The Critical Metals Investment Symposium in Vancouver, BC featured a wide array of companies and analysts. Two of these speakers, John Kaiser and Jack Lifton, stressed the importance of critical metals in the world economy.
By Michael Montgomery—Exclusive to Rare Earth Investing NewsLast weekend Vancouver, BC played host to the Critical Metal Investment Symposium, a conference attended by mining companies, market analysts, and investors. The headline speakers included noted rare earth expert Jack Lifton, and mining analyst John Kaiser, of the Kaiser Bottom-Fishing Report. Both spoke on the nature of Chinese dominance over critical metals, such as rare earths, tungsten, tin and antimony, and uranium, and the importance of these metals for the future economy. Both also spoke on the 'old economics' that allowed China to exert such vast control over many metals markets. That is, the economic philosophy that cheaper material and production costs, no matter the location, is the best strategy to create wealth. We North Americans have lost our place in the world because of old economics, it's cheaper to build it in China. It doesn't matter how many American's lose their jobs, or how much the consumer base disappears, because this week my company can get a lower price on raw materials, finished products or even labor. "Do not fall for that,” urged Jack Lifton, stressing the importance of a strong and viable North American supply chain. One of the factors that allowed China to dominate rare earths was rock bottom production costs starting in the 1980s. Mining companies in the western world could not compete with the Chinese and had to shut down operations as the capital flowed to China for their cheap materials. Such was the case with the Mt. Pass mine, now held by Molycorp (NYSE: MCP) , which has reopened the mine as a result of the realization of true costs of production in China. China had been subsidizing the production of their materials not with government funding, but by allowing lax environmental controls. However, China has put an end to this, no longer allowing others to dump their costs on them in the form of environmental degradation. “The wake up call for the rest of the world has happened. Here are the metals that China readily produced, but has put on its restricted list, planning to build stockpiles, and restricting export quota's. Tungsten, rare earths, tin, antimony and others, they have all undergone price significant increases in the last month,” stated John Kaiser.