Best of the Week
Most Popular
1. US Housing Market House Prices Bull Market Trend Current State - Nadeem_Walayat
2.Gold and Silver End of Week Technical, CoT and Fundamental Status - Gary_Tanashian
3.Stock Market Dow Trend Forecast - April Update - Nadeem_Walayat
4.When Will the Stock Market’s Rally Stop? - Troy_Bombardia
5.Russia and China Intend to Drain the West of Its Gold - MoneyMetals
6.BAIDU (BIDU) - Top 10 Artificial Intelligence Stocks Investing To Profit from AI Mega-trend - Nadeem_Walayat
7.Stop Feeding the Chinese Empire - ‘Belt and Road’ Trojan Horse - Richard_Mills
8.Stock Market US China Trade War Panic! Trend Forecast May 2019 Update - Nadeem_Walayat
9.US China Trade Impasse Threatens US Lithium, Rare Earth Imports - Richard_Mills
10.How to Invest in AI Stocks to Profit from the Machine Intelligence Mega-trend - Nadeem_Walayat
Last 7 days
IBM - Investing in AI Machine Intelligence Stocks - 25th May 19
Seasonal Dysfunction: Why Generations of Gold and Silver Investors Are Having Such Difficulty - 25th May 19
Employment - The Good and the Bad of Job Automation - 25th May 19
Gold Mining Mid-Tier Stocks Fundamentals - 25th May 19
Buy This Pick-and-Shovel 5G Stock Before It Takes Off - 25th May 19
China Hang Seng Stocks Index Collapses and Commodities - 24th May 19
Costco Corp. (COST): Finding Opportunity in Five Minutes or Less - 24th May 19
How Free Bets Have Impacted the Online Casino Industry - 24th May 19
This Ultimate Formula Will Help You Avoid Dividend Cutting Stocks - 24th May 19
Benefits of a Lottery Online Account - 24th May 19
Technical Analyst: Gold Price Weakness Should Be Short Term - 24th May 19
Silver Price Looking Weaker than Gold - 24th May 19
Nigel Farage's Brexit Party EU Elections Seats Results Forecast - 24th May 19
Powerful Signal from Gold GDX - 24th May 19
Eye Opening Currency Charts – Why Precious Metals Are Falling - 23rd May 19
Netflix Has 175 Days Left to Pull Off a Miracle… or It’s All Over - 23rd May 19
Capitalism Works, Ravenous Capitalism Doesn’t - 23rd May 19
The Euro Is Bidding Its Time: A Reversal at Hand? - 23rd May 19
Gold Demand Rose 7% in Q1 2019. A Launching Pad Higher for Gold? - 23rd May 19
Global Economic Tensions Translate Into Oil Price Volatility - 22nd May 19
The Coming Pension Crisis Is So Big That It’s a Problem for Everyone - 22nd May 19
Crude Oil, Hot Stocks, and Currencies – Markets III - 22nd May 19
The No.1 Energy Stock for 2019 - 22nd May 19
Brexit Party and Lib-Dems Pull Further Away from Labour and Tories in Latest Opinion Polls - 22nd May 19
The Deep State vs Donald Trump - US vs Them Part 2 - 21st May 19
Deep State & Financial Powers Worry about Alternative Currencies - 21st May 19
Gold’s Exciting Boredom - 21st May 19
Trade War Fears Again, Will Stocks Resume the Downtrend? - 21st May 19
Buffett Mistake Costs Him $4.3 Billion This Year—Here’s What Every Investor Can Learn from It - 21st May 19
Dow Stock Market Trend Forecast 2019 May Update - Video - 20th May 19
A Brief History of Financial Entropy - 20th May 19
Gold, MMT, Fiat Money Inflation In France - 20th May 19
WAR - Us versus Them Narrative - 20th May 19
US - Iran War Safe-haven Reasons to Own Gold - 20th May 19
How long does Google have to reference a website? - 20th May 19
Tory Leadership Contest - Will Michael Gove Stab Boris Johnson in the Back Again? - 19th May 19
Stock Market Counter-trend Rally - 19th May 19
Will Stock Market “Sell in May, Go Away” Lead to a Correction… or a Crash? - 19th May 19
US vs. Global Stocks Sector Rotation – What Next? Part 1 - 19th May 19
BrExit Party EarthQuake Could Win it 150 MP's at Next UK General Election! - 18th May 19
Dow Stock Market Trend Forecast 2019 May Update - 18th May 19
US Economy to Die a Traditional Death… Inflation Is Going to Move Higher - 18th May 19
Trump’s Trade War Is Good for These 3 Dividend Stocks - 18th May 19
GDX Gold Mining Stocks Fundamentals Update - 17th May 19
Stock Markets Rally Hard – Is The Volatility Move Over? - 17th May 19
The Use of Technical Analysis for Forex Traders - 17th May 19
Brexit Party Set to Storm EU Parliament Elections - Seats Forecast - 17th May 19
Is the Trade War a Catalyst for Gold? - 17th May 19
This Is a Recession Indicator No One Is Talking About—and It’s Flashing Red - 17th May 19
War! Good or Bad for Stocks? - 17th May 19
How Many Seats Will Brexit Party Win - EU Parliament Elections Forecast 2019 - 16th May 19

Market Oracle FREE Newsletter

U.S. House Prices Analysis and Trend Forecast 2019 to 2021

Betting on Beryllium for the New Nuclear Fuel Technology

Commodities / Energy Resources Nov 20, 2009 - 01:30 AM GMT

By: The_Energy_Report

Commodities

Best Financial Markets Analysis ArticleJames Passin, co-founder and manager of Firebird Global Fund and Firebird Global Fund II, in this wide-ranging, exclusive interview with The Energy Report, discusses beryllium and its energy, military and industrial applications, as well as a burgeoning beryllium-uranium mix oxide fuel technology with the "potential to revolutionize nuclear power by creating a safer and more efficient fuel." Admittedly pro-uranium, Passin mentions two uranium miners he likes, and some exciting developments in copper in Mongolia.


The Energy Report: James, last December, you commented on the low interest rates that the government had on bonds. You said you thought that would spur inflation and an increase in commodity prices. Now that we're in the last quarter of '09, how do you feel about your predictions and what do you see going forward into 2010?

James Passin: It was clear to me at the end of 2008 that we were at the beginning of a powerful and lasting recovery in commodity prices and resource stocks. I think that the structural fundamentals are in place to support further increases generally in commodity prices.

TER: This year we saw, basically, all positions and all sectors increase. What would cause just an increase in the commodity pricing going forward vs. all the other sectors?

JP: We have had a rally in all assets, but hard assets also are benefiting in particular from extraordinary loose monetary conditions. Surplus liquidity is flowing into commodity products like exchange-traded funds (ETFs) that are buying commodity futures and physical commodities, creating a feedback loop, which is driving up the price of resources. But what we thought is that this would be a great year for resource stocks based on our view that capital markets would start to reopen. Resource companies tend to be capital-hungry. So as the cost of capital comes down and as capital becomes available, resource stocks tend to outperform resource prices. At the same time, last year there was a dramatic reduction in issuance of stock by resource companies. This has resulted in a highly bullish environment for resource stocks. But we are concerned about the recent changes in the nature of market sentiment.

TER: You say you note a changing tone, generally. What's changing?

JP: It's interesting to ask how long these extraordinary loose monetary conditions will continue to exist. At what point will the Fed take the view that the financial system and the economy can withstand tighter monetary conditions? Perhaps it seems unlikely with unemployment at 10%. It is also clearly in everyone's interest to allow asset bubbles to develop to enable banks to rebuild their equity through generating profits. But any significant tightening of monetary conditions could undermine the commodity markets in the short-term. There is also a dangerous structural element to the market represented by the ETFs.

TER: What other commodities or resource areas are you following?

JP: We're very interested in strategic metals and minerals, which would include not only rare earth metals, but other metals and minerals that have critical applications in the energy, military, and industrial sectors.

TER: Can you highlight some of those just for our readers?

JP: We've been trading some of the rare earth metal stocks; for example, Avalon Rare Metals (TSX:AVL) and some of the other rare earth metal plays. It's a space we've been following for the last five years. There's been renewed investor interest in rare earth metals, but several commodities with similar fundamentals have been completely ignored by investors.

TER: What are those and why haven't they received the attention? Is the market place too small for it? Are they just not well known enough?

JP: Oddly, there has been tremendous interest towards very small markets, so I do not believe that size is the issue. We anticipate that investor interest will continue to move across the periodic table. One of our key areas of interest is beryllium. Beryllium is needed in certain parts inside nuclear reactors. It's also used in various industrial and military applications.

There's a company called IBC Advanced Alloys Corp. (TSXV:IB) that is emerging as a leader in beryllium. Firebird and Vangold Resources Ltd. (VAN:TSX.V) founded the predecessor company. One of IBC's initiatives is its joint venture with Purdue University. IBC and Purdue are developing beryllium-uranium mix oxide fuel technology, which has a potential to revolutionize nuclear power by creating a safer and more efficient fuel.

Mixed oxide fuel has the potential to solve the two major issues of nuclear fuel, one of which is the tendency of nuclear fuel rods to crack before all of the energy is extracted. The other issue addressed by beryllium is improving safety by eliminating the theoretical risk of overheating. By reducing wasted fuel, IBC could offer nuclear utilities the means of saving billions of dollars on a cumulative basis.

TER: Is there a government regulatory process that this new fuel would need to go through?

JP: Absolutely. In the United States it's governed by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. IBC is providing the funding required to move the approval process forward. It's going to take several years to test it in a test reactor and to get the licensing and permitting. I don't anticipate that this is going to be a commercial product before four to five years.

TER: I'm going to switch over to uranium here. In the past you've been very pro- uranium. Uranium seems been put on the back burner. What's your feeling about uranium now?

JP: I'm pro uranium in the sense that I believe in its merits economically and politically and we do have some investments in uranium exploration in mining companies. But it is important to acknowledge that the uranium bubble is dead. With that said, there are some interesting companies.

TER: Are there any you can share with us?

JP: I'll mention two. Mega Uranium Ltd. (TSX:MGA) and UEX Corp. (TSX:UEX ). Cameco Corp. (TSX:CCO) owns 21% of the shares of UEX and UEX is partnered with AREVA (ARVCF:OTO), the French nuclear giant, which is the world's second largest uranium producer, on its Shea Creek uranium exploration property. Shea Creek has produced spectacular high grade intersections over startling widths. My view is that UEX will most likely be taken over either by Cameco or by another nuclear industry participant.

I think that Mega Uranium looks interesting right now. The company just did a financing, which has depressed the stock. Mega's strategic partnership with Japan Australia Uranium Resources Development Co. Ltd. and ITOCHU, the Japanese syndicate, is a very promising development for the company.

TER: Any other regional international plays that you can discuss with us?

JP: Ivanhoe Mines Ltd. (NYSE:IVN, TSX:IVN) , the Canadian exploration company, finally executed an agreement with the Mongolian government with respect to the development of Oyu Tolgoi, the world's largest undeveloped copper mine. This is a massive mine that will generate $5 billion of revenue per year for over 50 years. While this is a positive development of Ivanhoe, a stock that we've been trading from the long side all year, it will be much bigger story for the Mongolian stock market.

Mongolia GDP is only about $5 billion, so Oyu Tolgoi, or OT as the mine is called, will transform the prospects for employment and per capita GDP growth. A great wall of domestic liquidity will support the local stock market, creating a new bull market which will last for decades. The local stock market currently has depressed valuation and almost zero liquidity. Mongolia has structural similarities to other emerging markets that started out with very low market capitalizations, such Vietnam or the smaller Gulf states. There are 24 mineral projects that have been deemed strategic by the Mongolian government and that represent potential sources of commodity exports. The Ivanhoe deal marks the beginning of the Mongolian mining boom and I think the most leveraged long-term way to play this mining boom is through the local stock market.

TER: How does an individual investor play the boom through the Mongolian stock market?

JP: There are no restrictions on foreign ownership of stock and the currency is freely exchangeable. It's easy to open up a fund brokerage account. The hard part is finding shares to buy because the market is very thinly traded. It's possible to get a small amount of stock from time to time, although the entire market capitalization is only $500 million and the free float is much smaller. I think that it's certainly worth taking time to do a little bit of research and look at some of the larger stocks that are listed on the Mongolian stock exchange.

TER: You mentioned there are 24 mineral projects and the big one is Ivanhoe with copper. With the recession worldwide, would we expect to see any return from anything in Mongolia for the next five years?

JP: The copper prices had a massive recovery. OT would be profitable at current copper prices. And Mongolia has other commodities, including coal, uranium, and iron ore.

TER: Thanks James. Interesting to talk with you, as always.

Want to read more exclusive Energy Report interviews like this? Sign up for our free e-newsletter, and you'll learn when new articles have been published. To see a list of recent interviews with industry analysts and commentators, visit our Expert Insights page.

The ENERGY Report is Copyright © 2009 by Streetwise Inc. All rights are reserved. Streetwise Inc. hereby grants an unrestricted license to use or disseminate this copyrighted material only in whole (and always including this disclaimer), but never in part. The ENERGY Report does not render investment advice and does not endorse or recommend the business, products, services or securities of any company mentioned in this report. From time to time, Streetwise Inc. directors, officers, employees or members of their families, as well as persons interviewed for articles on the site, may have a long or short position in securities mentioned and may make purchases and/or sales of those securities in the open market or otherwise.


© 2005-2019 http://www.MarketOracle.co.uk - The Market Oracle is a FREE Daily Financial Markets Analysis & Forecasting online publication.


Post Comment

Only logged in users are allowed to post comments. Register/ Log in

6 Critical Money Making Rules