Friday, May 27, 2016
Everyone looks forward to Memorial Day week-end. Three days away from the desk. Three days to catch up on unfinished projects. Three days of extra overtime. Any way you look at it, the week-end is a winner!
Economically Memorial Day 2016 could be a particular winner. The American Automobile Association (AAA) says that 38 million drivers will hit the road on this week-end that begins the summer vacation season. That is the highest level since 2005 and the second highest on record. Gas prices are lower than ever. AAA says the national average gas price is $2.319 for regular gas going into the weekend. The average was $2.739 a year ago.
Travel plans for the week-end tell us something about the mindset of the American people. Apparently, a good number of us think it is time to party. So much for the angry unemployed who have spent the spring months flocking to rallies for extremist politicians. This weekend they will be on the road to grandma’s house and points beyond.
As we are driving along, lets also fulfill the purpose of Memorial Day - to remember the sacrifice of our soldiers and sailors who made the ultimate sacrifice to keep Americans on the road.
Tuesday, May 24, 2016
Niobium is the most recent ‘shiny, grey metal’ to catch the attention of investors. Steel laced with niobium forms a lighter, stronger alloy that can make more fuel-efficient cars and airplanes. Teamed up with other metals such as titanium and tin, niobium alloys make excellent anti-corrosive superconductors. The list of new applications goes on, suggesting growing demand for this obscure element. Unlike the rare earths, which are everywhere, niobium is truly rare. The last two posts “Niobium By Any Other Name” and “Niobium Down Under”, mentioned the small club of three companies in Brazil and Canada currently producing niobium. A fourth aspirant, Niocorp Development, is developing a new niobium resource in Nebraska.
There are others that have awakened to the potential in niobium and are racing to bring supply to the market. The question is whether there is enough demand to support planned production at prices that will deliver a profit.
Friday, May 20, 2016
The post “Niobium: Grey By Any Other Name” introduced yet another shiny, grey metal and an aspiring new producer in the U.S., NioCorp Developments Ltd. (NB: CVE or NIOBF: OTC/PK). With applications for niobium expanding, especially for aerospace and defense, and no domestic niobium supply currently available, NioCorp sees an opportunity. The company is trying to develop a new resource in Nebraska and hopes to grab a significant piece of the $500 million annual market for niobium. NIOBF could provide investors with an interesting pure play on this key element for metal alloys.
True enough there are niobium producers already in production. CBMM and AngloAmerican Plc (AAL: London or NGLOY: OTC/PK) operate resources in Brazil, making them the two largest suppliers of niobium. The third major producer is the Magris Resources’ Niobec subsidiary in Canada. CBMM and Magris are privately held. AngloAmerican is a large, diversified mining company with a stock value driven primarily by its fortunes in iron ore, coal and copper. Alkane Resources (ALK: ASX or ANLKY: OTC/QX) is yet another option.
Tuesday, May 17, 2016
Investors need to expand their vocabulary with a new word - niobium. Previously called columbium, it is a soft, grey metal that looks suspiciously like a string of other metals on the periodic table. It looks particularly like a ‘soft, grey metal’ called tantalum, which is how it got its name. Niobe is the daughter of the character in Greek mythology, Tantalus. Niobium was recently featured in a report by a popular financial network and companies with niobium interests are finding welcome at investment conferences.
Why has this little known element got the attention of the financial press and investment bankers? We look here at applications for niobium and the companies bringing it to market.