Jack Lifton’s Update on the HREE Derby: Congratulations Great Western Minerals

Congratulations to Great Western Minerals Group Ltd (TSX.V:GWG).  Shame on the numerologists who see patterns in share price and market cap numbers determinative of actual production success. I prefer as my market “technicians” the astrologers who are probably more often right about these things.

The market’s technicians apparently didn’t like GW’s announcement of a financing that would fully fund the remaining portion of its mine to market strategy. People who live in the real world where products matter more than share prices of companies should nonetheless be euphoric. In my opinion GW will now be the first non-Chinese company ever to achieve the status of a vertically integrated producer of dysprosium from mine to market (in the form of an additive to neodymium-iron-boron powdered alloys that it makes today with Chinese material and will make tomorrow from its own neodymium and its own dysprosium).

This particular production of dysprosium will not enter the market as a raw material, but as a component of neodymium-iron-boron alloy to be used to make rare earth permanent magnets by GW’s customers. I have been told that the total dysprosium to be produced, 34 mta is already spoken for by existing customer orders. Such alloys produced by the company’s LCM unit will be sold at considerably higher margins than currently obtained using imported Chinese produced RE metals.  The same improvements in margins will be seen for GW in-house produced, at Steenkampskraal,  from neodymium, praseodymium, samarium, and yttrium, in all of the supply of which for LCM the company will either be self-sufficient or have its need to purchase them on the open market significantly reduced.

This accomplishment is to be applauded by all who want a more equitable supply base, one free of state-mandated politics, of rare earths and their products.

So far, GW is the only company I am aware of to have achieved this goal in a context of credible experience and expertise and operating in a

The separation technology chosen by GW will be Chinese and as it is being engineered by a Chinese firm, just as many Chinese engineering firms are building roads and bridges in the USA right now, GW’s Chinese engineering firm has the know-how and connections to source unique Chinese materials necessary for such a plant to be brought into operation. Not the least of these is access to the specialized and proven extractants that 30 years of continuing experience have taught the Chinese REE separation industry to use to maximize recovery in the minimum amount of time for the least cost.

Shareholders in non-Chinese companies should ask the virgins in the management of their companies just how they plan to master the Kama Sutra of rare earth separation and purification without a single experience of the technology. If the answer is ‘from a book” cast the shares into the flames for they are nothing but sophistry and illusion as the philosopher once said of claims not backed up by the incontrovertible data of numerical measurement.

Now I’d like to turn to the regular supply to the open market of dysprosium. The companies furthest along in the development or ownership of the right sort of despots to become credible profitable suppliers of dysprosium, terbium, and yttrium are

Australia

Northern Minerals  Ltd. (ASX:NTU)

Alkane(ASX:ALK)

TUC Resources Ltd (ASX:TUC)

Canada

Quest Rare Minerals Ltd (TSX:QRM)

Matamec Explorations, Inc. (TSX.V:MAT)

Avalon Rare Metals Inc   ( TO:AVL)

USA

Ucore (TSX.V:UCU, OTCQX:UURAF)

Rare Element Resources  Ltd. (AMEX:REE)

Europe

Tasman Metals, Ltd. (AMEX:TAS)

The right sort of deposits include only those where the technology for extracting the REEs from the minerals in the ore body exists and has been proven or is being studied by well qualified process developers. In addition the companies that will be successful are those that are aware of the costs and difficulties of getting their process leach solutions separated into individual rare earth products of high enough purity for further processing.

These companies are also aware of the fact that Chinese companies each use their own brew of extractants and that the publicly available results of their operations are sparse as are the details of such operations in the open chemical engineering literature (at least in English-I would appreciate a bi-lingual, Chinese-English) chemical engineer describing for me whether or not this information is available, and freely available, in the open scientific literature within China).

These companies are also ware of the difficulty of obtaining outside of China even the most widely used extractant and of its small production even in China.

Expecting to design and build process chemistry for separating the REEs outside of China in a short time is a foolish idea, and even those who understand the problem must spend, literally, years, in sourcing key chemical materials. Further years are needed to prove in the plant to maximize its efficiency for the ore body in question.

The endless announcements about meeting one or another of the rules in the Canadian bible for obtaining dispensation to receive financing without being indicted for fraud tell me little about the actual probability of the company’s chance of producing anything competitively

Chemical engineering is for mining what manufacturing engineering is for alternate energy. Doing it on a table top proves little or nothing. Doing it in commercial volumes, efficiently, at the lowest cost proves everything.