Seizing Control of the Rare Earth Metals Sector from a Rogue Chinese Government
Monumental Minerals Corp.
There’s a massive commodity shortage looming for metals critical to our national security…
…and it’s being driven by rogue governments around the world — particularly China!
These metals — which reside on the periodic table with hard-to-pronounce names — are essential to the manufacture of everything from microchips and smartphones to EVs and critical defense technologies.
And that includes America’s fleet of 82 nuclear-powered aircraft carriers and submarines!
These vital technologies require specialty metals mostly controlled by the Chinese government called Rare Earth Elements — or REEs for short.
Because of China’s stranglehold on the world’s production of REEs — to the tune of about 85% — there’s a huge financial incentive for the North American mining industry to discover and develop rare earths deposits outside of China that can feed that dire shortage.
The problem is… these types of deposits are extraordinarily “rare” on North American soil.
In fact, to-date, there’s only been a very small handful of rare earths discoveries made anywhere close to where you’re likely standing right now… the most prominent being MP Materials’ Mountain Pass project in southern California.
And that means a massive price-spike in rare earth metals is coming… just like what we saw in 2010 as China’s wanton control and manipulation of the rare earths market reached the mainstream news media resulting in a historic upward run.
Back then, share prices of the very few North American mining companies that had rare earth mineral exploration projects under development went through the roof — some in excess of 1,000%.
That same scenario may be about to unfold again!
Monumental Minerals: Unlocking the Value of HREEs for the North American Market
Demand for rare earth minerals is set to explode with an estimated Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 10.8% reaching more than US$19.8 billion by 2026.
That level of demand growth coupled with almost zero North American production is a growing national security concern that Monumental Minerals (TSX-V: MNRL) could potentially help solve.
Quickly out of the gate, the company has secured a 100%-interest in the Jemi HREE Project located in Coahuila State, Mexico… just a stone’s throw from the south Texas border.
The project has exposure to known occurrences of several rare earth minerals across thousands of acres of permitted land within a trending mineral belt that contains rare earth elements.
To-date at Jemi, heavy rare earth element mineralized alkaline dykes have been discovered along the margins of an intrusive zone ranging up to 5 metres in width.
Best of all, the project is fully-permitted and drill-ready… which means speculators can expect a steady stream of news flow with which to potentially move the needle higher — starting now!
The Flagship: Jemi HREE Project, Mexico
The 8,800-acre road-accessible Jemi Heavy Rare Earth Element (HREE) Project is located in northern Coahuila State, Mexico, approximately 30 miles south of the south Texas border.
Monumental acquired the property in-full from Discovery Silver (TSX-V: DSV) — whose expertise is on silver exploration projects and not rare earths — in September 2021.
Discovery Silver holds a 10% shareholder interest in Monumental, which is a huge bonus to MNRL shareholders as Discovery will maintain significant skin-in-the-game as the Jemi project progresses under the stewardship of the Monumental team.
Geologically speaking, the Jemi HREE Project lies within the Eastern Mexican Alkaline Province — a northwest-trending belt of Laramide-age intrusions of Cretaceous-age sediments that contain HREE.
That’s a geologic mouthful to be sure! So… we had our own Gerardo Del Real of Junior Resource Monthly sit down with the company’s lead geologist, Kris Raffle, to go over the project details in layman’s terms. That interview is coming right up!
Yet, before we get to that — know this:
Exploration to-date at Jemi has delineated two primary HREE occurrences; one at the Veladora North target area and the other 5 km to the south at the Dyke target area.
Those successes — which have come in the very early exploration stages with less than 5% of the property evaluated for REEs — point to Jemi’s vast exploration upside as well as the timeliness of the opportunity at-hand.
Most importantly, the Jemi project is fully-permitted and drill-ready, which should greatly speed up the time required to get the drills turning.
The present distribution of HREE occurrences at Jemi suggests an association with alkaline intrusive dykes and contact metamorphic zones representing a possible 15-km-long REE underexplored prospective strike length within the project’s boundaries.
The project also has geologic similarities to several well-known resource and development-stage North American mineral projects, including Bokan (Alaska), Kipawa (Quebec), Strange Lake (Quebec), and Nechalacho (Northwest Territories).
An Abundance of Heavy Rare Earths Elements (HREEs)
An important characteristic of the Jemi HREE Project is its heavy rare earth minerals signature, which includes a combination of dysprosium and terbium — among other rare earth elements.
Compared to the light rare earth minerals — such as what MP Materials is mining in the California desert — these heavies are some of the most critical to our defense sector and, henceforth, our national security.
In fact, dysprosium currently resides on the US Department of Defense’s strategic metals stockpile list. And with over 95% of this critical element coming from China — and with almost zero North American production — Monumental’s Jemi project could quickly be elevated as a critical North American future potential source.
Take a look at Jemi’s emerging HREE signature below, and then ask yourself the question: What happens to America’s critical defense infrastructure if China decides to shut down the entire HREE supply chain?
Dysprosium (Dy): A heavy rare earth element characterized by a bright silver-metallic appearance with advanced applications in the control rods for nuclear reactors, lasers, hard disks, and wind turbines.
According to the US Department of Energy, expected uses along with the absence of any immediately appropriate substitute make dysprosium the single most critical element for emerging clean energy technologies.
Terbium (Tb): Also a soft silvery metal, terbium has advanced applications in electronic consumer devices, x-ray technology, and high-efficiency lighting sources.
And similar to dysprosium, terbium is also a key element for applications such as magnets and nuclear reactors — among others.
Hence, the answer to the above question is clear: America must take immediate steps to mitigate its overreliance on China for its supply of rare earth elements —particularly the heavies such as dysprosium and terbium.
Strong Leadership Team
In the junior exploration sector, it’s all about the people running the show… and Monumental Minerals has put together a broadly-experienced team of mining professionals with a proven track record of success.
Founder & Director
Mr. Sali has been in the capital markets since 2009 and was a founding shareholder and corporate developer for Advantage Lithium, which was acquired by Orocobre for $66 million in 2020. Max is a director, founder, and former CEO of Defense Metals, a rare earth metals company with current operations in British Columbia. He is also the CEO, founder, and director of New Placer Dome Gold, a Nevada-focused gold exploration company.
CEO & Director
Mr. Macdonald is a successful entrepreneur and former director of Defense Metals. Todd has advised multiple public companies on business strategy across many sectors.
P.Geo. & Director
Mr. Raffle, B.Sc., P.Geo., serves as lead geologist and QP for Monumental Minerals. Kris is also a director of First Legacy Mining and a principal geologist with APEX Geoscience Ltd. Kris boasts over 18 years of North America-focused base and precious metals exploration experience.
Exclusive Interview with Monumental Minerals’ Lead Geologist — Kris Raffle
Our own Gerardo Del Real of Junior Resource Monthly sat down with Monumental’s Kris Raffle for an in-depth discussion on the company’s emerging position in the North American rare earths sector.
Inside, Gerardo and Kris delve into the company’s focus on heavy rare earths, the evolving mineral signature at Jemi, and next-steps in the exploration process.
Gerardo Del Real: This is Gerardo Del Real with Resource Stock Digest. Joining me today is director for Monumental Minerals — Mr. Kris Raffle. Kris, how are you?
Kris Raffle: I'm doing great. It's a sunny day in Vancouver — believe it or not!
Gerardo Del Real: I am happy for you… let's hope that continues! Listen, you are on the board of a few companies that I follow. And when I spoke to Max [Sali] about Monumental Minerals — and he said that he had a very prospective and advanced and permitted heavy rare earth project in Mexico — my eyes perked up a little bit because you don't see, or at least I haven't seen, very many of those.
And I want to get into the Jemi project. It's a heavy rare earth project in Coahuila, Mexico, which is near the Texas border. It's near me actually. And I want to get into the heavies and why it's important that the project is endowed in those.
But before we get into that, I would love for you to just give everyone a brief primer on your background and the experience you have in the sector.
Kris Raffle: Yes, in terms of rare earths, obviously, they're topical right now. There's no doubt that there's been upward moves in pricing on some of the rare earths due to electric vehicles and green technologies.
As a principal of mineral exploration consulting company, APEX Geoscience, we see a lot of lithium and uranium and rare earth projects coming through our door.
And certainly, you mentioned some of the other companies that I'm a director on; Defense Metals with their Wicheeda Project; we're in PEA studies right now looking to put out a PEA at some point. So that's a carbonatite deposit in northern British Columbia, and we've been working on that for about three years.
So this definitely leads Monumental into something a little bit different. We're looking at heavier rare earths in Mexico so, obviously, a bit of a different exploration area and different deposit-type as well.
Gerardo Del Real: Now, can you explain for the audience that may not be familiar with the difference between the light rare earths and the heavy rare earths… why it's significant that you're exploring for the heavies, right?
I mean, if you're familiar with the space — and I've been following rare earths for over 14 years — it's pretty simple and straightforward. But for someone that may be new to the critical metals story and specifically a rare earths story — can you tell people the difference?
Kris Raffle: Yeah, effectively, these rare earths — it really comes down to the deposits you're looking at — the light rare earths (the cerium, lanthanum, neodymium, praseodymium on the left end of the periodic table), those are typically associated with your carbonatite-type deposits, which is what the majority of commercial rare earths production is in the world, in China, and elsewhere.
As we move to the right on the periodic table, we get into the heavier rare earths: terbium, dysprosium, and so forth on downwards. The pricing profile starts to increase on a lot of those rare earths, and dysprosium and terbium in particular. Neodymium and praseodymium are highly sought after as well, basically, for electric vehicles and magnet-making for electric vehicles.
But what we see is that the concentrations of those heavier rare earths, they get lower, and, as a result, the ones that are highly sought after — the pricing is very attractive. It's quite a bit higher than things like neodymium, cerium, and lanthanum.
Gerardo Del Real: Terbium and dysprosium, specifically, are two of the heavy rare earth occurrences on the Jemi Project, correct?
Kris Raffle: Exactly. And we have a whole suite of the remaining heavies and some of the other associated elements; yttrium, niobium, zirconium. These really bear a signature of an alkaline-intrusion-related rare earth deposit.
So that's what really drew us to Jemi and, certainly, where we see the exploration potential. And that's why we acquired the project.
Gerardo Del Real: What comes next in terms of outlining the potential of the Jemi project?
Kris Raffle: It's definitely at an early stage. And I think the first thing is, definitely, we want to finalize the acquisition and get moving on this project and get down there and have a look at this.
One of the easiest and early-stage things that we can look at is airborne radiometric surveys. Those can be very successful at delineating areas of mineralization. It works very well at Wicheeda and for most outcropping rare earth deposits. So that's something we want to do right away to prioritize and really hone into certain areas.
And we've got a fairly large land package of this Laramide-age intrusion that's intruding these sedimentary rocks, and we just want to really key in on those areas. There's a couple of showings that we have right now so we have a really good idea of where it's prospective in terms of the geology and what we're looking after.
But certainly, with radiometrics — I think that's probably the way to go.
Gerardo Del Real: Excellent! Tight share structure; just under 23.1 million shares outstanding. I believe there's 460,000 broker warrants at C$0.20; 2 million stock options at C$0.38. And Discovery Silver, I believe, owns 9.9%. Is that accurate, Kris?
Kris Raffle: That's right. We're really happy to be working with Discovery Silver and having their support on this because they have a strong presence in Mexico. And certainly, getting up and running and working on this project is going to be assisted by their help.
Gerardo Del Real: Excellent! Kris, I'm looking forward to seeing this develop. I know it's a newer story. I'm very familiar with Coahuila State, Mexico, where the project is located. Tell me a bit about the infrastructure.
Kris Raffle: In terms of the project’s location, we're only about 30 miles just south of the Texas border in terms of access… so we can fly into Texas and be on the project in a day. It's in a fairly remote region but it is road accessible and, certainly, the terrain there is not unreasonable. So we can get in there and we can work year-round.
I think that's one of the great things. With Arctic or northern Canadian deposits, we have a very limited exploration season. But in Mexico, you can certainly work year-round… and we definitely want to take advantage of that.
Gerardo Del Real: Excellent. You described the asset as near-term, drill-ready. Is that something that you see happening here in Q1 of 2022 or maybe even sooner?
Kris Raffle: I think we can be drill-ready in 2022. I'm not so sure about Q1. But I think it really just depends on how things go here and just the timing of all the bits and pieces of the puzzle here.
But yeah, as I said, I think an airborne survey has a real potential to move this thing forward quite rapidly, and we can prioritize from there. But really, it's going to start with getting on the ground and looking at the extent of some of these alkaline rocks that seem to be the principal host of the heavy rare earths here.
Gerardo Del Real: Excellent! Kris, thank you for coming on to talk about this new, early-stage story to the rare earths space. I like the jurisdiction; I love the metal endowment.
I'm looking forward to seeing some of the exploration results as you develop Jemi.
Kris Raffle: Perfect! Thanks, Gerardo.
A Monumental Opportunity
Monumental Minerals (TSX-V: MNRL) is advancing the flagship, 100%-owned Jemi HREE Project in Coahuila State, Mexico, not far from the Texas border.
And the timing is absolutely critical!
Global demand for REEs — and in particular HREEs — is continuing to increase as a result of advancements in clean energy (including nuclear), consumer electronics, and state-of-the-art defense systems.
You heard directly from Monumental director and lead geologist Kris Raffle. He’s excited to move forward with airborne radiometric surveying at Jemi as a precursor to Phase-1 drilling.
That’s all coming together now.
From a macro-perspective, China’s hostile control of the global rare earths market is a direct threat to America’s national security… and the situation is becoming increasingly dire by the day.
China — which controls a staggering 85% of the world’s capacity to process rare earth ores into material manufacturers can use — recently hiked its annual rare earth output quotas by 20% year-on-year.
That’s the highest level on record… and it signals that an already tight supply of rare earth metals is only getting tighter.
As just one example, Myanmar, which supplies around HALF of China’s heavy rare earths feedstock, recently had its border shut down over COVID concerns. Taking into account the political instability of that particular region of the globe… it’s truly anyone’s guess as to how and when that situation is ultimately resolved.
In other words, you don’t need a crystal ball to foretell China’s hardline stance as it relates to rare earths exports: they’ll do whatever serves their best interests at any given time!
You may even recall the rare earths full-court-press China put on Japan back in 2010 during a diplomatic dust-up following the infamous Senkaku boat collision incident. That rogue action sent rare earth metals prices — as well as select small-cap US rare earths stocks — many multiples higher.
Turning to today… indicators point to history repeating itself again… which means now is an opportune time to be looking at North America-focused small-cap rare earths explorers such as Monumental Minerals.
A quick glance at global headlines confirms the obvious: More Chinese muscle-flexing is on the near-term horizon!
- In early-October 2021, China hastened its warning to the United States to cut all military ties with Taiwan while simultaneously sending a record 38 warplanes into the island’s sovereign airspace.
- That was quickly followed by a joint military exercise with Russia whereby a flotilla of 10 Chinese and Russian warships circled Japan's main island in what can only be described as a not-so subtle shot across the bow!
- President Xi then completed the personal trifecta with the late-October test-launch of a nuke-capable, hypersonic missile capable of reaching the US mainland without detection… not to mention the 300 or so suspected missile silos the regime is currently constructing under a cloak of secrecy.
With China-US diplomacy devolving towards the breaking point — and with the communist regime responsible for roughly 80% of our rare earth metals imports — the United States simply cannot rely on the current status quo.
These metals are far too important to our national security!
America must seize control of its own rare earth resources… and that’s what makes the present Monumental Minerals opportunity so… well, “monumental!”
You heard geologist Kris Raffle talk at-length about the Jemi HREE Project. He says an airborne radiometric survey is next, with Phase-1 drilling slated to follow shortly thereafter.
And as any junior resource speculator worth his or her salt knows… the largest percentage gains invariably occur during these early-stages as indicators of potentially viable mineralization are confirmed through various exploration methodologies.
Monumental Minerals is just now entering that crucial stage at its flagship, 100%-owned Jemi HREE Project. And having a drill-permitted property is yet another factor why this project could advance rather quickly.
Turning to the balance sheet, MNRL boasts an exceptionally tight share structure with approximately 23.1 million shares outstanding for a current market cap below C$20 million.
Also noteworthy, at an ownership stake of around 16%, management has significant skin-in-the-game, which, for speculators, shows that the company’s principals have just as much, or more, riding on the success of the Jemi project as do shareholders.
Now is the time to commence your own due diligence on Monumental Minerals — symbol MNRL on the Toronto Venture Exchange.
A great place to start is the company’s corporate website.
And be sure to follow our exclusive interviews with upper management and much more.
— Resource Stock Digest Research