NOAA: US records warmest March, precipitation above average
AFRL selects XG Sciences to develop graphene nanoplatelet-based high-energy ultracapacitors; potential benefit for automotive applications

Molycorp’s rare earth reserves at Mountain Pass increase by 36%

Molycorp, Inc. announced that its proven and probable reserves of rare earth minerals at its Mountain Pass, California facility have increased by 36%, according to a new independent estimate. (Earlier post.) Rare earths and rare metals are critical inputs in existing and emerging applications including hybrid and electric vehicles and wind power turbines.

The updated estimate, based on the SEC’s “Industry Guide 7” definition of proven and probable mineral reserves, expands Molycorp’s reserves to 18.4 million short tons of rare earth ore, at an ore grade of 7.98% and a cut-off grade of 5%. This compares to a previous 2010 estimate of Molycorp’s proven and probable reserves of 13.6 million short tons. Both independent analyses were done by SRK Consulting of Lakewood, Colorado, an industry mining consulting firm that specializes in such estimates.

SRK now estimates that the proven and probable component of Molycorp’s ore body contains approximately 2.94 billion pounds (1.3 million metric tons) of contained rare earth oxide (REO) equivalent. This compares to the previous estimate of 2.24 billion pounds of contained REO product (1.02 million metric tons).

The updated estimate of Molycorp’s reserves by SRK was based on an analysis of an updated mine plan that calculated material volumes, tonnes, in-situ grades, and concentrate tonnes. The SRK analysis took into account data from exploratory drilling conducted in 2010.



Funny, that stuff seems to grow with market price, or is it to boost the Stock Price?


There is nothing funny about reserves increasing as when the market price does. as it represents the percentage of resources, ie all the stuff that is there, that is technically, ie that part you can get at with known technology, at around the current market price.

So if the price goes up, the amount of economic reserves will tend to.


It's usually a little of both with the commodity producers Harvey. The higher the price goes, the more material that becomes technically recoverable (same words as oil- we'll never run out of oil if the price keeps going up). These producers do need to hype it up a bit to get the investers too. The reason we don't have a working rare earth mine and production facility is because everyone wants a big return on their investment. These things are typically low margin, high capital expenditure projects with market demand not always guarenteed. Since the price is up and the future looks like it could use rare earths, investers are interested.


This says that we will always be behind the curve waiting for increased profit potential. If it takes 10 years to form capital and ramp up production, the other countries are establishing market share while we scramble instead of plan and deploy over time.


Somebody has created a world of illusion and we believe it. We are true believers?


One of the greatest illusion is that we can go deeper and deeper in debt without major effects. One day in the not too distant future, all our debts: Fed Government and Agencies + Institutions; States and Institutions; Cities and villages; Private firms; Semi-private firms, Real Estates; Credits Cards etc etc will total more than the country and all its elements are worth. Will it be too late to wake up?


What other countries are establishing market share?

And what do you mean “establish market share?”


On illusion and true believers, I have no comment. Australia has some rare earth resources and is in the process of developing them, the USA at the Molycorp facility and I think Canada may be developing a resource. China knew that even if they weren't going to make a lot of money on rare earths, they would benefit from a stable supply since many other products depend on their use. We make no such strategic investment, preferring to let the market determine investment in resources. We could support such industries through things like government loan guarentees or such, but we have a disfunctional political system in which the common good is ignored, and the political careers of demogogues becomes paramount. In addition, Americans have separated themselves from work (preferring to claim the benefits of someone elses labor) and thus from reality and have therefore become easily cowed by non-rational arguments. Therefore, industries that would have broader economic benefit to the country are not pursued for the most part, and when they are, singular anecdotal dificulties are examined as if they represent the majority of cases and the real generality is discounted or ignored. The prime example of course is Solyndra. While in this case there was a failure, the general results of the loan guarentee programs has been hugely beneficial, but the public (the beneficiaries) cowed by the media outlets and the political ideologues has the impression that the whole program was a failure which is opposite to the truth. It's like stopping to help someone up out of a mud hole they have fallen in and having them spit in your eye, because while they were in the hole someone told them that they hadn't fallen there, but had made a choice to sit in the mud. They ain't gonna let no goobermint tell them they can't sit in the mud.


it seems we are now so broke that you can't afford to use paragraphs!
Do you really expect people to wade through text you can't be bothered to format?


"China knew that even if they weren't going to make a lot of money on rare earths, they would benefit from a stable supply since many other products depend on their use."
[That’s as far as I read; life’s too short”]

China logically wants to make as much money as possible while the supply/demand is in their favor; they would be remiss if they did not.

Why would they care if supply is stable?

China holds 50% of the world’s reserves. The US holds about 13%.

That’s nature, not planning; not scrambling,

Most rare earths, even the heavy ones are byproducts of mining for other metals – also not planning

World demand is projected to rise to 200,000 tons annually by 2015, So Molycorp’s reserves of 1.3 million metric tons alone could supply say, 50% of the US needs for some 30 years. Long enough for us to plan to um, well, what; invade China?

Or to let private enterprise, including speculators, gamble their own money, not mine, on finding the next REE-lode.


Planning can prevent scrambling even if your country does not have the most resources. Scrambling occurs when you wait until something is profitable enough, you are reacting not planning.

Rare earth minerals have been known to be useful for quite a while, but they were not immensely profitable to mine and refine. A country knows the value of these minerals and develops the resources. A company waits until they are hugely profitable and then tries to make up for lost time by pouring money and resources into catching up.


A country knows the political value of these minerals and carelessly spends our money in an attempt to look good are earn political donations and maybe even develop the resources.

A company waits until they are can see some profitability and then tries to have a product or process ready when the need becomes real by putting THEIR money and resources into the effort -
If the need will not be met another way – like with amorphous metals;

See GCC “Hitachi develops 11 kW permanent magnet motor without rare earth materials. 14 April 2012”

The comments to this entry are closed.