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Ian Jenkins

Ian Jenkins

Writer for Oilprice.com 

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China's Secret Weapon In The Looming Tech War

The next quantum leap in technology is 5G, and America’s lack of one critical metal threatens its supremacy. 

New 5G cellular wireless technology will transfer data and the correct time faster than anything we’ve seen before. And if you didn’t think that the keeping of accurate time was that important a goal for global superpowers - think again. 

5G will not just revolutionize our connectivity and crown the next superpower, but it will forever change time, with Coordinated Universal Time (UTC) being overtaken by something eerily accurate.

Cesium is the critical element in all of this, and it means the difference between real-time responsiveness and 5G failure. 

Time Is Money

5G isn’t simply a step up from 4G technology. We’re not talking about something in line with the release of the next version of the iPhone. This is a major leap forward. It’s quantum in nature.

This new technology spells world tech domination for a reason: It’s not just about your Apple Watch connection. It’s about continuous, real-time connection for every device on the planet. That also means every digital healthcare device under the sun, from surgical bandages to pacemakers. It will revolutionize healthcare, and just about everything else. 

Right now, the time that elapses between a device asking for and receiving information is about 50 microseconds. 5G turns that into one microsecond or less. It’s instant feedback.

But it will also generate trillions of dollars in new products along the way. 

That’s a lot of pressure riding on cesium, which was only added to the United States’ critical minerals list in 2018

Cesium is “the most electropositive of all stable elements in the periodic table”, and the heaviest of the stable metals. Cesium is “extremely pyrophoric, ignites spontaneously when in contact with air, and explodes violently in water or ice at any temperature above -116 ° C”, according to the German Institute for Strategic Metals (ISE).

It’s critical not only to 5G, but to the healthcare industry, which uses cesium compounds in medical imaging, cancer therapy, positron emission tomography (PET), and in catalyst promoters, glass amplifiers, photoelectric cell components, crystals in scintillation counters and getters in vacuum tubes. It’s also vital to the oil and gas industry, which uses cesium formate brines in drilling fluids to prevent blow-outs in high-temperature, over-pressurized wells. 

The “cesium standard” is also the key to time: It’s the standard by which the accurate commercially available atomic clocks measure time, and it’s vital for the data transmission infrastructure of mobile networks, GPS and the internet. 

But the bulk of new critical metals supply will be in risky investment venues, and what’s already out there is controlled by China.  

Worldwide, only three known pegmatite mines can produce cesium: Manitoba’s Tanco mine, Zimbabwe’s Bitika mine and Australia’s Sinclair mine. China controls them all, beyond its own borders. Tanco and Bitiki are no longer producing, but Sinomine Resources Group controls all their cesium ore stockpiles. 

Other companies shaking up China’s rare-earth dominance:

Teck Resources (NYSE:TECK, TSX:TECK)

Teck could be one of the best-diversified miners out there, with a broad portfolio of Copper, Zinc, Energy,  Gold, Silver and Molybdenum assets.

Despite its struggles, Teck Resources recently received a favorable investment rating from Fitch and Moody’s, and will likely benefit from its upgraded score. “Having investment grade ratings is very important to us and confirms the strong financial position of the company,” said Don Lindsay, President and CEO. “We are very pleased to receive this second credit rating upgrade.”

Turquoise Hill Resources (NYSE:TRQ ,TSX:TRQ)

Turqouise is a mid-cap Canadian mineral exploration and development company headquartered in Vancouver, British Columbia. Its focus is on the Pacific Rim where it is in the process of developing several large mines.

The company mines a diversified set of metals/minerals including Coal, Gold, Copper, Molybdenum, Silver, Rhenium, Uranium, Lead and Zinc. One of the fortes of Turquoise hill is its good relationship with mining giant Rio Tinto.

Turquoise has seen its share price languish last year, and the successful development of its world-class Oyu Tolgoi project in Mongolia is of utmost important to the future of this miner.

Pretium Resources (NYSE:PVG, TSX:PVG)

This impressive Canadian company is engaged in the acquisition, exploration and development of precious metal resource properties in the Americas. Pretium has an impressive portfolio and if you can catch the stock while the price is right, there could be huge opportunity for upside. Additionally, construction and engineering activities at its top location continue to advance, and commercial production is targeted for this year.

With Pretium’s variety of assets, this mining giant is a key figure in Canada’s resource realm. Investors know a good thing when they see it and have definitely taken note of this company’s ambitious and forward-looking drive.

Magna International (NYSE:MGA, TSX:MG)

Based in Aurora, Ontario, Magna is a global automotive supplier is gutsy and innovative--and definitely tuned to the obvious future--clean transportation. A great catalyst is its development of a combo electric/hydrogen vehicle--a fuel cell range-extended EV (FCREEV). It’s not going to produce them (for now, at least) but plans to use the model to show off its engineering and design prowess and produce elements of the electric drivetrain and contract manufacturing. It’s insightful, forward-thinking and smart value/low cost for shareholders.

Agnico Eagle Mines Ltd (NYSE:AEM, TSX:AEM)

Canadian based gold producer, Agnico Eagle Mines is an especially noteworthy company for investors. Why? Between 1991-2010, the company paid out dividends every year. With operations in Quebec, Mexico, and Finland, the company also is taking place in exploration activities in Europe, Latin America, and the United States.

While Agnico primarily focuses on gold, it made this list because gold is and always be a metal that is critical in both geopolitics and finance.

By. Ian Jenkins


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Leave a comment
  • First Ame on April 16 2020 said:
    Even bigger reserves, comparable to Canada, has Romania - but they lead you, they won't sell them to you. If you want them, confiscate their money, send them all home (no further income) and then ask them: you want to eat today? It will cost you one ton of cesium.

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