Monday, March 12, 2012

Molycorp Deal For Neo Material Technologies Moves REE To Vertical Integration

Molycorp has been consistently ahead of the game in rare earth metal production.  They were first to see the potential in reactivation of the old Mountain Pass rare earth motherlode.  Now they're the first REE producer to move toward large-scale vertical integration.  Molycorp's $1.3B offer for Neo Material Technologies will give the combined company end-to-end control of an entire REE value chain, from ore to finished products (specifically magnets).

Molycorp made a bold move last year with a $35M investment in Boulder Wind Power.  This investment sustains a wind turbine technology that is not dependent on dysprosium and is strategically complementary for Molycorp given that company's seeming lack of dysprosium among its deposits.  I've seen other media reports that describe Boulder Wind's technology as "non-ferrous," which is curious given Molycorp's move toward neodymium-iron-boron (NdFeB) magnet combinations.

It's worth noting that Great Western Minerals Group has had a well-integrated business model for many years.  Molycorp's model is large in scale and is notable for having something that has eluded Great Western for some time:  profitability.

Full disclosure:  No positions in any companies mentioned.