM automotive and electric energy generating industries?

Cars and trucks running on high priced electricity generated by increasingly expensive wind and solar systems backed up by hugely expensive stationary storage battery parks will not have large enough markets to be self sustainable or reasonably priced.

Lithium mining and processing will boom until no one can afford the vehicles or the electricity. At some point before that occurs the decarbonization of Western society will reverse and steel, aluminum, oil and gas will return to their central place in our world of cheap energy. Until then look for lithium, the rare earths, copper, and uranium to enter a long Super Cycle.

Betting the farm on lithium in the short term and the long term.




Market applauds Avalon Advanced Materials’ lithium battery materials refinery news

Governments around the world are starting to figure out what China realized 20 (or more) years ago, if you want to be at the leading edge of a technology you need to secure and support the resources that facilitate it. Unfortunately, it took a global pandemic followed by a war on European soil to disrupt supply chains and impact resource availability, for developed nations to begin to figure this out. But perhaps the light switch has been turned on and the politicians of the world have finally recognized that simply saying something repeatedly doesn’t necessarily make it happen. I will spare readers from another rant from me, even though it’s like shooting fish in a barrel, but let’s just hope that rumblings out of Ottawa, with respect to the next Canadian budget are accurate. It’s anticipated that Canada’s federal budget will include an investment of at least $2 billion for a strategy to accelerate the production and processing of critical minerals needed for the electric vehicle battery supply chain. Specifically, the investment would be focused on critical minerals including nickel, lithium, cobalt and magnesium.

What a novel concept. I wonder how they managed to come up with such a creative idea? (I really need to find an emoticon or something that expresses when I am being sarcastic). Nevertheless, it’s progress so we should all be happy that an encouraging step is being made by politicians. This progress follows on the heels of another supportive announcement, this time from the provincial government of Ontario, where they defined their own first-ever Critical Minerals Strategy. Premier Doug Ford is quoted as saying “The Critical Minerals Strategy is our government’s blueprint to connect industries, resources and workers in our province’s north to the future of manufacturing in the south as we build up home-grown supply chains.”

The timing of these announcements couldn’t dovetail any better with news from Avalon Advanced Materials Inc. (TSX: AVL | OTCQB: AVLNF) on Monday that it has signed a binding letter of intent to establish Ontario’s first regional lithium battery materials refinery in Thunder Bay, Ontario. I can state with confidence that their timing was excellent because the market rewarded Avalon shareholders handsomely, rallying the stock by 48% on the day. So let’s have a little closer look at why investors got so excited about this particular press release.

Avalon is a Canadian mineral development company specializing in sustainably-produced materials for clean technology. The Company now has four advanced stage projects, providing investors with exposure to lithium, tin and indium, as well as rare earth elements, tantalum, cesium and zirconium. Avalon is currently focusing on developing its Separation Rapids Lithium Project near Kenora, Ontario while continuing to advance other projects, including its 100%-owned Lilypad Cesium-Tantalum-Lithium Project located near Fort Hope, Ontario. Social responsibility and environmental stewardship are corporate cornerstones as witnessed by the fact that the Company recently reported its tenth (yes, they have been doing this for 10 years) annual comprehensive sustainability report. In a nutshell, Avalon Advanced Materials is an ESG focused company at the forefront of sustainable best practices in cleantech mineral development. Find me a box that doesn’t tick.

Timing of all this coming together is somewhat fortuitous for the Company, given they weren’t waiting around for any government support. They recognized a long time ago what their roadmap to success would include. Simply finding critical materials wasn’t going to be enough, Avalon identified that to control their destiny, they had to control their destiny. To get production started another key step is to have a centrally located lithium refinery that could purchase concentrates produced locally to make the battery material products. Avalon had a much bigger vision whereby a lithium refiner would be designed to accept lithium minerals concentrates, not only from Avalon’s Separation Rapids Lithium Project, but also from other aspiring new producers from the many lithium pegmatite resources that occur in northwestern Ontario. Monday’s announcement states this refinery will operate as a separate private business, called Avalon Lithium Inc., a newly established Avalon subsidiary.

Avalon’s do-it-yourself (sustainably and responsibly) mantra has resulted in fantastic timing as both Provincial and Federal governments have only just realized what needs to be done at the same time as Avalon is actually doing it. Combine that with an exemplary ESG track record and you have yourself a pretty exciting investment opportunity. Even after the recent run-up, Avalon’s market cap is sitting at roughly C$77.5 million. Is that a fair price for a company doing the right things, in the right way, at the right time?




Alex Klenman gives an update on Azincourt Energy and why this uranium junior is in the right place at the right time

In a recent InvestorIntel interview, Tracy Weslosky interviews Azincourt Energy Corp.‘s (TSX: AAZ | OTCQB: AZURF) President and CEO Alex Klenman about Azincourt’s latest developments and why he feels the Company is in the right place at the right time.

The interview, which may also be viewed on the InvestorIntel YouTube channel (click here to subscribe), highlights how Azincourt has a share register with 28 institutional investors, a fact that interviewer Tracy Weslosky describes as “absolutely unheard of for a company your size”. Alex Klenman comments on the latest drill program at the Company’s East Preston Project in the Athabasca Basin in Saskatchewan, Canada where drilling has so far discovered ‘1,700m of alteration zones’ that are typically associated with uranium mineralization. Finally, Alex Klenman talks about the uranium market and supply disruption concerns following the war in Ukraine.

To watch the full interview, click here

About Azincourt Energy Corp.

Azincourt Energy is a Canadian-based resource company specializing in the strategic acquisition, exploration, and development of alternative energy/fuel projects, including uranium, lithium, and other critical clean energy elements. The Company is currently active at its majority controlled joint venture East Preston uranium project in the Athabasca Basin, Saskatchewan, Canada, and the Escalera Group uranium-lithium project located on the Picotani Plateau in southeastern Peru.

To learn more about Azincourt Energy Corp., click here

Disclaimer: Azincourt Energy Corp. is an advertorial member of InvestorIntel Corp.

This interview, which was produced by InvestorIntel Corp., (IIC), does not contain, nor does it purport to contain, a summary of all the material information concerning the “Company” being interviewed. IIC offers no representations or warranties that any of the information contained in this interview is accurate or complete.

This presentation may contain “forward-looking statements” within the meaning of applicable Canadian securities legislation. Forward-looking statements are based on the opinions and assumptions of the management of the Company as of the date made. They are inherently susceptible to uncertainty and other factors that could cause actual events/results to differ materially from these forward-looking statements. Additional risks and uncertainties, including those that the Company does not know about now or that it currently deems immaterial, may also adversely affect the Company’s business or any investment therein.

Any projections given are principally intended for use as objectives and are not intended, and should not be taken, as assurances that the projected results will be obtained by the Company. The assumptions used may not prove to be accurate and a potential decline in the Company’s financial condition or results of operations may negatively impact the value of its securities. Prospective investors are urged to review the Company’s profile on Sedar.com and to carry out independent investigations in order to determine their interest in investing in the Company.

If you have any questions surrounding the content of this interview, please contact us at +1 416 792 8228 and/or email us direct at info@investorintel.com.




Jack Lifton on how the Windsor battery plant marks “the return of total vertical integration to North America”

In this InvestorIntel interview, Tracy Weslosky is joined by Critical Minerals’ industry expert and InvestorIntel Editor-in-Chief Jack Lifton to discuss the Ontario government’s recent announcement to make the largest private sector investment in Ontario history in a $5B Windsor battery plant.

Jack discusses the cyclic history of vertically integrated OEM automobile manufacturing in the US and Canada and its decline, due to globalization by the domestically owned US automotive manufacturing industry. Jack sees an imminent return to the industry of vertical integration, first in Canada’s automotive manufacturing center, Ontario. Jack explains how the Windsor battery plant in fact marks “the return of total vertical integration to North America” making Windsor, perhaps, as a symbol of Ontario’s natural critical resources and manufacturing capacities possibly “more important than Detroit in about 10 years in the North American OEM automotive industry.”

To access the complete episode of this Critical Minerals Corner discussion, click here




Peter Clausi of CBLT on its lithium and gold discoveries and its investment in Ciscom

In a recent InvestorIntel interview, Tracy Weslosky spoke with Peter Clausi, CEO and Director of CBLT Inc. (TSXV: CBLT), about CBLT’s ‘highly prospective’ lithium property in Manitoba and about its Coco-Estelle Deposit located in the Hemlo Gold Camp which hosts a historical resource of 53,700 tonnes grading 10.7 g/t gold.

In this InvestorIntel interview, which may also be viewed on YouTube (click here to subscribe to the InvestorIntel Channel), Peter Clausi provided an update on the drill program to explore lithium at CBLT’s Shatford Lake Property in Manitoba which is located close to the famous Tanco Mine. He went on to provide an update on CBLT’s Big Duck Lake gold project which also has historical high-grade zinc and copper. In the interview, Peter also provided an update on CBLT’s investee Ciscom Corp. which is due to close on its second acquisition and is in the process of becoming a reporting issuer.

To watch the full interview, click here

About CBLT Inc.

CBLT Inc. is a Canadian mineral exploration company with a proven leadership team, targeting lithium, cobalt and gold in reliable mining jurisdictions. CBLT is well-poised to deliver real value to its shareholders.

To learn more about CBLT Inc., click here

Disclaimer: CBLT Inc. is an advertorial member of InvestorIntel Corp.

This interview, which was produced by InvestorIntel Corp., (IIC), does not contain, nor does it purport to contain, a summary of all the material information concerning the “Company” being interviewed. IIC offers no representations or warranties that any of the information contained in this interview is accurate or complete.

This presentation may contain “forward-looking statements” within the meaning of applicable Canadian securities legislation. Forward-looking statements are based on the opinions and assumptions of the management of the Company as of the date made. They are inherently susceptible to uncertainty and other factors that could cause actual events/results to differ materially from these forward-looking statements. Additional risks and uncertainties, including those that the Company does not know about now or that it currently deems immaterial, may also adversely affect the Company’s business or any investment therein.

Any projections given are principally intended for use as objectives and are not intended, and should not be taken, as assurances that the projected results will be obtained by the Company. The assumptions used may not prove to be accurate and a potential decline in the Company’s financial condition or results of operations may negatively impact the value of its securities. Prospective investors are urged to review the Company’s profile on Sedar.com and to carry out independent investigations in order to determine their interest in investing in the Company.

If you have any questions surrounding the content of this interview, please contact us at +1 416 792 8228 and/or email us direct at info@investorintel.com.




Is there a Ford in your future?

The American Ford Motor Company, in its domestic operations, has now adopted the current business operations model of the Chinese OEM automotive industry, but lags far behind on the Chinese approach to critical materials supply security.

The Chinese like to emphasize that their approach to politics and economics cannot be wholly understood as just an example or even a simple variant of these disciplines as practiced in the West and applied to China. They refer to their economic system as Socialism with Chinese Characteristics and say that the operating focus of their domestic economy is now dual circulation, the emphasis of domestic consumption leading to a declining importance of exports.

Nonetheless, foreign analysts continue to view China with a Western academic definitions filter.

This has allowed analysts to miss almost entirely the critical details of the growth of the business operations model of the (now world’s largest) Chinese OEM automotive industry as it has adapted to what the Chinese call the production of “New Energy Vehicles ” (NEVs).

To avoid internal conflict and increase efficiency, large Chinese auto companies now usually set up a separate NEV unit that runs independently from the traditional ICE car business.

I don’t know James Farley, the CEO of the Ford Motor Company, personally, but I do know that he is among the most perceptive and far-seeing of American OEM automotive top managers, and one who actually understands the business of manufacturing of cars and trucks and the markets for those vehicles. How do I know this? By the action he announced last week that reveals his financial and market acumen. The Ford Motor Company has announced that it will separate its EV operations and its ICE operations into two separately managed and organized internal units, each of which will focus on a powertrain. There will be the Ford Model-e Division and the Ford Blue Division. The Presidents of both divisions will report directly to the CEO, now Jim Farley.

As Farley states: “We still think that more than half our customers are going to be ICE, and they’re going to be ICE for a long time,” Farley said. “It’s almost like our industry’s kind of given up on that business. Even if the unit volume starts to fall over when mass adoption of electrification happens, in a lot of segments that’s not going to happen, and we want to have a dedicated team to run that business with passion.”

So, now, at least, one of America’s remaining, “Big Two” automotive OEMs have caught up with Chinese management “style” in product development.

But, there’s one more area where Capitalism with Chinese characteristics has outpaced the rest of the world. That is in security of supply of critical raw materials. China has an industrial policy that supports key industrial development, and it has had that policy for a long time.

When the Chinese domestic OEM automotive industry was in its infancy a generation ago China rapidly developed the domestic capability and capacity to produce a secure supply of raw materials to make ICE powered vehicles. Those main materials were steel, aluminum, copper and plastics. China soon overtook the USA and indeed the rest of the world combined in the production of those critical industrial materials.

About 6 years ago the Chinese government decided that the electrification of land transportation was critical to hedge against China’s dependence on foreign fossil fuels and to reduce pollution in its rapidly advancing urbanization. Accordingly, the government set out to determine what materials would be critical for such developments. Lithium-ion battery and rare earth permanent magnet motor construction materials were determined to be priorities, and a national program to find them, extract them, process them, and manufacture end-use products dependent upon them for their function was added to the five-year plan system of formulating and carrying out industrial policy. Today, China has sufficient domestic secure supplies of materials and processes already in place to build all of the BEVs it plans to build through most of this decade.

This is where America and Europe are woefully far behind.

Neither the Ford Motor Company nor anyone else can afford to wait for their national governments to catch up with China’s industrial policy planning and execution.

There is nowhere near enough non-Chinese production and processing of the critical materials for batteries and electric motors to fulfill any but a small part of the planned non-Chinese production of BEVs, wind turbines, energy storage, aircraft and ship components, and consumer goods.

It’s going to be every company for itself. I am hoping that the non-Chinese OEM automobile industry learns from the chart below what it will take to survive.

I am not optimistic.




Is there going to be a North American lithium “rush”?

General Motors has now announced that in partnership with Korea’s POSCO Chemicals they would construct a lithium-ion battery cathode active material (CAM) manufacturing facility in Quebec, Canada, with a capacity to produce the cathode active material needed for 1,000,000 battery electric vehicles (BEVs) annually by 2025. This would mean that the factory’s output would be enough for cathodes for at least 90 gigawatt hours of lithium-ion battery storage. This capacity would be more than all of the North American capacity planned or built up until now combined. The GM dedicated POSCO Chemical plant is projected to cost $500 million. The cathode active material will be utilized in the new GM “Ultium” EV battery plants to be constructed by GM in the USA.

Doug Parks, GM executive vice president, Global Product Development, Purchasing and Supply Chain, said, “GM and our supplier partners are creating a new, more secure and more sustainable ecosystem for EVs, built on a foundation of North American resources, technology and manufacturing expertise,”

A 100 kWh lithium ion battery requires 6-8 kg of lithium, measured as but so far not used in its metallic state, so that 1,000,000 BEVs will require 6,000 to 8,000 tpa of lithium, which will be initially delivered as lithium carbonate or lithium hydroxide and then chemically transformed into cathode and electrolyte specific materials for use. Today, 8,000 tons of lithium metal would represent 10% of global production and 15% of all of the lithium used for battery construction.

Note also that GM produces, annually, in the USA today some 2.5 million cars and trucks, so that 1,000,000 represents 40% of GM North American production.

The key takeaway from Mr. Parks’ statement is the term, “North American resources.”

North America today does not produce anywhere near enough lithium for the new GM/POSCO facility’s planned capacity.

North American car and truck sales are today 7 times those of just GM’s domestic production. If GM is looking to differentiate itself and gain a competitive advantage from domestic sourcing of battery materials, lithium, in particular, then it will have to compete with its peers for the critical raw materials.

The biggest problem will be sourcing and processing lithium domestically.

The Biden administration’s announced policy is to have 50% of car and truck production be EVs by 2030. This means that at least eight times as much lithium will be required per annum by 2030 as GM will need in 2025, or 50,000 to 75,000 tons of lithium, measured as metal, per annum! This would be essentially equal to the total global production of new lithium in 2021, and this is just for North America!

North American lithium exploration, mining, processing and fine chemical production of battery grade chemicals need to expand dramatically right now for there to be any hope of meeting the EV production goals even at the lower end.

There needs to be a North American “Lithium Rush.”

Perhaps, lithium should be considered as white gold after all.




Ecclestone Dusts Off the Crystal Ball for Metal Prices in 2022

In a recent InvestorIntel interview, Tracy Weslosky spoke with Christopher Ecclestone, Principal and Mining Strategist at Hallgarten & Company about his latest research report on the outlook for metal prices in 2022.

In this InvestorIntel interview, which may also be viewed on YouTube (click here to subscribe to the InvestorIntel Channel), Christopher Ecclestone said that the research report titled – Metal Price Preview: Dusting Off the Crystal Ball – also covers the performance of different metals in 2021 including the re-emergence of the uranium market and battery metals going “from being hot to being a furnace.” Christopher went on to share why gold and silver are expected to perform well in 2022.

To watch the full interview, click here.

About Hallgarten & Company

Hallgarten & Company was founded in 2003 by the former partners of a well-known economic think-tank. Their output encompasses top-down and bottom-up research from a Classical Economic (Austrian School) perspective. Over the years, the team has successfully picked trends using macroeconomic underpinnings to guide investors through the treacherous waters of the markets. It was only natural, in light of the focus of Classical Economics upon the “real value” of monetary assets that the firm’s strengths should ultimately have become evident in resources sectors and projections of commodity trends.

Hallgarten & Company has advised and managed portfolios of offshore and onshore hedge funds.

Hallgarten also provides consultancy services on Latin American economic, politics and corporate matters including the production of bespoke research.

Hallgarten research is now available on Bloomberg and FactSet.

To learn more about Hallgarten & Company, click here




Some potential winners from the White House commitment to ‘Securing a Made in America Supply Chain for Critical Minerals’ Announcement

Could this be the moment the USA finally takes some actions towards supporting critical minerals supply chains? The big news in the world of securing domestic supplies of critical minerals for the USA last week were two key announcements by the White House:

Additionally, the first article linked above refers to earlier reports (E.g: America’s Supply Chains) and states: “the reports recommended expanding domestic mining, production, processing, and recycling of critical minerals and materials – all with a laser focus on boosting strong labor, environmental and environmental justice, community engagement, and Tribal consultation standards.”

The takeaway here is that investors looking to benefit from the new White House initiatives need to look for U.S. domestic critical mineral projects, processing projects, and recycling projects. A U.S.  processing project would include Energy Fuels Inc. (NYSE American: UUUU | TSX: EFR) rare earths processing at their White Mesa mill in Utah, USA. Today I will focus on the U.S. critical minerals projects.

China has dominated the critical minerals supply chain, leaving the U.S. vulnerable this decade

After many years of talk and very limited action, it appears the USA may finally be waking up to the need to urgently support and facilitate domestic U.S. critical minerals supply chains. Those of us involved in the manufacturing industry know that for years China has been buying up and controlling the critical minerals’ supply chains. The consequences are that China now completely dominates the supply chains for lithium-ion batteries, electric vehicles, wind energy, and solar energy. These are multi-trillion-dollar industries, but if you cannot access the raw materials then you cannot produce a product. We saw that in 2021, with semiconductor shortages slowing the U.S. auto industry, and we are seeing it again now with lithium-ion battery shortages leading to a limited supply of domestically produced EVs, despite enormous consumer demand. Tesla has an estimated 1.3 million pre-orders for its Cybertruck but has delayed production until 2023 due to not having enough lithium-ion batteries.

Green energy from solar, wind, and nuclear will increasingly power electric vehicles

Companies that may benefit from U.S. support of the critical minerals industry

Looking through the White House announcement gives us several clues:

  1. “These minerals—such as rare earth elements, lithium, and cobalt……As the world transitions to a clean energy economy, global demand for these critical minerals is set to skyrocket by 400-600 percent over the next several decades, and, for minerals such as lithium and graphite used in electric vehicle (EV) batteries, demand will increase by even more—as much as 4,000 percent……will also discuss $3 billion in BIL funding to invest in refining battery materials such as lithium, cobalt, nickel, and graphite
  2. “President Biden will announce that the Department of Defense’s Industrial Base Analysis and Sustainment program has awarded MP Materials Corp. (NYSE: MP) $35 million to separate and process heavy rare earth elements at its facility in Mountain Pass, California.”
  3. “Berkshire Hathaway Energy Renewables (BHE Renewables) will announce that this spring, they will break ground on a new demonstration facility in Imperial County, California, to test the commercial viability of their sustainable lithium extraction process from geothermal brine……In addition to BHE Renewables, Controlled Thermal Resources (CTR) and EnergySource Minerals have established operations in Imperial County to extract lithium from geothermal brine.”
  4. “Redwood Materials will discuss a pilot, in partnership with Ford and Volvo, for collection and recycling of end-of-life lithium-ion batteries at its Nevada based facilities to extract lithium, cobalt, nickel, and graphite.”
  5. “Tesla intends to source high-grade nickel for EV batteries from Talon Metals’ Tamarack nickel project.”
  6. “DOE, DOD, and the Department of State signed a memorandum of agreement (MOA) to better coordinate stockpiling activities to support the U.S. transition to clean energy and national security needs.”

The winners of the U.S. critical minerals policy should be those with projects in the USA which are focused on critical minerals (rare earths, lithium, cobalt, nickel, graphite), critical minerals processing and critical minerals recycling. Needless to say, they will need to pass environmental and permitting rules and support local communities and American jobs.

Of the companies mentioned above, MP Materials and Talon Metals are the only two that are listed. BHE Renewables, Controlled Thermal Resources (CTR), EnergySource Minerals, and Redwood Materials are all private companies.

MP Materials Corp.

MP Materials Corp. (NYSE: MP) owns and operates the Mountain Pass open pit rare earths mine facility, located in Mountain Pass, California, USA. Mountain Pass plans to have an output containing 5,000 metric tons of neodymium and praseodymium (NdPr), starting in ~2022. MP Materials also plan to have their own Heavy Rare Earth separation facility at their Mountain Pass Mine. As discussed above MP Materials have now been awarded a DoD contract (refer to the US$35 million in point 2 above). MP Materials Chairman and CEO, James Litinsky, stated: “The ability to mine, process, and refine rare earths at Mountain Pass is foundational to a national effort to secure the U.S. rare earth supply chain……We thank the Department of Defense for its confidence and support.”

MP Material’s stage III plan is to develop a rare earth metal, alloy and permanent magnet manufacturing facility in Fort Worth, Texas. MP Materials has an agreement to supply General Motors (GM) with magnets to be used in EV motors for the Hummer EV, Cadillac Lyriq, Chevrolet Silverado EV, and more than a dozen models using GM’s Ultium platform.

Talon Metals Corp.

Talon Metals Corp. (TSX: TLO) has a JV with Rio Tinto (ASX: RIO) at their Tamarack nickel-copper-cobalt Project in Minnesota, USA. Talon owns 50% but can earn-in to a 60% share of the Project. Talon recently announced a 5-year nickel supply agreement with Tesla (NASDAQ: TSLA).

Other critical mineral companies with USA projects

Lithium – Lithium Americas Corp. (NYSE: LAC | TSX: LAC), Standard Lithium Ltd. (TSXV: SLI | NYSE.A: SLI), Piedmont Lithium Inc. (NASDAQ: PLL | ASX: PLL) (have a supply deal with Tesla), Cypress Development Corp. (TSXV: CYP | OTCQX: CYDVF), Ioneer Ltd (ASX: INR), Albemarle Corporation (NYSE: ALB).

Cobalt – Jervois Global Limited (ASX: JRV | TSXV: JRV), Electra Battery Materials Corporation (TSXV: ELBM | OTCQX: ELBMF) (previously First Cobalt), Global Energy Metals Corporation (TSXV: GEMC | OTCQB: GBLEF).

Graphite – Westwater Resources, Inc. (NYSE American: WWR), Syrah Resources Limited (ASX: SYR) (spherical graphite plant planned for USA).

Nickel – Global Energy Metals Corporation (TSXV: GEMC | OTCQB: GBLEF).

Rare Earths – Lynas Rare Earths Limited (ASX: LYC) (rare earths processing plant planned for USA).

Li-ion batteries – Magnis Energy Technologies Limited (ASX: MNS) – New York battery factory.

Li-ion battery recycling – Li-Cycle Holdings Corp. (NYSE: LICY) – Partnership with GM and LGES’s Ultium JV for a battery recycling facility in Ohio.

Closing remarks

In addition to the above-mentioned companies with U.S. projects it should be noted that allied countries such as Canada and Australia will also be needed to help supply critical materials. Several of these companies can be found here in our InvestorIntel member’s page.

The USA’s domestic production of green energy and the associated need for critical materials supplies has long been a major weak point for the USA to compete with China. It does look like the USA is finally taking some actions to catch up, albeit still about a decade behind China.

Investors can look to play this catch-up trend, and as we saw with Tesla, if you invest early the sky is the limit.

Disclosure: The author is long Tesla (NASDAQ: TSLA), MP Materials (NYSE: MP), Lithium Americas (TSX: LAC), Piedmont Lithium (ASX: PLL), Jervois Global (TSXV: JRV), Electra Battery Materials (TSXV: ELBM), Syrah Resources (ASX: SYR), Lynas Rare Earths (ASX: LYC), and Magnis Energy Technologies (ASX: MNS).