Last Friday I was lucky enough to be invited to attend the opening of Northern Minerals’ (ASX: NTU) Pilot Plant. It was wonderful to be over there and witness the sheer scale of the operation and to see the fruits of labour of all the people of the people involved.
We were joined by local and federal politicians, as well as an American diplomat. One of the reporters who I was standing next to commented it was the only time they have ever seen an American diplomat attend the opening of an Australian mine or a plant.
We all know about the electric vehicle (EV) revolution. Many of us, like myself, are big believers that it is going to completely disrupt the combustion engine with minerals like Dysprosium presenting a significant opportunity to gain exposure to the clean energy movement.
Just this week, Japan became the latest country to commit to the abolishment of combustion engines with only electrified vehicles to be sold domestically by 2050.
They join other developed nations Germany, Ireland, Israel, India, and the Netherlands which have already initiated plans to ban the sale of new gasoline and diesel-powered passenger vehicles by 2030.
The U.K., France, Taiwan, and the U.S. state of California intend to do so by 2040.
Part of the ‘rare earth’ group of metals, Dysprosium is a core ingredient in the magnets used in motors to power electric vehicles. Dysprosium triples the operating temperature of the magnets, increasing the efficiency and reliability of the EV motors.
Considering 99% of the world’s Dysprosium is produced in China, the opening of the Pilot Plant has propelled Northern Minerals into the global spotlight. Trade partners are keen to secure supply from anywhere but China and Northern Minerals now have the only producing mine in the world that meets the criteria.
The American diplomat’s attendance at the opening certainly turned heads amidst the potential of a trade war between the U.S. and China. Especially considering the importance of dysprosium to electric vehicles, military machinery, wind turbines and the like. One could understand why this would be an area the Americans would be interested in locking down supply when Malcolm Turnbull and President Trump have met previously to discuss rare earths.
Quite simply, demand for Dysprosium should increase as EV adoption rises. One way investors can capitalise on this is to look at companies in this space that have the best team and the best infrastructure.
Northern Minerals is certainly that.
What they have achieved in a relatively short period of time is absolutely incredible. And it is a testament to the leadership of the Company from Managing Director, George Bauk.
Great Australian companies are built by innovators and people that are prepared to go out there to unknown terrain, take risks, pull things together and have the fortitude to see things though.