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Building Critical Minerals Infrastructures: Opportunities and Roadblocks

Chris Temple 0

The week of March 8 saw ambitious plans laid out in both the U.S. and Canada for building the Green Economies of the future, as well as to promote and develop home-grown resources and technologies that would strengthen all those supply chains, etc.

Yet as I discussed with my friend Trevor Hall of Mining Stock Daily this week (among a LOT of comments/prognostications on the markets) in the U.S. especially contradictions and road blocks have already emerged questioning America's will to gain control of its own destiny and economy/security in these matters.

The following is an edited version of a commentary I sent out mid-week to our audience:

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On a very "meaty" visit yesterday with my buddy Trevor Hall at Mining Stock Daily, I explained the factors that caused all of those  market calls. Most importantly, I went on to explain why that Odd Couple (long Gold and Treasuries; we even added more to the former yesterday) trade is TEMPORARY. 

Take the time to LISTEN TO THE REPLAY. Among other things, you'll learn why the final high for Treasury yields...and the final low for gold...are still ahead of us. 

And you will know what circumstances (which could, down the road a few months, take the form of a new market crisis) will cause the END for both the Treasury and gold market sell-offs. As I quipped to Trevor, if the scenario I painted comes about, MY truck will be backing up ahead of his to load up on gold stocks anew!
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Kudos to the Canadian Province of Ontario, which yesterday--on the sidelines of the "virtual" PDAC confab--unveiled an aggressive game plan to set Ontario apart as THE premier jurisdiction in the world for battery/critical minerals.

Greg Rickford, Ontario's Minister of Energy, Northern Development and Mines anchored this announcement of the province's new "Critical Minerals Strategy"; and had input as well from other government and mining industry leaders including my friends Trent Mell, President/C.E.O. of First Cobalt and Trevor Walker, President/C.E.O. of Frontier Lithium.

In short, said Min. Rickford, he intends for Ontario to be a "template" for the world in how to responsibly and safely mine the metals/minerals needed for the evolving Green Economy and further set up Ontario (which, given its own substantial automobile manufacturing industry.) 

This multi-faceted and ambitious plan is going to be a MAJOR boon for companies that will be providing the pieces for the whole E.V. and Green Energy food chain. And some of what I heard is moving me to very quickly dust off some past ideas/companies...stay tuned, Members!!     ________________________________
     

Back on Tuesday afternoon, I was on a similar call: featuring recently-installed new U.S. Department of Energy boss Jennifer Granholm. This gathering was organized by S.A.F.E. (Securing America's Future Energy) which is doing GREAT work in advocating for a pro-active game plan for America also to be a leader--rather than the follower and/or bystander we have been for too long--in these same areas.

My profound thanks to S.A.F.E. and its Founder, President and C.E.O. Robbie Diamond for bringing me on the call!    AND I encourage each of you to learn more about and support S.A.F.E.; VISIT THEM HERE.

As both a Canadian by birth and the former governor of an industrial state (Michigan, for those who have forgotten) Sec. Granholm's understanding of all the moving parts of a mining-to-end user supply chain is impressive. As I explained to Trevor Hall in yesterday's discussion (which you NEED to listen to for this particular subject especially if you have ANY interest in knowing how to invest in these themes) if she was the final word on all this, I would be JUST as excited about what she had to say as I was about Ontario's announcement.

But sadly--and perhaps tragically for America, depending on how things evolve--questions have arisen as to whether Sec. Granholm's boss and his administration really are committed to achieving critical mineral and energy security.

Case in Point #1 -- The Resolution Copper Mine in Arizona.

This major, underground copper mine (a J.V. between BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto) was previously approved to advance toward development. The Biden Department of Agriculture, though, has just ordered the U.S. Forest Service to rescind a key, previously-approved land swap and effectively halt this project (SEE HERE for the news.)  

Case in Point #2 -- Lithium Americas' Thacker Pass Project in Nevada

As you can read in THIS REPORT, there is major local/environmental push back now against this big lithium project which, by all appearances, is set for a series of delays and legal challenges. 

To be fair on this one, there has been no overt act on the part of the Biden Administration to call into question Thacker Pass. But what I will be watching is this:  how energetic will the now Biden-controlled Bureau of Land Management be to defend its January decision to approve this 5,700 acre open pit project?

--->>>    And also to be fair, this looming battle over Thacker Pass underscores why I am SO hot on both Piedmont Lithium and Frontier Lithium, whose spodumene-hosted deposits of lithium are SO superior, as I explained several days ago. 

Case in Point # 3 -- PolyMet Mining's NorthMet Project in Minnesota's Iron Range

As some of you recall, PolyMet is one of my big all-time winners, though that was some years ago. I fairly recently advocated buying back in, given the apparent urgency of America--even under Joe Biden--getting serious about sourcing its own metals. 

In the case of NorthMet, that America-based mineral endowment is substantial: the largest development-stage polymetallic project in North America, containing nickel, cobalt, precious metals, platinum group metals and copper.

No sooner, though, had PolyMet enjoyed both federal and Minnesota Supreme Court victories on some of the remaining nuisance suits it has had to fight for two decadesthan the Environmental Protection Agency brought back into question its previous granting of the company's water quality permit for the NorthMet Project (SEE HERE.) 

A company spokesman I visited with after this news came out a few days back suggested that this move was more normal formality than substance; and I hope that's true. But I'd be lying if I said I am not a little nervous even if--so far--this news has not adversely affected PolyMet's share price.

All told, as Trevor Hall summed up when we discussed all these things yesterday, we are already at a fork in the road when it comes to America's resolve to be in charge of its own destiny...or not.     And needless to say, I'll continue to advise our Members as to what companies/sectors to be in...and what to avoid, even among otherwise good stories...depending on how all this evolves.

I don't want to end on a negative note, though, on this. 

Notwithstanding those clouds that have emerged, there is still NO question that the Sec. Granholm-led D.O.E. is going to be extremely pro-active on any number of good things. Similarly to the comments I subsequently heard from Ontario's Minister Rickford, she does not intend to be outdone. Among other things, she stated that--bolstered by a present allocation of $40 billion of loan guarantees alone--she intends her Department to build "an indomitable portfolio of investments" in a myriad of companies/technologies that will build out the Green Economy, etc.

So likewise, as I quipped earlier in regard to Ontario-based companies, I indeed AM accelerating looks into and research on some U.S. companies as well that are going to be a bigger part of our future lives. And that's especially the case, given one particular, unexpected (for me, anyway) theme that Sec. Granholm covered more than once during her discussion.

Our Members will get the next addition to my recommended list on one of these themes in just the next few days.

QUESTIONS/COMMENTS--E-mail me at chris@nationalinvestor.com

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