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Mining Sector Is In “Critical” Condition

Posted March 15, 2023

Matt Insley

By Matt Insley

Mining Sector Is In “Critical” Condition

“The Vietnam analogy is a failure,” says Samuel H. per Friday’s missive: Stumbling Into Ukraine. 

“Russia (Putin) invaded PERIOD,” he adds. “The Ukrainians are fighting for freedom from Putin and for all freedom-loving nations. 

“You know that Putin will not be appeased, no matter what. His first wave of tanks had dress uniforms inside. They thought it was going to be easy. Poland was next and then WW3.” 

Another reader, Alex T., says: “NATO nations need to step up their support. I understand some have, like Germany, but not enough. The U.S. can't be the world's cop!. 

“How is it that we can send money and supplies to a corrupt foreign country, but can't fund the VA to take care of our vets who are suffering?” 

I think our reader makes two assumptions: first, that the U.S. should be the planet’s police force, and, second, that we can wage a hot war overseas (proxy or otherwise) and take care of citizens at home. 

Which brings us to our final correspondent today… 

“This war will shape a new world order, whether the U.S. likes it or not. We will go from a world with the so-called ‘rules-based order’ of the U.S (world’s police) disappearing, and the Global South will see that there are multiple powers: China, Russia, India, Brazil…. with their BRICS commodity-based currency. 

“The world will be de-dollarized, and the U.S. will not sustain its debt and trade deficits anymore. But the neocons in the U.S. still believe in their own fairytales.” 

To our reader’s last point: If America’s ruling class (neocons or neolibs) believe that physical commodities are on their way out, they should have seen the crowd at a Toronto event last week… 

Send your opinions to, feedback@newsyoucanacton.com

Your Rundown for Wednesday, March 15, 2023...

“Critical” Condition

Paradigm’s chief mining and minerals expert Byron King was our eyes and ears — as well as a guest speaker — at the Prospectors & Developers Association of Canada (PDAC) event in Toronto (March 5 - March 8, 2023). 

Commemorating its 91st year, PDAC is the largest mining conference in the world, and, according to conference organizers, 23,819 people from 150 different countries attended this year’s event. 

“The world's mandate is to become greener,” Byron notes. “That's green, as in electrification, decarbonization and alternative energy sources, including renewables and recyclables. 

“In other words, the boring old industrial mining sector is now becoming the foundation of a global upheaval in generating and using energy without combusting fossil fuels and releasing CO2. 

“You just cannot reindustrialize the world without those basic materials, so one major theme is mining ‘critical minerals.’”

RUN

Source: PDAC 2023, Instagram

“In marketing class, they call that rebranding,” Byron continues. 

“Even old-line mining companies like Rio Tinto are talking up green plays… while talking its own book. Think of copper and aluminum, long in Rio’s wheelhouse — hey, you can't electrify without it. 

“Or take nickel: Not just good for stainless steel, but, rather, for batteries. Or consider one of Rio's bread and butter outputs, iron ore, because building renewable systems requires lots of steel. And, of course, galvanizing that steel requires zinc. 

“In other parts of Toronto’s Rogers Center, other companies emerged from the shadows of the mining sector,” says Byron. “Consider uranium, which is not just hot, but very hot (excuse the expression), necessary for carbon-free nuclear power. 

“The U.S. produces just about zero of its own uranium, although the U.S. government is making near-panic level efforts to kickstart new output. 

“Elsewhere in the low atomic number part of the Periodic Table of Elements, humble lithium is the new magic metal for batteries,” Byron says. “Problem is, if you forecast all the EV automobiles planned to roll out of the world's assembly plants in the next ten years, the looming lithium shortage is not just remarkable but likely insurmountable.

“But it's not just lithium because EVs will require rare earth magnets for the traction motors — about 300 to 400 pounds per car — depending on the make and model. With the buildout of the EV market, unit demand for rare earths per vehicle will increase by a factor of 50, 60 or more. 

Right now, where does the world obtain almost all of its magnet metals? Yes, China. In fact, there is no facility outside of China — NONE! — that produces industrial quantities of what are called ‘heavy’ rare earths, critical for electric motors.”

“Is there a solution to this supply predicament?” Byron asks. “I'm pleased to say there is. And I saw the commercial-scale project just the other day during a side-trip to Kingston, Ontario. 

“It's coming from a small company with total focus to build something! That is, take off the white coats and stop the science experiments and construct a facility to turn rare earth ores into actual, usable rare earth metals. In North America, no less. 

“With this particular company, the chemistry definitely works (I saw it in action), and the engineering has been perfected down to the placement of pipes, pumps and valves. Next stop is a much larger facility in Louisiana, aided and abetted by a combination of government funds and advance payments from domestic automakers. 

 “It's all very exciting, which it ought to be because it's all so... critical,” Byron emphasizes. “And this is just a fraction of what I saw at PDAC. 

“Plenty more to discuss,” he says. “So stay tuned.” 

Market Rundown for Wednesday, March 15, 2023

S&P 500 futures are down 1.60% to 3,890.

Oil is down 1.50% to $70.26 for a barrel of WTI. 

Gold is up 0.85% to $1,927.80 per ounce. 

And Bitcoin is up 0.15% to $24,760. 

Send your comments and questions to, feedback@newsyoucanacton.com

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