Lifton on Kingsnorth and the global rare earth market – by Jack Lifton ( – November 30, 2015)

My colleague, Professor Dudley Kingsnorth, now of Curtin University in Perth, Australia, is arguably the world’s most experienced; up-to-date; and knowledgeable expert in the global rare earths’ markets. To me therefore his keynote address to the Roskill Conference on Rare Earths, two weeks ago in Singapore, was a definitive analysis of the current situation in the global rare earths’ markets.

I believe that he and I are very much in agreement on most of the issues in those markets, and on how we got to where we are today. Prof Kingsnorth and I were, I think, both a bit surprised, although he to a lesser extent than I, that we agreed on which non-Chinese rare earth juniors were the best and were most likely to succeed. Both of us heartily agreed that the other had finally come to his senses on that topic.

I think that in order to have a discussion about the global rare earths’ markets we need first to determine exactly what or which problem(s) we are trying to investigate and understand. Perhaps it is best thought of as “What specific question(s) are we trying to answer?”

For me the ultimate question is “How can I make sure that non-Chinese industrial manufacturers have a secure supply of the rare earths forms that they need that are critical for their products at prices that over a reasonable term will ensure that those products are competitive in their chosen markets?”

For almost all of my readers on InvestorIntel this is an abstract goal, or a statement of the obvious. Most of the readers of InvestorIntel are not procurement officers for global1000 corporations but short term investors who want informed stock tips; they want to know which, if any, of the dwindling opportunities among the junior rare earths “miners” shares are currently the best bet to see a near-term price increase?

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