Why One Rare Earth Metal’s Recent Rise to Stardom could Trigger America’s Next Boom…
As Brazil welcomes the world for the upcoming FIFA World Cup and the Summer Olympics…that country’s richest family may have just helped solve the Big Bang Theory.
You see, after last summer’s historic discovery of what’s believed to be the Higgs boson – the subatomic particle which gives mass to the basic building blocks of matter – physicists are ever closer to finding out how the universe was created.
The landmark breakthrough was achieved thanks to a $10 billion machine whose sole task is to smash protons…trillions of them.
Yet the Large Hadron Collider used to seek out the Higgs boson is proving to be just as fascinating to learn about as the boson itself.
That’s because a certain rare earth metal was required to build it.
This strong, versatile element is used to fortify steel and is now found in 10 percent of all new steel produced globally.
In powdered form, the metal is also used to make camera lenses and pacemakers.
The US Government has declared it a “strategic metal” for their aerospace and defense technologies, meaning there are no substitutes for its vital use.
Unfortunately, the US must import 100% of it for its needs.
Brazil’s Salles family just so happens to control 85% of the world’s supply.
Without this metal, we may never know how our world came to be.
And of course, without the growing demand for this REE, the Salles family fortune likely would not be worth some $27 billion.
The element in question is niobium.
It was merely a half century ago that US Navy Admiral Arthur W. Radford went on a hunch that niobium will become a lucrative ingredient for the steel industry.
At the time, there was no market or commercial uses for it – niobium was little more than an atomic element that sat between Zirconium and Molybdenum on the periodic table.
Radford happened to be on the board of directors for metal miner Molycorp Inc. when the company acquired the rights to a little-known niobium deposit in Brazil.
He managed to convince Walther Moreira Salles, a Brazilian banker and former ambassador to the US, to help get the operation off the ground…and the hunch paid off.
Today, the privately-held Cia. Brasileira de Metalurgia & Mineracao (CBMM) which runs the Salles’ niobium business, rakes in more than $600 million in profits annually.
Yet even fifty years after the world first learned of niobium’s commercial value, only a handful of countries are producing the stuff.
After Brazil’s two major mines, a smaller yet significant portion of the market is supplied by a mine in Quebec, Canada.
Collectively, these three mines dominate nearly 99 percent of the niobium market.
However, one tiny American town with a population of less than 100 people could soon flip the entire industry on its head.
Welcome to Niobium City, USA!
Despite being in the middle of nowhere, Elk Creek, Nebraska is sitting on what could be the largest niobium deposit in the world.
And right now, only one junior company is developing it: NioCorp Developments Ltd. (TSX.V:NB).
You may know NioCorp by its former name, Quantum Rare Earth Developments Corp.
A 2012 resource estimate at Elk Creek by NioCorp reported an indicated resource of 19.3 million tons and an inferred resource of 83.3 million tons.
In contrast, the USGS estimated Brazil as having reserves of just 4.5 million tons.
While there is no production at Elk Creek just yet, the flurry of drilling programs over the past few years have already generated a great deal of economic benefits for this small community.
From land leases for exploration to accommodations for migrant workers, NioCorp has already done its fair share to awaken the sleepy town.
But that’s likely only the beginning of a massive prosperity boom, and here’s why…
Along with NioCorp’s recent name change, the Company also bolstered its status at the Board level, further indicating its commitment to advancing this critical project.
Major additions included: former Molycorp CEO Mark Smith, former Nebraska Senator Tony Fulton, and former executive of the Niobium arm of Canadian miner Iamgold, Claude Dufresne.
By all accounts, these individuals are heavy hitters in the industry.
According to NioCorp President and CEO Peter Dickie, “We believe the new additions are all indicative of the confidence in our Niobium project.”
What’s even more exciting is that the Company is currently trading at just $0.13.
With a feasibility study on the horizon, NioCorp could easily be a financial boon for more than just the residents of Elk Creek.
Like I said before, the US relies completely on imported niobium to manufacture a number of its domestic goods.
In other words, we are at the mercy of any price volatility and have little choice but to pay accordingly.
The development of a domestic niobium supply source is therefore a top priority, especially with key consumers like the Department of Defense and the auto sector having increasing uses for the metal.
As America’s only potential site for niobium production, Elk Creek no doubt holds the key to our country’s rare earth future.
Although NioCorp isn’t on my list of official recommendations, I do believe it is a Company that can offer unimaginable upside for investors.
This is definitely one big bang that you don’t want to miss.
Yours in profits,
for Top Stock Millionaire