The U.S. Rare Earths Supply Chain Challenge – Part 4

In an ongoing series on how to solve the U.S. rare earths supply chain challenge, 3 Sr Editors from InvestorIntel and well-known Rare Earths Consultants debate on what are the skills needed to create a rare eaths supply chain in North America.

Participants include Tracy Weslosky, InvestorIntel’s Sr Editor, Publisher and Rare Earths Consultant; Jack Lifton, InvestorIntel’s Sr Editor, Host and Rare Earths Advisor; and Alastair Neill, InvestorIntel’s Sr Editor and Rare Earths Expert.

Alastair started by saying that there is no facility in the US to convert rare earth alloys to magnets. Jack continued by saying that “the US Department of Defence doesn’t want any rare earth permanent magnet from China. The only thing they will accept from China is the raw material which the Chinese do not export. They want extraction, separation, metal making and alloy and magnet making done either in the US or in NATO or SEATO ally countries.”

Alastair concluded the discussion by saying, “To achieve this goal it is going to take a couple of different skill sets. It is one set of skills to get something out of the ground and turn it into a separated oxide. That is completely different from metalization and alloy production and then getting into assembly. So you will need three special types of industries that need to be managed. That is where you have to have someone with a vision to be able to bring that type of team together to be able to manage such a diverse set of skills.”

  • To access the complete discussion, click here
  • To access Part 1 of this rare earths series, click here
  • To access Part 2 of this rare earths series, click here
  • To access Part 3 of this rare earths series, click here

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22 responses

  1. Chris Avatar

    Well, Well, Well… Cost + Contract is coming to Ucore.

    Dec. 11th ARMY news & Dec.16th deadline.

    It was pushed to Dec. 23rd. 4 video segments: Dated Dec. 16th, 18th, 22nd & 29th. Dec. 29th video Lifton said….. ARMY is “due next Monday” — referencing Dec. 16th. One week later is…Dec. 23rd.

    Materion news was Dec. 23rd. One other thing about all 4 videos —– they are…. WEARING THE SAME CLOTHES!!!!….HAHAHA.

    ARMY extended the date, Investor Intel did not edit Jacks comments.

    Ucore is Proj. Mgr for the US supply-chain design through Materion !!! WOW, WOW, WOW

    1. Chris Avatar

      The Ucore news, which ironically Jack’s comments are identical to and pre-dated.

      I laugh at his hint the USG might have already picked “someone”, to do this task of designing the US Supply-chain:

      Very patriotic for Ucore & Materion to have stepped forward!! USA!!

    2. Chris Avatar

      Ucore’s news was for “Industrial”, not “Military industrial”.

      For pulling in the EV’s, electronics, 3d printing, components etc…etc…not just ARMY.

      We’ve read for a decade the Industrial —non military— is 90% of the US REE market. The news covers that other 90%.

      Monday news was for the United States Govt.. The reference to buildings, manufacturing of components and etc.. Assembling magnets into products, etc..

      Yes, no others have offered to now implement the day-to-day US CML dependent, Supply-chain. Acting on all those reports & recommendations that were done last 2 years.

      The Ucore / Materion USG offer, is the total package the DOD needs. Even Ucore’s auto NDA’s. Designing everything to blend and also re-establish American manufacturing.

      What do you think the value of this contract alone is ?? WOW…..that’s how much. Very prestigious contracting

  2. Chris Avatar

    Ucore / Materion / Eutectix:

    Covers all 5 Declarations from Trump

    ” … In addition to its manufacture of bulk metallic glass alloys, Eutectix produces samarium-cobalt and iron-neodymium-boron rare earth magnet alloys, various superalloy rods for further fabrication into welding wire, various alloys for hydride batteries and hydrogen fuel storage, and master alloys as ingredients for superalloy and alnico magnet production”.

    ” Subsequently, the entire manufacturing facility of Molycorp Metals and Alloys in Tolleson, AZ, historically focused on manufacturing rare earth magnet metals and alloy powders, was acquired in 2016″.

    From Google:
    The most common bulk metallic glass is an alloy made of zirconium, titanium, copper, nickel, and beryllium”

    From Ucore’s non-REE update on Oct 15th, 2019:
    “…an additional 38.5 thousand tonnes of the critical and strategic metals, including niobium (Nb), zirconium (Zr), beryllium (Be), hafnium (Hf), titanium (Ti), and vanadium (V) have now been added to the Resource at Bokan”.

    All from only 10% of deposit and leaching only 375 tpd. This is unheard of.

    December 23, 2019 Materion news was from the same VP of the Eutectix agreement:

    ” Entry into the American HREE market also leverages Materion’s well-established supply channels and dedicated customer base. We look forward to exploring alternatives for a domestic, multi-stage solution to America’s increasing need for these strategically important metals.”

    ” Pursuant to a successful bid under the IBAS program, Ucore and Materion have agreed to jointly conduct a strategic assessment of the domestic HREE market and an engineering evaluation of related separation capabilities within the United States.

    Such an evaluation will consider the viability of multiple U.S. and/or U.S. allied rare earth element (“REE”) feedstock sources.

    Ucore, through its U.S. subsidiary, Landmark Alaska L.P., will be the project manager of the initiative, with Materion providing metallurgical processing, supply chain design, and advisory functions”.

    Ucore / Materion / Eutectix completes all 5 Trump Declarations.

    Say hello to the starting point of the US ARMY Industrial Base for their $57b munitions program.

    The worlds 1st HREE supply-chain outside of China.

    This is only what’s known so far.

    History in the making.

  3. david king Avatar
    david king

    At Australia in the Northern Territory there is a microcap company listed on the ASX exchange under ARU: ASX. The company Arafura resources Ltd has the Nolans project with a resource of NdPr of approximately 17 year mine life and is proposing to open the process plant in the August 2022 subject to the availability of finance. The company has completed a pilot plant program which has been successful. The company is at present completing a drilling plan to expand the resources available.
    In addition on the 23 December 2019 Arafura resources Ltd announced to the market that the company has entered into a strategic relationship with USA Rare Earth LLC which allows for the treatment of Arafura’s SEG-HRE carbonate product by USA Rare Earth’s proprietary processing technology.
    Today USA Rare Earth and its JV partner Texas Mineral Resources Corp. (OTCQB: TMRC) submitted a tender for the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) Cornerstone Initiative for Heavy Rare Earth Element Separation, the objective of which is to establish a commercially sustainable U.S. domestic capability for the separation of heavy rare earths in support of DoD and essential civilian products

    1. Chris Avatar

      TMRC is all of 2020 a pilot plant.

      2023 full scale decision.
      Already sold 80% of the deposit.
      Needs $350m.
      Will probably be announcing a PP soon and typical of a junior miner, will not raise enough.

      I’m glad Ucore is transitioned into a tech company, with a deposit.

      That SEG is a few miles away.
      Ucore has in their PEA flow-sheet, SEG+Y separation columns.

      No mine compares to Bokan’s only 375 tpd, sent to leaching.

      Producing all 5 DOD DENTY metals and 38k tonnes of non-REE’s.

      That is unheard of and effects multiple assessment categories for picking a deposit when there’s choices.

      But too, there will be multiple chosen.

      Look at Hanford; Govt always picks a “best alternative” too.

      I think the Ucore / Materion will be top-heavy with industry individuals.

      Only makes sense.

  4. Chris Avatar

    IBAS: Ucore / Materion are #4 & #10.

    4. Materials (Rare Earth Elements, Composites, High Value Metals)

    10. Munitions and Missiles (Sub-tier Supply Chain Risks)

    Ucore has submitted for the earlier ARMY munitions and the Materials. I have not found another company offering #4

    TMRC, Lynas, Canadian or Australian, and any other(s): are item #10.

    Only Ucore submitted to 4, 10 & is designing an HREE plant.

    Makes sense now Ucore said they had presented Bokan to US officials as a Supply-chain option.

    We did not know yet about the Materion agreement to design the HREE supply-chain.

    There are no funding limits on any of the 1-10.

    Idea looks Green light on paper, they notify you and you get to work on costs & scope, etc..

    On Izatt & Jack; yep, Izatt has so far lost all motions he has submitted. Other than having his 6Th Wave motion ruled moot and simply added to the Ucore suit. Key thing though, he also dropped his Conspiracy and Unjust Enrichment claims. That has a very positive effect for Ucore in their Nova Scotia suit on ownership of MRT!

    Jack ; yes, serious contradictions, all on videos, etc.. I’ll stay positive and think it’s for bigger picture that’s undoubtedly taking shape. : )

  5. Don Avatar

    Nice to see Jack Lifton has become a search mineral fan, you can’t blame him they have the best ,most advanced rare earth project in North America, with many deposits on there property. They could supply the U.S , Canada , Japan , Europe with rare earths.

    1. Chris Avatar

      Don —
      Bokan only leaches 375k tpd @ all REE’s & 38k tpy of non-REE’s that includes 2.5 tpy of titanium. Also zirconi, vanadium, hafnium, beryllium and couple others.

      Payback is 2.4 yrs, without adjusted to non-REE metals and MRT numbers.

      All Bokan tailings go back under ground. U and Th free. Searches deposit triggers the Nuclear threshold. Payback is 4.7 years, on only $150m due to low concentration of non-REE’s.

      Search is the typical years away from dirt outta ground.

      Ucore is currently designing an HREE plant. Mosaic phosphate in florida, is my feed stock guess.


  6. Tim Ainsworth Avatar
    Tim Ainsworth

    Good to see all the ambulance chasers out and about, shuffling a decade high pile of glossy PDF’s.

    Terms of the RFI’s however gave the distinct impression USG is looking to sponsor a business, rather than a conglomeration of charities, one that could scale up quite quickly with a sustainable commercial base, likely requires the IP of a Japanese mag maker in the mix.

    1. chris Avatar

      I guess after a company has failed to attract the value-added chain for 7/8 years, you’re right; a charity group has to step in. Also sounds like your “$4” soon company just can’t cut the Japanese cord.

      Every other deposit / tech has insurmountable hurdles. Not your Lynas & Blue though huh?
      Regardless of never having processed HREE’s themselves.

      I’d loan you the $500m if I had it. Or even the $600m for Duncan. Or even buy-back the 700m o/s.
      That entire plant should be speaking Japanese, and you insult Materion.

      A company that runs circles around you and Lynas.

      Look forward to you for once showing the message boards you have trolled forever, just who has ever hired you, or in the least taken your “advice”.

      1. Tim Ainsworth Avatar
        Tim Ainsworth

        Chris, the USG actually appears to have become rather tired of shuffling PDF’s for a decade and finally come to the inevitable conclusion that the only manner in which they are going to create a magnet/RE supply chain independent of China is by stimulating the commercial demand to ensure it is self sustaining.

        That will require policy to offset China’s VAT value trap but also cutting edge IP in magnet manufacture plus a secure source of competitively priced magnet inputs to have any chance of weaning US OEM’s off Chinese made NdFeB & PMM. Little time to waste with US NdFeB mags now down to just 17% of China exports, probably half of just 5/6yrs ago, which probably suggests the US isn’t even making many motors these days.

        To have any chance of turning this situation around after years of apathy USG will need to sponsor proven professionals that can respond quickly & competitively with a high degree of surety at scale, at each stage of the process. Given they will effectively be starting from a zero base, significant investment into a virtually non existent mkt, mandatory they have substantial external business not to become charities at US taxpayer expense, companies that have already done the hard yards, proven & profitable.

        This is now a very late run effort, the Germans also now scrambling but somewhat more stealthily, not the situation where you turn to glib mktg guys shuffling PDF’s like a river boat gambler.

  7. Don Avatar

    I don’t like running down other company’s we are all in this to make a buck. And I am sure there is room for two or three rare earth company’s once the demand comes on stream. You should read search,s press release they made improvements to there pilot plant u and th taking care of. 99.9% percent rare earth oxide. 150 million start up 3 year pay back using 2015 flow sheet when rare earths was at it lowest price. I think ucore is using 2013 flow sheet based on 2012 rare earth prices which was at there highest price. That’s were the difference comes in it’s not because of the grade. Gltu

    1. Chris Avatar

      Yes, yes, I did forget the 99%! To me the whole “rare earth” angle is a no-go. There is no such thing as a rare earth mine. They are process bi-products and numbers are kicked to see if can afford a Hydro, etc.. these days to recoup costs. Simple.

      Not attacking Search and not typing what my perception is: 375 tpd Vs 1k tpd, gets me what non-REE’s, from each deposit. Scandium, hafnium, zirconium, titanium, beryllium, tellurium, tin, etc., etc..

      Bokan is a very high % Dy, Tb, etc.. The work smarter, not harder. I agree about grades. Also it’s not the REE grades that I personally go by. If the non-REE’s are outstanding, the mine goes forward. Not the other way around. Because everyone knows REE’s are not the sustainer, for many reasons. ( 2010 & MC )

      Ucore’s plan is MRT, tolling the CML, etc.. With Materion designing a HREE supply-chain, it’s what Ucore said; all the good deposits should be funded. Plenty to go around and Ucore is on a totally different path anyway. A comparable is IMC. But it’s a tech, without a deposit & Bokans Dy tpy, matches their entire output of 60-80kg’s yearly. Feed has been a problem for certain junior before.

      Different aspects of each is not running down. Unless when you make a mistake on Th & U. HA.

      Gltu too!

    2. Tracy Weslosky Avatar
      Tracy Weslosky

      Thank you for visiting David – your comments were appreciated, as indeed Arafura has been a leading contender in the race for rare earths that we have followed closely for just over a decade now….visit again please.

    3. Tracy Weslosky Avatar
      Tracy Weslosky

      Thank you Don, Your wisdom shared here is appreciated and valued. Additionally, Search Minerals is an example of a real contender that is supported by some of the most substantial talent in the industry — example: Dr David Dreisinger. And indeed we are attempting to get an interview with him. Please comment again Don and HNY.

      1. Don Avatar

        Jack Lifton did a interview on BNN dec 31/2019 on rare earths if anyone wants to check it out. He did a good job.
        HNY to you to Tracy

  8. Chris Avatar


    Jack’s Eutectix LinkedIn connections:

    Robert Russotti, John de Neufville, Dave Smith, Sarah Malicke. — The US magnet & metal maker who Jack didn’t know a week or 2 ago on video. ( lol )

    Add to this; re-listen to the Pat Ryan video because it was 2 months before Materion.

    He mentions Ucore’s beryllyium, zirconium, auto NDA’s & off-takes.

    He even references the same Euticex magnets.

    This is what IBAS category #4 covers: Materials (Rare Earth Elements, Composites, High Value Metals).

    Titanium, zirconium, beryllium, Composites, alloys, metals and magnets, are both companies.

    Ucore is the only #4 & #10 submissions.

    AIDEA, HREE plant, Suncor, KRP, MOSAIC, MRT in NS, JOGMEC mention, DPA, ARMY, US HREE supply-chain design with blue-chip stock Materion.

    2020 is looking awesome!!

  9. Chris Avatar

    Jack calls Ucore a “sleeper” — 2014.

    All of 2014, Ucore / IBC were MRT testing Bokan ore and announced it Dec. 2014 at a Conference via Ken Collison.

    Steve Izatt was the MC.

    June 2016; 3rd party confirmation MRT separated all REE’s @ 99%/99%.

    99% / 99% of Sc directly from the PLS.

    99% / 99% of both DY & Tb from the HREE sub-groups.

    Oct. 2017; oil sands PLS qualifies for submitting to MRT circuits.

    March 2018; announced AK SMC.

    Oct. 2019; building the worlds 1st HREE plant.

    Dec. 4th 2019; judge says Izatt comes across as dishonest.

    Dec. 23rd, 2019; partnered with a world-wide company for designing the US HREE supply-chain. —- Materion.

    For a decade, everyone has said this is what was needed.

    Months ago, Jack caught amnesia.

    Dosen’t recall Ucore or MRT facts.

    That’s either because he will be involved OR, jealousy.

    9 min mark; ” Ucore is a sleeper”.

    And on THAT note!!…no better comment to close out 2019 trading on and say to all Ucorians: …. Happy, Happy New-Years!!

    ( u like that one Dan ?? HA )

  10. Tim Ainsworth Avatar
    Tim Ainsworth

    Jack was waiting for Ucore way back July 2011, can hardly blame him for getting a little wary of them:

    Jack Lifton July 25, 2011 at 11:26 pm

    I like Ucore very much, because it is a necessary part of any American attempt to regain DOMESTIC self-sufficiency in the production, processing, and use of the rare earths as soon as possible. I think that the US national government and the government of Alaska have recognized this truth.

    I believe that Ucore can proceed without any technical or other “help’ from MCP. I doubt that MCP will aquire Ucore or control of Ucore.

    I have visited Ucore’s Alaska sites more than once and will shortly do so again with a group of analysts and political figures. I think that Ucore will soon be making some important announcements that will significantly impact America’s future self-sufficiency in heavy rare earths.

  11. chris Avatar

    Well “Jack’s” wait is over;

    Took a look around on this 1st day of 2020 and still do not see anyone else with such potential stepping forward to solve the issues.

    Ucore has begun it’s similar path of Materion: being a Govt. prime supplier.

    1. Tim Ainsworth Avatar
      Tim Ainsworth

      “capabilities that Ucore is in the advanced stages of establishing on U.S. soil”

      Where exactly?

      And with what?

      Given the major SH quickly reclaimed most of his debt post CR they are probably “advancing” with ~ $4M CoH, good for legal fees and a few more PDF’s for another quarter I guess.

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