INVESTMENTS OPERTUNITIES ..
At MAGNAIRON, we fundamentally like large problems that are amenable to technological disruption. We seek out defensible advantages: proprietary and protected technological advances, business model innovations, and unique partnerships. Most importantly, we invest in “A” teams and founders with a demonstrable history of development/traction. We invest more in people than in a specific plan, because plans often change.
Ways to invest in rare earths
There are a number of ways to categorize and better understand REEs. For example, rare earths are often divided into “heavy” and “light” categories based on their atomic weight. Heavy rare earths are generally more sought after, but light REEs can, of course, be important too.
Rare earths can also be grouped together according to how they are used. Rare earth magnets include praseodymium, neodymium, samarium and dysprosium, while phosphor rare earths — those used in lighting — include europium, terbium and yttrium. Cerium, lanthanum and gadolinium are sometimes included in the phosphor category as well.
One thing that is common to all the rare earths is that price information is not readily available — like other critical metals, rare earth materials are not traded on a public exchange. That said, some research firms do make pricing details available on occasion, sometimes for a fee.
Mining in US
- The United States has only one operational rare earths mine, in Mountain Pass, Calif. The site was acquired out of bankruptcy in 2017 by MP Materials, an American company that is working to refurbish a processing facility there that dates to the 1950s.Aug 14, 2020
Out in the Mojave Desert in California lies the Mountain Pass mine, once the world’s foremost supplier of valuable rare earth minerals — 17 elements deemed critical to modern society. In an age where China controls 80 percent of the global output of these minerals, it is strange to believe that a once-dominant source sits within the United States. Stranger still is the tale of how this mine came to supply the Chinese rare earths industry.
In 1952, Mountain Pass opened. First explored as a uranium deposit, it soon supplied rare earths for the electronic needs of the Cold War economy. Until the 1990s, it stood alone as the only major source of rare earths worldwide.
By 2002, however, the mine was defunct. In the eyes of the U.S. government and major manufacturers, it no longer made sense to acquire rare earths from a U.S. source subject to stringent environmental regulations. Instead, the hard business of extracting useful minerals was exported to other countries, where environmental damage was safely out of sight. China happily obliged, allowing environmental harm to proliferate so long as the costs of rare earth mining were kept down.
In 2008, a group of investors formed Molycorp and convinced Wall Street to resurrect Mountain Pass under an audacious plan dubbed “Project Phoenix.” With the promise of wealth to be generated from new (but untested) technologies, Molycorp bullishly claimed that it could compete with (or even underprice) China’s near-monopoly. Molycorp’s critics weren’t convinced, pointing to the immaturity of the company’s mineral separation technology, the high barriers to entry and the lingering threat of the Chinese monopoly to manipulate prices at will.
The collapse of American rare earth mining — and lessons learned
Neodymium Magnets are Being Used for More Applications
Neodymium magnets power so many devices that it’s easy to lose track of them all. Almost every Hybrid and Electric Automobile depends on Neodymium magnets. Wind power turbines, marine propulsion, air conditioners, mobile phones, audio devices and many more applications all depend on Neodymium magnets to achieve sleek form factors that create downstream economies in many new systems.
Industrial motors made with NdFeB magnets configured for high up-time with efficiencies over 95% are saving electricity and conserving natural resources. Neodymium (NdFeB) magnets are creating more capabilities in smaller spaces in more applications than ever before. Should Investors Get Excited About Rare Earth Metals?
Terbium is used to make flat-panel displays. Thulium can be found in your microwave. Dysprosium demand is growing with increased production of wind turbines and electric vehicles.
The 17 so-called “rare earth metals,” of which the three mentioned above are members, may not have household names like gold or copper, but they play strong supporting roles in many of the consumer electronics we enjoy on a daily basis, from our TVs to smartphones.
They also have important high-tech military, energy, health care and transportation applications. According to the Rare Earth Technology Alliance (RETA), each Lockheed Martin F-35 requires some 920 pounds of the metals. Some nuclear-powered submarines use up to 9,200 pounds.