TMR produces independent market intelligence and analysis on the rare earths, graphite and other critical and strategic materials. We provide research management, due-diligence and advisory services to public and private companies, institutional investors, government agencies and other market-intelligence firms. We focus on the challenges and opportunities associated with these materials.

Last month I paid a visit to the Miller graphite project in Canada, under development by Canada Carbon Inc. (TSX.V:CCB) in Grenville Township, Quebec. The Miller property was the home of a historical graphite mine in the latter half of the 19th century.

Grenville is situated 50 miles west of Montreal, approximately half way between that city and Ottawa. The journey from Montreal took about 75 minutes via Highway 50. Grenville is close to the town of Hawkesbury in Ontario, with the two sitting on opposite sides of the Ottawa River, which forms much of the boundary between the two provinces.

Generally I don't visit a mineral project under development, until it has an associated mineral resource estimate that conforms to guidelines such as NI 43-101 or the JORC code. It's the same criterion that I use for including projects on the TMR indices for rare earths and for graphite. A mineral resource estimate is a useful initial filter for discerning the evolution of technical knowledge associated with a given project. Miller does not have a mineral resource estimate yet; I had, however, heard about the unusual nature of the Miller project (which we'll get into later) from a number of sources. I therefore decided to accept an invitation to come visit the property, to see for myself. Canada Carbon published a technical report on Miller in May 2014, which follows the NI 43-101 guidelines, in addition to other data associated with work on the project. This report did not include a mineral resource estimate.

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I recently updated the TMR Advanced Graphite Projects Index, to reflect one new addition since the last update. The effective date of the latest edition is July 18, 2014. The specifics:

  • On February 25, 2014, Buxton Resources Ltd. (ASX:BUX) announced a maiden JORC-compliant resource estimate for its Yalbra graphite project in Australia. According to the associated news release, 2.3 Mt of the resource is at the Inferred level @ 20.1% Cg, at a 0% Cg cut-off grade. The project is partially owned by Montezuma Mining Company Ltd (ASX:MZM).

You can access the updated details via the Index page.

The Index currently consists of 29 graphite mineral resources, associated with 26 advanced graphite projects, 21 companies and located in 8 countries. Including the projects on the Index, TMR is currently monitoring a total of 306 graphite projects under development associated with 138 companies in 27 countries.

Disclosure: at the time of writing, Gareth Hatch holds no shares or stock options in any of the companies mentioned in this article, or in any publicly traded rare-earth company, nor is he doing paid consulting for any such company.


The Second Round of Chinese Rare-Earth Export-Quota Allocations for 2014

by Gareth Hatch July 19, 2014

Earlier this week the Chinese Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM) announced the second round of allocations of rare-earth export quotas for 2014, to companies operating in China. This follows the initial announcement on the first allocation for 2014, which was made in December 2013.

A total of 15,501 t of export quotas was allocated in this second round, comprising 13,692 t of light rare-earth (LRE) products and 1,809 t of medium / heavy rare-earth (M / HRE) products. This brings the total allocations for 2014 to 30,611 t, which is similar to the totals for the past four years.

We can now take a look at the specific allocation numbers associated with this week’s announcement, before reviewing allocations over the past few years. The companies below, highlighted in green are Chinese / non-Chinese joint-venture (JV) companies – the rest are Chinese-owned. The list is sorted from highest-to-lowest total allocation:

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May 2014 Updates To The TMR Advanced Graphite Projects Index

by Gareth Hatch June 15, 2014

I recently updated the TMR Advanced Graphite Projects Index, to reflect the addition of a mineral-resource estimate since the last update. The effective date of the updates is June 14, 2014. The specifics: On August 26, 2013, Monax Mining Limited (ASX:MOX) announced a maiden JORC-compliant resource estimate for its Wilclo South graphite deposit, part of the [...]

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May 2014 Updates To The TMR Advanced Rare-Earth Projects Index

by Gareth Hatch June 14, 2014

I recently updated the TMR Advanced Rare-Earth Projects Index, to update the pricing used in the Index data, to reflect the average monthly prices for May 2014, as reported by Metal Pages the last edition. There were no other updates to the projects on the Index. The effective date of the latest edition is June [...]

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TMR Awarded $1.2M US Department of Defense Project for the Evaluation of New Processes and Sources for the US Rare Earth Supply Chain

by Admin June 4, 2014

CARPENTERSVILLE, IL – June 4, 2014 – A team led by Technology Metals Research, LLC (TMR) has been awarded $1.2M in funding from the US Army Research Laboratory (ARL), part of the US Department of Defense (DOD), via a subaward agreement with Worcester Polytechnic Institute.

The project, involving a dozen companies and research institutions in the United States, Canada and Australia, will focus on the development of the key components for a domestic rare-earth supply chain, for heavy and other critical rare-earth elements (REEs).

REEs are vital ingredients in many high-tech components used in defense, industrial and green-energy applications. In recent years the REE sector has been dominated by China, which provides approximately 90% of global supply. The heavy REEs dysprosium and yttrium were recently mandated for inclusion in the DOD’s National Defense Stockpile, despite not presently being produced in the USA, from US-based sources.

Project partners include Innovation Metals Corp. (IMC) and researchers at Argonne National Laboratory, the University of Illinois at Chicago, the University of South Australia and the ARL itself. A number of ‘stealth-mode’ companies and researchers with promising new technologies will also participate in the program.

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April 2014 Updates To The TMR Advanced Rare-Earth Projects Index

by Gareth Hatch May 19, 2014

I recently updated the TMR Advanced Rare-Earth Projects Index, to reflect various project updates since the last edition. The effective date of the latest edition is May 16, 2014. The specifics: On September 2, 2013, Galileo Resources PLC (AIM:GLR) announced (in a summary of its audited results for the year ending March 31, 2013) that [...]

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A Visit To The Texas Rare Earth Resources Round Top Project

by Gareth Hatch May 19, 2014

Earlier this month I had the opportunity to visit Round Top, the rare-earth-element (REE) project being developed by Texas Rare Earth Resources Corp. (OTCQX:TRER). While in the Lone Star State I also paid a visit to the University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP), where much of the processing and analysis work on the project has been undertaken.

The project is located in Hudspeth County in the far west of Texas, USA, approximately 85 miles southeast of the city of El Paso. The nearest town is Sierra Blanca, 8 miles to the southeast of the deposit, with a population of around 560 people and where Texas Rare Earth Resources (TRER) has an office. The border with Mexico is nearby, some 10 miles to the south.

Round Top is one of five peaks that make up the Sierra Blanca range, the others being Triple Hill, Sierra Blanca Peak, Little Blanca and Little Round Top. According to TRER’s most recent Preliminary Economic Assessment (PEA) report (published in December 2013), these peaks are rhyolite laccoliths – intrusions of magma that have welled up between layers of Cretaceous sedimentary rock to formed domed structures. The topmost layer of sedimentary rock has eroded over time, resulting in the present exposed rhyolite formations.

The deposit is just 3 miles north of I-10, the interstate highway that starts in Santa Monica, California in the west and which finishes in Jacksonville, Florida in the east, passing through El Paso, San Antonio and Houston in Texas along the way. Round Top is therefore highly accessible by road. Sierra Blanca sits at the intersection of two branches of the Union Pacific railroad. There is an active rail spur that terminates less than three miles from the base of Round Top Mountain, serving a local company, RCL Rock, which mines an average of 6,000 t / day of similar rhyolite for railroad ballast.

My hosts for the visit were Dan Gorski, CEO and director of TRER, and Tony Marchese, chairman of the company’s board of directors.

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March 2014 Updates To The TMR Advanced Rare-Earth Projects Index

by Gareth Hatch April 6, 2014

There were no additions or project updates to the TMR Advanced Rare-Earth Projects Index since the last edition. I did update the pricing used in the Index data, to reflect the average monthly prices for March 2014, as reported by Metal Pages. The effective date of the latest edition is April 5, 2014. I have [...]

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The WTO Panel Report On Chinese Rare Earth Exports

by Gareth Hatch April 3, 2014


On March 26, 2014, the World Trade Organization (WTO) issued its long-awaited findings in response to formal complaints made by the United States (USA), the European Union (EU) and Japan (collectively the Complainants), concerning China’s approach to the exports of rare-earth elements (REEs), tungsten (W) and molybdenum (Mo).

The 257-page document, combining the individual sets of findings for each Complainant (the Report), was completed by a three-person Panel of the WTO’s Dispute Settlement Body (DSB). It is an exhaustive evaluation of the measures that China has put in place to regulate the export of these materials, and follows a two-year investigation by the WTO into the complaints made.

My March 2012 article on the initiation of the WTO actions, reviewed the details of the initial complaints, and the mechanism behind the WTO dispute process, including the DSB. In it I suggested the potential arguments that China might make to defend its export measures, using certain exceptions to the WTO rules, and the potential consequences of various outcomes.

In the following article, I will review the main findings of the DSB Panel, the basis for their determinations, and the key takeaway points from the Report. We’ll also look at what China’s next moves might be, and the potential consequences for REE supply and pricing. I’ll also highlight the ongoing key advantage that the Chinese downstream REE supply chain has over other countries, even in light of the recent WTO findings.

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