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TMR provides market intelligence, commentary and analysis on the rare earths, graphite and other critical and strategic materials. We help companies, governments, agencies and individuals do their homework and due diligence, on the challenges and opportunities associated with these materials.

November 2013 Updates To The TMR Advanced Rare-Earth Projects Index

by Gareth Hatch December 14, 2013

I recently updated the TMR Advanced Rare-Earth Projects Index, to reflect two updates. The effective date of the latest edition is December 9, 2013. The specifics: On August 6, 2013, Montero Mining and Exploration Ltd. (TSX.V:MON) announced an updated NI 43-101-compliant mineral-resource estimate for the Twiga Zone of the Wigu Hill project in Tanzania. According [...]

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

by Gareth Hatch December 13, 2013

Earlier today the Chinese Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM) announced the first round of allocations of rare-earth export quotas for 2014, to companies operating in China.

A total of 15,110 t of export quotas was allocated in this first round, comprising 13,314 t of light rare-earth (LRE) products and 1,796 t of medium / heavy rare-earth (M / HRE) products. Initial mainstream media reports appear to have missed MOFCOM's indication that the first-round allocation represents 70% of the annual quota for 2014. If this is the case, then the estimated quota for 2014 will be 21,586 t, approximately 70% of the 2013 quota allocation of 30,999 t.

Update (12/14/13): Further clarification of the MOFCOM announcement indicates that the first-round quota allocations for antimony, indium, molybdenum, silver, tin and tungsten will be 70% of their respective annual quotas for 2014, but that this will NOT be the case for rare earths.

One company that usually receives export-quota allocations, Inner Mongolia Baotou Hefa Rare Earth Co., will not be given a specific allocation, according to MOFCOM, until it has rectified environmental issues at its facilities.

Let's now take a look at the allocation numbers associated with today's announcement, before reviewing them in the context of the recent allocations. 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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October 2013 Updates To The TMR Advanced Rare-Earth Projects Index

by Gareth Hatch November 9, 2013

I recently updated the TMR Advanced Rare-Earth Projects Index, to reflect one new addition and two updates. The effective date of the latest edition is November 5, 2013. The specifics: On October 15, 2013, Northern Minerals Limited (ASX:NTU) announced an updated JORC-compliant mineral-resource estimate for the Browns Range project in Australia, of which the previously [...]

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October 2013 Updates To The TMR Advanced Graphite Projects Index

by Gareth Hatch October 26, 2013

I recently updated the TMR Advanced Graphite Projects Index, to reflect two updated and one new mineral-resource estimates which were announced since the last update. The effective date of the updates is October 25, 2013. The specifics: On September 3, 2013, Flinders Resources Ltd. (TSX.V:FDR) announced an updated NI 43-101-compliant resource estimate for its Kringel [...]

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September 2013 Updates To The TMR Advanced Rare-Earth Projects Index

by Gareth Hatch October 7, 2013

I recently updated the TMR Advanced Rare-Earth Projects Index, to reflect one new addition and one update. The effective date of the update is October 3, 2013. The specifics: For a number of years the TANBREEZ project in Greenland has been under development by a subsidiary of Rimbal Pty Ltd., a privately owned Australian company. [...]

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The Impending Shakeout In The Rare-Earth Sector: Who Will Survive?

by Gareth Hatch September 5, 2013

Last month saw the publication of a new report by Adamas Intelligence, in which the company predicts a massive reduction in active rare-earth-element (REE) projects due to diminished investor interest, and a stark inability for most projects to be economic because of their inherent elemental make up, poor cost and pricing assumptions, and a lack of processing capacity outside of China. Adamas kindly provided TMR with a copy of the report for review.

Titled “Sifting The Winners From Losers Amidst The Impending Rare Earth Industry Shakeout”, the 121-page report connects these negative factors to the lingering effects of the 2008-2009 global financial crisis, and the recent spikes in REE prices.

With a dramatic reduction in the number of ‘live’ projects in the near future as its initial premise, the Adamas report attempts to determine just who the 'winners' and 'losers' in the REE sector will be, by using a set of comparative parameters that normalizes each of the existing advanced projects via a single price deck, and applying discounts to basket prices using a consistent methodology and cost factors for each project, as appropriate.

The result is a list of just 10 projects that Adamas believes are going to make it.

The report kicks things off with a Landscape section, providing a history of the REE sector from the 18th century to the present day, including industry development and the growth of REE demand. This section also includes some good background materials on the how and why of REE-bearing mineral formation, as well as a brief review of the 800 or so occurrences of REEs around the world, drawing mainly on US Geological Survey data. Particularly useful in this section is a description of over dozen different types of REE deposits.

Using 46 of the advanced REE projects present on the TMR Advanced Rare-Earth Projects Index on June 1, 2013 as its basis, the report then turns its attention to specific projects for subsequent analysis. Created in 2009 to help compare 'apples to apples' in the REE sector, the TMR Index was first published on our Web site in 2010 and has subsequently become the de facto industry standard for tracking such projects. To be included on the Index, a REE project needs to have a mineral-resource estimate that is compliant to internationally recognized guidelines such as Canada’s NI 43-101 (which uses the CIM framework), Australia’s JORC Code and South Africa’s SAMREC code.

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July 2013 Updates To The TMR Advanced Rare-Earth Projects Index

by Gareth Hatch August 28, 2013

I recently updated the TMR Advanced Rare-Earth Projects Index, to reflect two new additions. The effective date of the update is August 23, 2013. The specifics: On July 29, 2013, Pacific Wildcat Resources Corp. (TSX.V:PAW) announced a maiden NI-43-101-compliant rare-earth mineral-resource estimate for the Mrima Hill project in Kenya. According to the associated press release, [...]

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July 2013 Updates to the TMR Advanced Graphite Projects Index

by Gareth Hatch August 18, 2013

I recently updated the TMR Advanced Graphite Projects Index, to reflect one updated and three new mineral-resource estimates which were announced in the past few months, plus other changes. Yes, it's been a while since the last update - we'll make sure to keep things updated more regularly from now on. The effective date of [...]

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Counterpoint: Supply and Demand in the Rare-Earths Market 2015-2020

by Jack Lifton August 1, 2013

At the Perth AusIMM Critical Minerals conference held in June this year, my esteemed colleague Dudley Kingsnorth presented updated forecasts for the near-term future of the global rare-earth market. Some of the details were recently reported by InvestorIntel. Prof. Kingsnorth’s forecasts always command attention; I would like to offer my own perspective on what we might expect in the latter half of the present decade.

No nation has ever industrialized faster than the Peoples’ Republic of China is now in the process of doing. But even so, and even though we admire China’s breathtaking industrial (re)evolution, common sense tells us that every so often, even the champion runner must take a breather to recover his equilibrium so he can continue, or realize that he cannot continue the pace (note: I’m an old-timer, and I can’t abide political correctness in the written word, so I won’t alternate 'he' and 'she' or substitute some form of 'person' in common phrases). This is finally what’s happening in China. Optimists will say that China is taking a breather, to see just where the new base line of its GDP growth should reside. Pessimists will tell you that the game is over, and that China cannot keep expanding forever. As usual the reality lies somewhere in between.

I emphasize the state of China’s economy, because in the case of the rare-earth total supply chain, China is most of the global ball game. Certainly for the rest of this decade, as China goes, so goes the rare-earth market. China, as of this writing still produces 95% of the world’s rare-earths supply and China, as of this writing, still consumes more than 75% of the world’s rare earth supply. Consumption here does NOT mean domestic internal use; it means that China adds the majority of the final value to its rare-earth supply and even that is usually in the form of components of more complex assemblies (vacuum cleaners, automobile components, or wind turbine generators, for example).

It is becoming clear that China likely does NOT possess the world’s largest resources and reserves of the rare earths. That title, so my colleague and TMR co-founder Gareth Hatch informs me, may well belong to Greenland or Canada. Let’s call them together the North Atlantic Mineral Resource Zone (NAMRZ). That said, China certainly possesses the world’s largest (by volume production capacity) rare-earths total supply chain, and its very large reserves of rare earths could supply the world’s demand for centuries. The rare earths in the NAMRZ are not only undeveloped, but they are in a zone that currently does not have enough access to capital or technology domestically, to create a total rare-earths supply chain of the magnitude of the one in China.

The ideal solution for the NAMRZ would be to put in place as much value addition as possible, so as to capture the most benefit from its vast resources of ALL of the rare earths. The business model of Innovation Metals Corp. (IMC), co-founded by Gareth and to which I am a technical advisor, accomplishes just that. IMC would reduce the tens of thousands of tonnes of mixed rare-earth concentrates that could be produced in the zone from hundreds of thousands of tonnes of mineral concentrates, to a few thousand tons of rare-earth chemicals, and ultimately metallic forms, which are much more valuable and profitable.

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June 2013 Updates To The TMR Advanced Rare-Earth Projects Index

by Gareth Hatch July 28, 2013

I recently updated the TMR Advanced Rare-Earth Projects Index, to reflect one new addition and three updates. The effective date of the update is July 24, 2013. The specifics: On January 11, 2013, DNI Metals Inc. (TSX.V:DNI) announced an updated NI-43-101-compliant mineral-resource estimate for the Buckton project in Canada. According to the associated press release, [...]

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