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Posts tagged ‘lithium’

Earn-in brings Far Resources into 92 Resources’ NWT lithium project

January 23rd, 2018

by Greg Klein | January 23, 2018

High-grade sampling and positive Phase I metallurgy have drawn tangible interest to a Northwest Territories hard rock lithium property. In a deal announced January 23, Far Resources CSE:FAT may earn up to 90% of 92 Resources’ (TSXV:NTY) Hidden Lake project 40 kilometres east of Yellowknife. The full 90% would cost Far $50,000, $1.45 million in shares and $2.3 million in spending. 92 would get the cash and $500,000 of the shares on closing, while Far would put $500,000 into the project during the first year to earn an initial 60%. Far would act as project operator.

Earn-in brings Far Resources into 92 Resources’ NWT lithium project

Grab and channel samples from outcropping
pegmatite reveal Hidden Lake’s high lithium grades.

92 stated it would “benefit from bringing in a financially and technically strong partner to further develop the project and, in the process, will become a substantial shareholder of Far Resources with the ability to share in the project’s success.”

With seven known pegmatites, the 1,849-hectare Hidden Lake property has shown grab sample grades up to 1.86% Li2O. Channel sample results include 1.58% Li2O over 8.78 metres, 2.57% Li2O over 0.75 metres and 233 ppm Ta2O5 over 1 metre.

Phase I metallurgy conducted for 92 used conventional methods to produce a high-grade concentrate of 6% to 6.5% Li2O, with recovery rates between 80% and 85%.

The earn-in leaves 92 free to pursue other projects and acquisitions. Its current portfolio includes the Golden frac sand project in eastern British Columbia, adjacent to Northern Silica’s Moberly silica operation, as well as three recently acquired lithium properties in Quebec. A brief site visit to one of them scored a 7.32% Li2O grab sample.

92 closed an oversubscribed private placement of $1.14 million earlier this month.

Read Isabel Belger’s interview with 92 Resources CEO Adrian Lamoureux.

Visual Capitalist: Tesla’s journey, from IPO to passing Ford in value in just seven years

January 18th, 2018

by Jeff Desjardins | posted with permission of Visual Capitalist | January 18, 2018

In Tesla’s final years as a private company, things got pretty hectic.

As we showed in Part 1: Tesla’s Origin, the launch of the Roadster was a public relations success, but it created all kinds of problems internally. There were massive cost overruns, a revolving door of CEOs, layoffs and even a narrow escape from bankruptcy.

Fortunately, by 2010 the company was able to forget these troubles after a successful IPO. The company secured $226 million in capital, and hitting the public markets started a roller coaster ride of growth.

Rise of Tesla: The Company (Part 2 of 3)

This giant infographic comes to us from Global Energy Metals TSXV:GEMC and it is the second part of our three-part Rise of Tesla Series, which is a definitive source for everything you ever wanted to know about the company.

Part 2 shows major events from 2010 until today, and it tracks the company’s rapid growth along the way.

Tesla’s journey, from IPO to passing Ford in value in just seven years

 

Tesla was the first American car company to IPO since the Ford Motor Company went public in 1956.

Interestingly, it only took seven years for Tesla to match Ford’s value—here are the major events during this stretch of time that made this incredible feat possible.

2010

After securing funding from the public markets, Tesla was positioned for its next big leap:

  • The company had just narrowly escaped bankruptcy

  • The Tesla Roadster helped dispel the stigma around EVs, but it was unclear if it could be parlayed into mainstream success

  • The company was free from its feud and lawsuit with co-founder Martin Eberhard

  • Tesla had just taken over its now-famous factory in Fremont, California

It was time to focus on the next phase of Tesla’s strategy: to build the company’s first real car from scratch—and to help the company achieve the economies of scale, impact and reputation it desired.

2011

In 2011, Tesla announces that the Roadster will be officially discontinued.

Instead, the company starts focusing all efforts on two new EVs: the Model S (a full-size luxury car) and the Model X (a full-size luxury crossover SUV).

2012

The Model S was Tesla’s chance to build a car around the electric powertrain, rather than the other way around.

When we started Model S, it was a clean sheet of paper.—Franz Von Holzhausen,
chief car designer

In June 2012, the first Model S hits the road and the rest is history. The model won multiple awards, including being recognized as the “safest car ever tested” by the NHTSA and the “best car ever tested” by Consumer Reports. Over 200,000 cars were eventually sold.

But despite the success of the new model, Tesla still faced a giant problem. Lithium-ion batteries were still too expensive for a mass market car to be feasible and the company needed to bet the farm on an idea to bring EVs to the mainstream.

2013

Tesla reveals initial plans for its Gigafactory concept, an ambitious attempt to bring economies of scale to the battery industry. In time, the details of those plans solidified:

  • Cost: $5 billion

  • Partner: Panasonic

  • Objective: To reduce the cost of lithium-ion battery packs by 30%

  • Location: Sparks, Nevada

  • Size: Up to 5.8 million square feet (100 football fields)

The company believed that through economies of scale, reduction of waste, a closer supply chain, vertical integration and process optimization, the cost of batteries could be sufficiently reduced to make a mass market EV possible.

Under Tesla’s first plan, the Gigafactory would be ramped up to produce batteries for 500,000 EVs per year by 2020. Later on, the company moved that target forward by two years.

2014

Tesla makes significant advances in software, hardware and its mission.

  • Autopilot is released for the first time, which gives the Model S semi-autonomous driving and parking capabilities

  • By this time, Tesla’s Supercharger network is up to 221 stations around the world

  • Tesla goes open source, releasing all of the company’s patents for anyone to use

2015

After massive and repeated delays because of issues with the “falcon wing” doors, the Model X finally is released.

In the same year, the Tesla Powerwall is also announced. Using a high-capacity lithium-ion battery and proprietary technology, the Powerwall is a major step towards Tesla achieving its major goal of integrating energy generation and storage in the home.

2016

Tesla unveils its Model 3, the car for the masses that is supposed to change it all. Here are the specs for the most basic model, which is available at $35,000:

  • Price: $35,000

  • Torque: 415 lb-ft

  • Power: 235 hp (Motor Trend’s estimate)

  • 0-60 mph: 5.6 seconds

  • Top speed: 130 mph

  • Range: 220 miles

After being announced, the Model 3 quickly garnered 500,000 pre-orders. To put the magnitude of this number in perspective, in six years of production of the Model S the company has only delivered about 200,000 cars in total so far.

In 2016 Tesla also announces that it is taking over SolarCity for $2.6 billion of stock. Elon Musk owns 22% of SolarCity shares at the time of the takeover.

The goal: to build a seamlessly integrated battery and solar product that looks beautiful.

2017

2017 was a whirlwind year for Tesla:

  • Consumer Reports names Tesla the top American car brand in 2017

  • The Tesla Gigafactory I begins battery cell production

  • Tesla wins bids to provide grid-scale battery power in South Australia and Puerto Rico

  • Tesla starts accepting orders for its new solar roof product

  • The Tesla Semi is unveiled—a semi-truck that can go 0-60 mph in just five seconds, which is three times faster than a diesel truck

  • Model 3 deliveries begin, though production issues keep them from ramping at the speed anticipated

Tesla also unveils the new Roadster, the second-gen version of the car that started it all. This time, it has unbelievable specs:

  • 0-60 mph: 1.9 seconds

  • 200 kWh battery pack

  • Top speed: above 250 mph

  • 620 mile range (It could go from San Francisco to LA and back, without needing a recharge)

The point of doing this is to give a hardcore smackdown to gasoline cars.—Elon Musk,
Tesla co-founder and CEO

The new Roadster will go into production in 2020.

A look to the future

In 1956, the IPO of the Ford Motor Company was the single largest IPO in Wall Street’s history. Tesla IPO’d a whopping 54 years later and the company has already passed Ford in value:

  • Ford: $49.9 billion

  • Tesla: $52.3 billion (numbers from December 31, 2017)

An incredible feat, it took only seven years for Tesla to pass Ford in value on the public markets. However, this is still the beginning of Tesla’s story. See Musk’s vision for the future in Part 3 of this series.

See Part 1: Tesla’s Origin

Posted with permission of Visual Capitalist.

Deep-penetrating geophysics to probe Belmont Resources’ Nevada lithium project

January 17th, 2018

by Greg Klein | January 17, 2018

Now being mobilized, an electromagnetic survey will help target brine aquifers on Belmont Resources’ (TSXV:BEA) Kibby Basin property. The company describes Quantec Geoscience’s Spartan AMT/MT method as “a full tensor magnetotelluric technology that acquires resistivity data in the 10 kHz to 0.001 Hz frequency band. The result is a measurement that is applicable from near-surface to potential depths of three kilometres or more.” Belmont credits Quantec with over 5,000 geophysical programs in over 50 countries.

Deep-penetrating geophysics to probe Belmont Resources’ Nevada lithium project

Two holes sunk on Kibby Basin last year brought
core samples between 70 ppm and 200 ppm lithium.

The Kibby Basin survey should take nine days, with another two weeks for an initial report.

The program follows a satellite data review and two-hole 2017 drill campaign on the 2,760-hectare Nevada property 65 kilometres north of Clayton Valley. Thirteen of 25 core samples surpassed 100 ppm lithium, “indicating that the sediments could be a potential source of lithium for the underlying aquifers,” the company stated.

A gravity survey the previous year suggested the property hosts a closed basin which the company later estimated to cover four square kilometres, extending to at least 1.5 kilometres in depth.

Last week Belmont announced its lawyers would request the annulment of a decision by the International Centre For Settlement Of Investment Disputes reported in August. The tribunal stated it had no jurisdiction in a dispute involving Belmont, EuroGas Inc and the Slovak Republic regarding Rozmin SRO’s ownership of the Gemerska Poloma talc deposit. Belmont seeks to be restored as a claimant in the arbitration proceedings.

The company also holds the Mid Corner-Johnson Croft property in New Brunswick, a prospect with some historic, non-43-101 zinc-copper-cobalt sampling results that has yet to undergo modern geophysics.

In northern Saskatchewan, Belmont and International Montoro Resources TSXV:IMT share a 50/50 stake in the Crackingstone and Orbit Lake uranium properties.

Belmont closed an oversubscribed private placement of $312,200 in December.

Read Isabel Belger’s interview with Belmont Resources CFO/director Gary Musil.

Lithium-tantalum sampling, new pegmatite discovery position 92 Resources for NWT drill program

January 12th, 2018

by Greg Klein | January 12, 2018

From pilot plant to the field, 92 Resources TSXV:NTY heralded progress on a number of fronts this week. Two days after reporting metallurgical advances for its Hidden Lake lithium project, the company announced high-grade lithium assays, significant tantalum recoveries and the discovery of a seventh pegmatite. The latest news comes from a recently completed eight-day program on the highway-accessible property 40 kilometres east of Yellowknife.

Lithium-tantalum sampling, new pegmatite discovery position 92 Resources for NWT drill program

Last year’s field work added another known pegmatite, as well as
tantalum potential, to 92 Resources’ Hidden Lake lithium project.

Work included channel sampling on two pegmatites discovered in late 2016, HL6 and HL8, near four other known pegmatites on the property. Eight samples from HL6 surpassed 1% Li2O, with values ranging from 1.05% to 2.57%, the latter standing out as the highest 2017 sample grade. Widths extended from 0.75 metres to one metre.

HL8 compensated for lower lithium numbers with some intriguing tantalum results. Of eight samples reported, Li2O values ranged from 0.12% to 0.74%, with Ta2O5 ranging from 114 ppm to 233 ppm. Seven widths came in between 0.74 and 1.33 metres, while a grade of 162 ppm Ta2O5 extended across 5.1 metres.

“Spodumene-bearing pegmatites are often zoned with distinct zones of lithium and tantalum, as well as zones which overlap,” the company explained. “The discovery of tantalum zones in the area is encouraging and bolsters the project’s potential for tantalum, as well as for coupled zones of lithium and tantalum, to be discovered elsewhere on the property.”

Another encouraging sign is a newly discovered pegmatite, bringing Hidden Lake’s known total to seven. An initial sample from HL13 returned 0.48% Li2O.

92 Resources hopes to return early this year, this time with a rig, to begin building a maiden resource.

Earlier this week the company announced another stage of metallurgical studies suggesting Hidden Lake’s pegmatite can produce high-grade concentrate through conventional processing techniques.

Additionally the company holds three lithium properties in Quebec, where sampling from one project brought assays up to 7.32% Li2O and 90 ppm Ta2O5. 92 Resources also plans a 43-101 technical report for its Golden frac sand project in eastern British Columbia.

92 Resources closed a private placement of $1.14 million the previous week and will further fund Hidden Lake with a $140,000 grant from the NWT Mining Incentive Program.

Read Isabel Belger’s interview with 92 Resources CEO Adrian Lamoureux.

Visual Capitalist and VRIC 2018 look at the raw materials that fuel the green revolution

January 10th, 2018

by Jeff Desjardins | posted with permission of Visual Capitalist | January 10, 2018

 

Records for renewable energy consumption were smashed around the world in 2017.

Looking at national and state grids, progress has been extremely impressive. In Costa Rica, for example, renewable energy supplied five million people with all of their electricity needs for a stretch of 300 consecutive days. Meanwhile, the UK broke 13 green energy records in 2017 alone, and California’s largest grid operator announced it got 67.2% of its energy from renewables (excluding hydro) on May 13, 2017.

The corporate front also looks promising and Google has led the way by buying 536 MW of wind power to offset 100% of the company’s electricity usage. This makes the tech giant the biggest corporate purchaser of renewable energy on the planet.

But while these examples are plentiful, this progress is only the tip of the iceberg—and green energy still represents a small but rapidly growing segment. For a full green shift to occur, we’ll need 10 times what we’re currently sourcing from renewables.

To do this, we will need to procure massive amounts of natural resources—they just won’t be the fossil fuels that we’re used to.

Green metals required

Today’s infographic comes from Cambridge House as a part of the lead-up to its flagship conference, the Vancouver Resource Investment Conference 2018.

A major theme of the conference is sustainable energy—and the math indeed makes it clear that to fully transition to a green economy, we’ll need vast amounts of metals like copper, silicon, aluminum, lithium, cobalt, rare earths and silver.

These metals and minerals are needed to generate, store and distribute green energy. Without them, the reality is that technologies like solar panels, wind turbines, lithium-ion batteries, nuclear reactors and electric vehicles are simply not possible.

First principles

How do you get a Tesla to drive over 300 miles (480 kilometres) on just one charge?

Here’s what you need: a lightweight body, a powerful electric motor, a cutting-edge battery that can store energy efficiently and a lot of engineering prowess.

Putting the engineering aside, all of these things need special metals to work. For the lightweight body, aluminum is being substituted for steel. For the electric motor, Tesla is using AC induction motors (Models S and X) that require large amounts of copper and aluminum. Meanwhile, Chevy Bolts and soon Tesla will use permanent magnet motors (in the Model 3) that use rare earths like neodymium, dysprosium and praseodymium.

The batteries, as we’ve shown in our five-part Battery Series, are a whole other supply chain challenge. The lithium-ion batteries used in EVs need lithium, nickel, cobalt, graphite and many other metals or minerals to function. Each Tesla battery, by the way, weighs about 1,200 pounds (540 kilograms) and makes up 25% of the total mass of the car.

While EVs are a topic we’ve studied in depth, the same principles apply for solar panels, wind turbines, nuclear reactors, grid-scale energy storage solutions or anything else we need to secure a sustainable future. Solar panels need silicon and silver, while wind turbines need rare earths, steel and aluminum.

Even nuclear, which is the safest energy type by deaths per TWh and generates barely any emissions, needs uranium in order to generate power.

The pace of progress

The green revolution is happening at breakneck speed—and new records will continue to be set each year.

Over $200 billion was invested into renewables in 2016 and more net renewable capacity was added than coal and gas put together:

Power Type Net Global Capacity Added (2016)
Renewable (excl. large hydro) 138 GW
Coal 54 GW
Gas 37 GW
Large hydro 15 GW
Nuclear 10 GW
Other flexible capacity 5 GW

The numbers suggest that this is only the start of the green revolution.

However, to fully work our way off of fossil fuels, we will need to procure large amounts of the metals that make sustainable energy possible.

Posted with permission of Visual Capitalist.

The Vancouver Resource Investment Conference 2018 takes place at the Vancouver Convention Centre West from January 21 to 22. Click here for more details and free registration.

Lithium metallurgy produces high-grade concentrate for 92 Resources’ NWT project

January 10th, 2018

by Greg Klein | January 10, 2018

Showing the advantages of coarse-grained pegmatite, further metallurgical tests on hardrock lithium brought impressive results for 92 Resources’ TSXV:NTY Hidden Lake project in the Northwest Territories. The company processed about 400 kilograms of pegmatite collected last year, putting it through a dense media separation mini-pilot plant. The result brought over 40 kilos of spodumene concentrate averaging a high-grade 6.11% Li2O.

Following last month’s results from heavy liquid separation tests, 92 Resources considers the latest work both highly encouraging and in line with expectations. “The test work continues to support that a final overall concentrate grade of 6% to 6.5% Li2O at high recovery (80% to 85%) is achievable using low-cost and conventional processing techniques,” the company stated.

92 Resources now sees two possible approaches for lithium recovery. The first would use flotation only, which produced the successful results released in December. The second would aim for similar results through a combination of flotation and dense media separation. The dual approach offers lower costs, greater control, shorter start-up time and less risk.

Lithium metallurgy produces high-grade 6.11% concentrate for 92 Resources’ NWT project

This graphic illustrates the Hidden Lake flowsheet’s dual approach, in which +0.85 mm material undergoes dense media separation to produce concentrate, tailings and middlings. The middlings then combine with the -0.85 mm material to undergo flotation, producing more concentrate and tailings.

Still to come from the test work are tantalum assays, which will be studied for better recovery. The road-accessible 1,849-hectare property sits 40 kilometres east of Yellowknife.

Apart from the Hidden Lake flagship, 92 Resources picked up three hardrock lithium projects in Quebec’s James Bay region last September. Surface samples from the Corvette property showed results up to 7.32% Li2O, along with anomalous tantalum of 90 ppm Ta2O5.

The company also has a 43-101 technical report planned for its Golden frac sand project in eastern British Columbia.

Last week 92 Resources closed a private placement of $1.14 million.

Read Isabel Belger’s interview with 92 Resources CEO Adrian Lamoureux.

Adrian Lamoureux of 92 Resources discusses hardrock lithium metallurgical tests for the Northwest Territories’ Hidden Lake project

January 2nd, 2018

…Read more

Copper crusader

December 29th, 2017

Gianni Kovacevic sees even greater price potential for the conductive commodity

by Greg Klein

Evangelist he may be, but Gianni Kovacevic’s hardly a voice crying in the wilderness. His favourite metal displayed stellar performance last year, reaching more peaks than valleys as it climbed from about $2.50 to nearly $3.30 a pound. But Kovacevic believes copper has a long way to go yet. That will be a function of necessity as the metal shows “the strongest demand growth of any of the major commodities.” Especially persuasive in his optimism, Kovacevic brings his message to the 2018 Vancouver Resource Investment Conference on January 21 and 22.

Gianni Kovacevic sees even greater price potential for the conductive commodity

Increasing copper demand will unlock
lower-grade resources, says Kovacevic.

As a researcher, commentator and investor who’s also the CEO/chairperson of CopperBank Resources CSE:CBK, co-founder of CO2 Master Solutions Partnership and author of My Electrician Drives a Porsche, he brings new approaches that link topics of energy demand, commodity supply and environmental stewardship.

Kovacevic sees a new paradigm driving copper’s future. “The invisible hand in commodities during the last cycle was China,” he says. “Its economic growth just came out of nowhere. This time the invisible hand is this pervasive use of copper in everything that’s electrified. That means even the smallest village in Africa, which per capita has negligible copper consumption, is becoming a line item. When you create, transfer and utilize greener and cleaner energy, it takes more copper by a power of magnitude. For example to establish a megawatt of windpower it takes five times more copper than it does a megawatt of conventional thermal-generated energy.”

Then there’s the battery-powered revolution and the attention it’s brought to lithium, cobalt and graphite. Saying “I like anything in electric metals,” Kovacevic stresses the importance of nickel as well. Still, “copper wins because the interconnectivity will always be copper and copper plays a role in each battery as well.”

That leads to a supply problem that can have only one solution. “I believe we’re going to have to make uneconomic deposits economic. And there’s only one way to do that—with a higher copper price.”

With no foreseeable hope of a copper mining “renaissance” comparable to the effect that fracking brought to oil and gas, the metal will simply require more money. “We’ve got the old legacy mines,” Kovacevic points out. “We’ve spent a lot of money on exploration in the last cycle and didn’t find a lot. What we do have is lower-grade resources. They are simply not economic at a low copper price.”

Gianni Kovacevic sees even greater price potential for the conductive commodity

Kovacevic: Electrical generation, storage and
connectivity put copper at the top of energy metals.

Apart from diminishing grades, the business of putting new mines into operation is “taking longer with water, electricity and permitting issues, and it’s getting into funkier places,” he continues. “The Elliott Wave [technical/fundamental analysis] on copper is $7.50 a pound. I find that very interesting. All the buy-out action in the copper space happened for the most part between 2006 and 2012. The mean price for copper during that time was about $3.50 a pound. The all-time high was about $4.50 for a short while, but the mean was $3.50.”

Copper’s 2017 performance makes that figure look viable again. Kovacevic, however, cites analysis from BHP Billiton NYSE:BHP stating that 75% of future projects will require more than $3.50. “Could we see a scenario in which the copper price goes past the old all-time high and stays there for a while? And will the buy-outs in the next wave, if they occur, be higher on average than those in the previous 2006-to-2012 cycle? I believe the answer will be yes. But if you look at the average grade that went through the top 15 copper producers’ mills in 2010, it was 1.2% copper. In 2016 it was 0.72% copper. So if you were mining 30 million tonnes a year, now you have to mine 40 or 45 million tonnes for the same metal yield. And without higher copper prices, that doesn’t make much of a business case.

“So the first question is, are we going to need more copper in the next five, 10, 15 years? The answer in my opinion is yes. In fact it has the strongest demand growth of any of the major commodities. And where will that copper come from? Well, it’s going to come from a mix of places but we’ll have to make these projects economic. That should bode well for people who have invested in the copper junior space.”

Addressing the topic of how investors might look at the energy revolution in 2018 and beyond, Kovacevic speaks at the 2018 Vancouver Resource Investment Conference, to be held at the Vancouver Convention Centre West from January 21 to 22. Click here for more details and free registration.

Critical attention

December 21st, 2017

The U.S. embarks on a national strategy of greater self-reliance for critical minerals

by Greg Klein

A geopolitical absurdity on par with some aspects of Dr. Strangelove and Catch 22 can’t be reduced simply through an executive order from the U.S. president. But an executive order from the U.S. president doesn’t hurt. On December 20 Donald Trump called for a “federal strategy to ensure secure and reliable supplies of critical minerals.” The move came one day after the U.S. Geological Survey released the first comprehensive update on the subject since 1973, taking a thorough look—nearly 900-pages thorough—at commodities vital to our neighbour’s, and ultimately the West’s, well-being.

U.S. president Trump calls for a national strategy to reduce foreign dependence on critical minerals

The U.S. 5th Security Forces Squadron takes part in a
September exercise at Minot Air Force Base, North Dakota.
(Photo: Senior Airman J.T. Armstrong/U.S. Air Force)

The study, Critical Mineral Resources of the United States, details 23 commodities deemed crucial due to their possibility of supply disruption with serious consequences. Many of them come primarily from China. Others originate in unstable countries or countries with a dangerous near-monopoly. For several minerals, the U.S. imports its entire supply.

They’re necessary for medicine, clean energy, transportation and electronics but maybe most worrisome, for national security. That last point prompted comments from U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke, whose jurisdiction includes the USGS. He formerly spent 23 years as a U.S. Navy SEAL officer.

“I commend the team of scientists at USGS for the extensive work put into the report, but the findings are shocking,” he stated. “The fact that previous administrations allowed the United States to become reliant on foreign nations, including our competitors and adversaries, for minerals that are so strategically important to our security and economy is deeply troubling. As both a former military commander and geologist, I know the very real national security risk of relying on foreign nations for what the military needs to keep our soldiers and our homeland safe.”

Trump acknowledged a number of domestic roadblocks to production “despite the presence of significant deposits of some of these minerals across the United States.” Among the challenges, he lists “a lack of comprehensive, machine-readable data concerning topographical, geological and geophysical surveys; permitting delays; and the potential for protracted litigation regarding permits that are issued.”

[Trump’s order also calls for] options for accessing and developing critical minerals through investment and trade with our allies and partners.

Trump ordered a national strategy to be outlined within six months. Topics will include recycling and reprocessing critical minerals, finding alternatives, making improved geoscientific data available to the private sector, providing greater land access to potential resources, streamlining reviews and, not to leave out America’s friends, “options for accessing and developing critical minerals through investment and trade with our allies and partners.”

Apart from economic benefits, such measures would “enhance the technological superiority and readiness of our armed forces, which are among the nation’s most significant consumers of critical minerals.”

In fact the USGS report finds several significant uses for most of the periodic table’s 92 naturally occurring elements. A single computer chip requires well over half of the table. Industrialization, technological progress and rising standards of living have helped bring about an all-time high in minerals demand that’s expected to keep increasing, according to the study.

“For instance, in the 1970s rare earth elements had few uses outside of some specialty fields, and were produced mostly in the United States. Today, rare earth elements are integral to nearly all high-end electronics and are produced almost entirely in China.”

The USGS tracks 88 minerals regularly but also works with the country’s Defense Logistics Agency on a watch list of about 160 minerals crucial to national security. This week’s USGS study deems the critical 23 as follows:

  • antimony
  • barite
  • beryllium
  • cobalt
  • fluorite or fluorspar
  • gallium
  • germanium
  • graphite
  • hafnium
  • indium
  • lithium
  • manganese
  • niobium
  • platinum group elements
  • rare earth elements
  • rhenium
  • selenium
  • tantalum
  • tellurium
  • tin
  • titanium
  • vanadium
  • zirconium

A January 2017 USGS report listed 20 minerals for which the U.S. imports 100% of its supply. Several of the above critical minerals were included: fluorspar, gallium, graphite, indium, manganese, niobium, rare earths, tantalum and vanadium.

This comprehensive work follows related USGS reports released in April, including a breakdown of smartphone ingredients to illustrate the range of countries and often precarious supply chains that supply those materials. That report quoted Larry Meinert of the USGS saying, “With minerals being sourced from all over the world, the possibility of supply disruption is more critical than ever.”

As both a former military commander and geologist, I know the very real national security risk of relying on foreign nations for what the military needs to keep our soldiers and our homeland safe.—Ryan Zinke,
U.S. Secretary of the Interior

David S. Abraham has been a prominent advocate of a rare minerals strategy for Western countries. But in an e-mail to the Washington Post, the author of The Elements of Power: Gadgets, Guns, and the Struggle for a Sustainable Future in the Rare Metal Age warned that Trump’s action could trigger a partisan battle. He told the Post that Republicans tend to use the issue to loosen mining restrictions while Democrats focus on “building up human capacity to develop supply chains rather than the resources themselves.”

Excessive and redundant permitting procedures came under criticism in a Hill op-ed published a few days earlier. Jeff Green, a Washington D.C.-based defence lobbyist and advocate of increased American self-reliance for critical commodities, argued that streamlining would comprise “a positive first step toward strengthening our economy and our military for years to come.”

In a bill presented to U.S. Congress last March, Rep. Duncan Hunter proposed incentives for developing domestic resources and supply chains for critical minerals. His METALS Act (Materials Essential to American Leadership and Security) has been in committee since.

Speaking to ResourceClips.com at the time, Abraham doubted the success of Hunter’s bill, while Green spoke of “a totally different dynamic” in the current administration, showing willingness to “invest in America to protect our national security and grow our manufacturing base.”

Update: Read about Jeff Green’s response to the U.S. national strategy.

“Shocking” USGS report details 23 minerals critical to America’s economy and security

December 19th, 2017

This story has been expanded and moved here.