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Press Releases

20 Reasons to Own Silver

In this day and age most people hand over their investment decisions to a financial advisor or pick a few mutual funds to put in their IRA or 401K with a click of a mouse. Then there are some of us who have great distrust for the financial markets and for the people pulling the strings behind the scenes. An even smaller amount of us have zero investments in the stock market. Some of you have real estate, farms, collections, small businesses and quite possibly like myself precious metals.  For me and my family we have put our future into, Poor man´s Gold, The Devils Metal, The White Metal or better known as Silver.

  1. Silver is significantly cheaper than gold. Almost everyone in the world can afford it.
  2. The historical Silver to Gold ratio is 16-1 today as I write this the ratio is 56-1.  If we took the traditional 16-1 ratio silver should be priced around $100.
  3. Silver is being used up while Gold is being hoarded. In the 1950´s there was over 10 billion ounces of silver available worldwide. Today we have around 1 billion ounces of silver available.

This should set the alarms off within any investors mind.

  1. The silver market is miniscule compared to other markets. The total silver market is worth around $28 Billion. A few big investments by institutional investors can play havoc in the market.
  2. The solar industry is requiring more silver. According to the VM Group Silver Survey, the use of silver in the solar industry will increase by 17.5% annually. To as much as 70 million ounces per year by 2020 and another 60 million ounces to be used in solar power concentrator power plants. That is over 15% of the current total silver mined annually.
  3. Hospitals are realizing that the biocide and antimicrobial uses of silver are invaluable in the battle against antibiotic resistant bacteria like, MRSA (methicillin resistant staphylococcus aureus), which have been plaguing hospitals worldwide. Silver nano-particles are making their way into medical clothing, instruments, furniture and equipment.
  4. The use of silver in electronics has more than doubled in the last ten years.
  5. The mines cannot keep up with demand. In 2011 the worldwide production of silver came to 761 million ounces. The total silver used was 876 million ounces. Scrap silver supplied 256 million ounces of silver to the market to make up the short fall. With the use of silver in film rapidly declining, less will be available from scrap. Numbers are from, The Silver Institute website.
  6. If there is a worldwide economic slowdown the miners will be bringing less silver to market. Silver as well as many other rare strategic metals is mined as a by-product of minor metals like copper and zinc. Due to this relationship the miners will not be bringing as much silver to market because they will be mining less minor metals.
  7. The silver price manipulation as exposed by GATA. I believe the days are numbered for this scheme.  To find out more about this please visit GATA.
  8. The government stockpiles are all but gone.
  9. When governments start to take freedoms away from their citizens the people will naturally be attracted to hard assets like silver.
  10. Worldwide mistrust in fiat currencies. Countries can´t devalue their currencies fast enough. It is a race to the bottom. Recently countries like Brazil said that they will devalue their currency in order to keep their exports competitive.
  11. The days of the US Dollars reserve currency status are numbered. China has 16 currency swap agreements with other nations bypassing the US Dollar and counting. Iran and India have decided to trade oil for gold bypassing the Petrodollar. The BRIC´s have had multiple meetings concerning trade and currencies.
  12. The Euro crisis, nobody knows what will be the end result. Uncertainty leads people to safe havens like gold and silver.
  13. There will be a flight to physical metal when investors find out that there is little or no metal backing their ETF´s. Sprott Asset Management has an ETF backed by fully allocated silver, PSLV.
  14. The PAGE (Pan Asian Gold Exchange) will offer 320 million customers of the Agricultural Bank of China the ability to buy silver and gold. This could be a significant market in the years to come.
  15. The demand from India and the Middle East continues to grow. Recently there was a precious metals conference in Dubai and silver was the star of the show.
  16. Silver is less prone to fakes than gold because of its lower value. There are plenty of fake older coins on the market so buyer beware. Stick to known mints and government issued bullion.
  17. Above all silver will always have value and will never go to zero.

 Where will you be putting your hard earned currency in 2012? Soon we have an election in the USA that will have major ramifications for your assets. Many Americans are rather nervous about the path the current administration has taken in regards to personal assets. Also with the future of the Eurozone in peril, how will this affect precious metals? Keep in mind offshore diversification to help protect your future. Silver is an option that can provide peace of mind to the average investor. Will you be buying any silver?

By: Randy Hilarski - The Rare Metals Guy

Why Rare Strategic Metals for Asset Protection?

Over the last few years there has been a flurry of news reports discussing how important the rare earth metals are to the world economy and technology of today. We have heard how China controls over 95% of the production of the rare earth metals. The rare strategic metals are a group of metals also vital to the world economy that do not make it to the headlines because they are a much smaller market and most are not traded on the LME, (London Metals Exchange). This market is quietly gaining attention among private investors.

Similar to the rare earth metals, rare strategic metals are 95% or more controlled by China. In the 1990´s China made the decision to focus on the metals, and quickly put many mines out of business throughout the world. In 1992 Deng Xiaoping, President of China said, ¨The Middle East has its oil, China has rare earth metals¨. In 2010-2011 China restricted exports of these rare strategic metals by 70%. The Chinese have decided that they no longer need to export the metals. The demand for rare strategic metals within China´s borders are enough to use up 100% of all metals produced. China can now tell companies to produce their high tech products in China with low priced local metals or risk being cut off from metals by producing their products in other countries.

The rare strategic metals are a very inelastic group of metals. These metals are mined primarily as a bi-product of other metals like copper and zinc. This makes it very difficult to increase the amount of metals mined. It is not profitable for mining companies to open mines for the sole purpose of mining these relatively low profit metals as far as mining is concerned.

Demand for these metals is growing exponentially. Smart phone sales, solar power, LCD screens, national defense, Apple iPads, aviation, hybrid vehicles and nuclear energy are all using these metals. National Geographic calls these elements, ¨The Secret Ingredient of almost Everything¨.

The convergence of growing demand and restriction of exports out of China has produced an opportunity of grand proportions for people who see the future use of technology and alternative energy growing. One company out of Germany stepped up and saw the trend. Schweizerische Mettallhandels and its partner for the America´s Swiss Metal Assets saw an opportunity to assist forward thinking clients in setting aside some of these rare strategic metals in their own portfolios.

Swiss Metal Assets has designed the product around small portions of the metals so that most clients can afford to enter the rare strategic metal market. Previously only large companies or institutional investors could afford entry in to this little known market. The metals are put in, ¨Baskets¨, of metals used in certain industries. Swiss Metal Assets purchases the metals from Haines and Maassen a metals trader who has been in business since 1948 supplying German companies with metals.

  1. The Key Industries Basket contains 6 metals
  2. The Solar and Energy Basket contains 3 metals
  3. The Construction and Engineering Basket contains 6 metals
  4. The Defense Basket contains 5 metals
  5. Gold
  6. Silver

The process of storing these rare strategic metals for your portfolio is relatively simple.

  1. Buyer chooses what baskets of metals to purchase.
  2. Basket is filled by, Haines and Maassen in Germany.
  3. Baskets are transported to Switzerland to be added to the vault in the tax free zone.
  4. Buyer decides to sell.
  5. Baskets are liquidated through Haines and Maassen free of Swiss taxes.
  6. Funds are transferred into preferred currency/bank of the seller.

This product was designed to assist in sheltering client assets from the uncertainty of the world currency and financial markets. The team at Swiss Metal Assets can also set up an IRA account for interested parties. If this is something that interests you please contact the team at Swiss Metal Assets.

By: Randy Hilarski - The Rare Metals Guy

The Uses of Indium are Escalating

There has been news swirling around indium over the last few months. Companies are finding new uses for the metal and the current uses are expanding production. This is all very exciting for the mining industry and exposure of indium in peoples’ portfolios.

Indium has the symbol of In on the periodic table of the elements and has an atomic number of 49. The rare strategic metal was discovered in 1863 by German chemists Ferdinand Reich and Theodor Richter. Indium has a melting point of 156.60 °C (313.88 °F) making it useful in many low melting point applications.

The rare strategic metal is primarily mined in China, Bolivia and Canada. The top refiners of Indium are China, Korea, Japan, Canada, Japan and Belgium. The total refined amount annually is approximately 500 mt. China controls 97% percent of production. If we do not find alternatives to the current mining techniques Indium will continue to be on the critical list of rare strategic metals. Indium is primarily a bi-product of zinc mining. Mining companies are working on ways to extract Indium from tin and copper mining to expand the sources of the metal. At current consumption rates there could be a crisis in the supply of indium in the next ten years. According to the British Geological Survey, indium scores a 6.5 out of 10 on the critical metals list in 2011.

Indium has many uses in the world of technology. Here is a list of the most prominent uses.

  1. Transparent conductive coating (Touchscreens on Mobile Phones and Ipads) SHARP IGZO
  2. CIGS (Copper Indium Gallium Selenide) Solar Panels
  3. LEDs (Light Emitting Diodes)
  4. LCDs (Liquid Crystal Displays)
  5. Low Pressure Sodium Lamps
  6. Control rods for nuclear reactors as an alloy with silver and cadmium
  7. Thermal interface material

Sharp electronics out of Japan just officially announced that they will begin producing IGZO (Indium Gallium Zinc Oxide) screens for Apple (Aapl). It has been rumored for almost a year that the IGZO screens would be used in all future Apple products. These screens boast double the resolution of current screens. Currently Sharp will be producing three screens for Apple. These screens can save up to 90% in power consumption over conventional screens.

  1. 7in tablet screens 1280X800 pixels resolution (217 pixels per inch)
  2. 10in notebook screens 2560X1600 pixels resolution (300 pixels per inch)
  3. 32in LCD screen 3840X2160 pixels resolution (140 pixels per inch)

The first product from Apple that will integrate the new screens is the new Apple Smart TV. Apple has reportedly invested $1.2 Billion in one of Sharp´s manufacturing facilities in China. Sharp expects that the demand for IGZO screens will increase. Over 50% of all indium used is in the manufacturing of LCD displays.

The other technology that is expected to put pressure on the indium market is the CIGS (Copper Indium Gallium Selenide) solar panels. Currently CIGS solar panels are the most efficient solar panels on the market. CIGS solar panels can be molded to fit many uses. Companies are designing them to integrate into roofing, glass and metals. Could you imagine what the future holds when buildings turn into solar panels? Companies like Solar Frontier, MiaSole and Avancis are providing the world with CIGS solar panels. According to Lux Research out of Boston the market for CIGS PV installations could more than double by 2015 to $2.315 Billion.

The excitement around the indium market is palpable. If you are a stock trader then the companies above are your best option. If you are looking for a commodities position then you should contact the team at Swiss Metal Assets and store some indium along with other metals in Switzerland. The rare strategic metal is poised to have a strong decade.

 By: Randy Hilarski - The Rare Metals Guy

Molybdenum the Metal with Few Substitutes

Rare Industrial Metal - Molybdenum

Recently molybdenum has been in the news. China Molybdenum has announced that it will be launching an IPO on the Shanghai exchange later in the year. Swiss Metal Assets has also decided to add Molybdenum to its, ¨Construction and Engineering¨, basket of metals joining tantalum, tungsten, chromium, zirconium and cobalt.

Molybdenum is a refractory metal with the symbol of Mo on the periodic table of the elements and an atomic number of 42. This rare strategic metal was discovered in 1778 by a Swedish scientist Carl Wilhelm Scheele. Molybdenum has the sixth highest melting point of all elements. With a melting point of 2,623°C (4,753°F) only tungsten, rhenium, carbon, osmium and tantalum boast a higher melting point.

The largest producer of molybdenum is China followed by Chile, United States, Peru and Canada. Molybdenum is primarily a bi-product of copper and tungsten mining with a few mines producing it as a principal ore. Total world production is approximately 230,000 metric tons per year according to the USGS (United States Geological Survey).

The use of molybdenum is extensive. There are very few substitutes for the metal. This keeps the demand high. Molybdenum has an extensive list of uses. The top use is in alloys which uses about 70% of all the metal available each year.

Here is a list of the uses of Molybdenum:

  1. Alloys in construction
  2. Superalloys in aviation and rocketry
  3. Lubricants for high temperature applications
  4. Catalysts
  5. Alloy with steel to make stainless steel
  6. Pigments
  7. Electronics
  8. X-ray tube components
  9. Applications to protect against heat
  10. Nuclear industry
  11. Solar industry as an electrode material in CIGS (Copper, Indium, Gallium and Selenide) Panels

The future of Molybdenum looks bright with the continued expansion of the green economy around the world. The solar industry growth will continue to use significantly more of the rare metal in CdTe (Cadmium Telluride) panels and the CIGS panels. The market for CIGS solar panels are projected to double by 2015. This will put significant pressure on the molybdenum market as well as the rest of the rare strategic metals.

By: Randy Hilarski - The Rare Metals Guy

What Should Silver and Gold Investors do?

Today there was an article on CNBC telling us that the Bull market in silver is finished. Last week we heard that the Bull market was finished in Gold. What is an investor to do with all the noise around us? When silver was approaching $50 in June 2011 the media was happy to tell its viewers and readers to buy. It is very difficult to focus on the end game when the media continues to get it wrong.

The public keeps falling for the same trick year after year. Peter Schiff, Congressman Ron Paul and Marc Faber all said that the real estate bubble would burst while the media laughed at them. Today we have the media telling us that it is ok to bring our hard earned currency back into the stock market. Does all seem well to you? My gut feeling is telling me that something is terribly wrong with the system and that the risk of a serious crisis is still a possibility.

I would like to share with you my approach to precious metals investing. My approach may seem ultra conservative, but it has worked for almost a decade. Physical metal in my possession or 100% allocated in my name in a private vault is the only way to go for my family. I do not worry about the ups and downs of the silver and gold market. When it is time for a purchase, I do not try to time the market. When the cash is available I place an order. People ask me, ¨Randy why are you not worried about silver and gold crashing?¨ My reply is easy, do you really think that the governments around the world are going to show restraint when it comes to devaluing their currencies?

Here are a few reasons to not trust currencies.

  1. China has signed 16 currency trade agreements bypassing the US Dollar.
  2. Ben Bernanke and the Fed have announced that they want to continue to devalue the US Dollar.
  3. Trade wars, nations trying to keep their products cheap by devaluing their currencies, recently Brazil said the government will use this tactic.
  4. Governments around the world are devaluing currencies to pay off national debt, instead of raising taxes. Raising taxes is political suicide.

The other question people ask is, “when will you sell?¨. The answer to this question is a very personal one, but my approach is pretty simple. I have a set goal for the value of my metals. When the price reaches that value, I will then sell my silver and gold and buy real estate or possibly equities. For me the precious metals are a tool to build wealth. When I sell, I am just moving to a different asset class. When I can buy a $100k house for 600 ounces of silver it will be time for me to sell. Similar to everyday life, if we don´t focus on set goals, we will accomplish very little. Even if it takes another five years for silver and gold to reach my price goals I am okay with it.

Will there be times in the climb forward, when silver and gold take large price drops? Of course there will be, but these are the times when the market just gave you the opportunity to buy more precious metals at a discount. I am just an average guy who wants to be able to sleep good at night. I don´t want to be worrying whether or not my call or put options are in the money. So if you want peace of mind, please do not listen to the media, focus on your goals and you will be ok.

 By: Randy Hilarski - The Rare Metals Guy

President Obama Signs an Executive Order Allowing for Control Over Natural Resources

President Obama and Tim Geithner

Some disturbing news came out of Washington on March 16th. The President of the United States has decided to expand upon the 1950 Disaster Preparedness order. This order gives the President of the United States total control over all natural resources in the country during war time or emergencies. The new order has expanded the power of the President to control everything from food, transport, production, energy, materials and water. I say how can this be possible? I see the possibility of abuse here. What could go wrong? Should we let our natural resources be controlled by a handful of people? Here is the order.

Section 101.  Purpose.  This order delegates authorities and addresses national defense resource policies and programs under the Defense Production Act of 1950, as amended (the “Act”).

(b)  assess on an ongoing basis the capability of the domestic industrial and technological base to satisfy requirements in peacetime and times of national emergency, specifically evaluating the availability of the most critical resource and production sources, including subcontractors and suppliers, materials, skilled labor, and professional and technical personnel; - White House

Additionally, each cabinet under the Executive Branch has been given specific powers when the order is executed, and include the absolute control over food, water, and other resource distributions.

Sec. 201.  Priorities and Allocations Authorities.  (a)  The authority of the President conferred by section 101 of the Act, 50 U.S.C. App. 2071, to require acceptance and priority performance of contracts or orders (other than contracts of employment) to promote the national defense over performance of any other contracts or orders, and to allocate materials, services, and facilities as deemed necessary or appropriate to promote the national defense, is delegated to the following agency heads:

(1)  the Secretary of Agriculture with respect to food resources, food resource facilities, livestock resources, veterinary resources, plant health resources, and the domestic distribution of farm equipment and commercial fertilizer;

(2)  the Secretary of Energy with respect to all forms of energy;

(3)  the Secretary of Health and Human Services with respect to health resources;

(4)  the Secretary of Transportation with respect to all forms of civil transportation;

(5)  the Secretary of Defense with respect to water resources; and

(6)  the Secretary of Commerce with respect to all other materials, services, and facilities, including construction materials.

(e)  “Food resources” means all commodities and products, (simple, mixed, or compound), or complements to such commodities or products, that are capable of being ingested by either human beings or animals, irrespective of other uses to which such commodities or products may be put, at all stages of processing from the raw commodity to the products thereof in vendible form for human or animal consumption.  “Food resources” also means potable water packaged in commercially marketable containers, all starches, sugars, vegetable and animal or marine fats and oils, seed, cotton, hemp, and flax fiber, but does not mean any such material after it loses its identity as an agricultural commodity or agricultural product.

How do I translate this? Is the Executive branch telling us that an expanded war is on the horizon, and that they are worried about shortages? How will the American people respond to another war? Spring has arrived in America, how will Occupy 2012 play out?

If there is war I do believe it will bring instability to an already unstable market and world economy. During war time nations tend to spend huge amounts of money causing increased inflation. This translates into everything costing consumers more. Oil prices will continue to rise as well as anything you purchase at the market.

What can you do to prepare for the increased costs ahead?

  1. Plant yourself a garden and learn how to can to keep your grocery bill under control.
  2. Buy some Precious Metals like Silver and Gold. My choice is Silver.
  3. Buy yourself a small portable Solar unit.
  4. Buy a sturdy bicycle with a rack on it. My Trek is a great bike. Ride it!
  5. Find like-minded individuals in your community.
  6. Make sure you have access to water or store some.
  7. If you are adventurous like myself, expatriate to another country and start a new life.

I was raised by a family who taught me to always be prepared for the unknown. My family always had reserves for times of emergency. Do you want to rely on the government when instability arrives? It looks to me like the government is preparing for something big, maybe you should do the same.

By: Randy Hilarski - The Rare Metals Guy

Will the Federal Reserve Devalue the Dollar?

The news around the world has been rather interesting over the last few weeks.  We have Iran trading Oil for Gold instead of PetroDollars.    The Greek crisis still has not been solved while Italy, Spain and Portugal are struggling to stay solvent.  China has signed fourteen currency swap agreements bypassing the US Dollar.  The Federal Reserve has announced that it will keep interest rates at or near zero until 2014.  The US has just raised its debt limit once again, with little opposition.  We all know that 2012 is an election year in the USA which usually means very little will be done in Washington.

So what will we see this year?  Will we see Deflation or Inflation? Currently I hear news out of the USA and here locally in Panama that items are going up in price. I just spent a week in San Jose, Costa Rica where one liter of Coca Cola was $2.50.  They were just forced here in Panama to raise the minimum wage to $500 just so people could afford to survive.  You can imagine the repercussions, many businesses will have to let employees go in order to keep the doors open.  Here in Panama we use the US Dollar as our currency.  Who is to blame for the inflation we are seeing?  It is not the printing presses fault. It is the powers behind the printing.

Way back on November 21, 2002 there was a Federal Reserve Governor named Ben Bernanke, who gave a speech to the National Economist´s Club.  In this speech he outlined exactly what he would do if he was Chairman of the Federal Reserve in the instance of a financial crisis or Depression.

  1. The Federal Reserve would lower the interest rate to zero
  2. Purchase Securities from Banks (GM, Chrysler)
  3. Increase the Money Supply
  4. Buy Countries Debt QE1, QE2, QE3 and QE Infinity
  5. Devalue the Dollar

I will not go into each of these scenarios individually.  We all know that points one through four are already in play.  The one that has not occurred yet is the devaluation of the Dollar.  Mr. Bernanke calls himself a student of the depression.  He has studied The Federal Reserve actions during that time.  Here is an excerpt from that speech.

Ben Bernanke November 21, 2002

Although a policy of intervening to affect the exchange value of the dollar is nowhere on the horizon today, it´s worth noting that there have been times when exchange rate policy has been an effective weapon against deflation. A striking example from U.S. history is Franklin Roosevelt´s 40 percent devaluation of the dollar against Gold in 1933-34, enforced by a program of Gold purchases and domestic money creation.  The devaluation and the rapid increase in money supply it permitted ended the U.S. deflation remarkably quickly.  Indeed, consumer price inflation in the United States, year on year, went from -10.3 percent in 1932 to -5.1 percent in 1933 to 3.4 percent in 1934. The economy grew strongly, and by the way, 1934 was one of the best years of the century for the stock market.  If nothing else, the episode illustrates that monetary actions can have powerful effects on the economy, even when the nominal interest rate is at or near zero, as was the case at the time of Roosevelt´s devaluation.

Original speech can be viewed here

On April 3rd 1933 President Roosevelt declared the Presidential Order 6102.

All persons are hereby required to deliver on or before May 1, 1933, to a Federal Reserve bank or a branch or agency thereof or to any member bank of the Federal Reserve System all gold coin, gold bullion, and gold certificates now owned by them or coming into their ownership on or before April 28, 1933.

At this time Gold was valued at $20 per ounce.  Shortly after the Gold confiscation was completed the Federal Reserve revalued Gold at $35 per ounce or a 40 percent devaluation of the currency.  Remember that during this time the Dollar was backed by the promise of Gold.

In my mind Mr. Bernanke is telling us what he is going to do next if the economy does not respond to the other four measures that he has implemented.  What would a 40% devaluation of the US Dollar do to your savings if everything is in US Dollars or a currency pegged to the Dollar? The devaluation of the US Dollar would be great for Gold, Silver, Home Values, Debt and the stock market.  What about the people that do not have hard assets?  People who live off Social Security, Government Subsidies, Fixed Incomes and Savings will have a difficult time.  Imagine tomorrow you wake up and your savings has just been devalued 40%.

Growing up I was taught that putting your savings in the bank was important.  Today it seems that the idea is no longer valid.  What Mr. Bernanke has told us is that he will devalue the currency in order for the country to continue to have growth.  What are you doing to protect your family and future?

By: Randy Hilarski - The Rare Metals Guy

Critical Metals Vital to Our Lives in Tight Supply

Rare Earth Elements

We begin 2012 similar to how we started 2011 when it comes to rare earth, rare technical metals and rare industrial metals. China has over 90% of production and refining. The US and EU governments are scrambling to legislate, source, produce, open and reopen mines. The West has decided to continue down the road of the idea that the markets will take care of the supply and price of these metals. What is alarming is how easily the West was lulled to sleep by China´s ability to supply the world its metals cheaply and efficiently. The West concentrated on making money trading stocks and futures that dealt with these commodities. China concentrated on building the most extensive mining industry in the history of man. Here in 2012 the Department of Energy in the USA has approved a spending bill that includes $20 Million to focus on the supply issues of these metals.

The metals I am speaking about are so vital to our everyday lives. These metals are found in your mobile phones, computers, LCD and LED TV´s, hybrid cars, solar power, wind power, nuclear power, efficient lighting and medical technologies. Here is a list of metals that have been deemed critical.

  • Indium RIM (Solar, Mobile Phones, LCD)
  • Tellurium RIM (Solar, Computers, Semi-conductors)
  • Gallium RIM (Solar, Mobile Phones, LED´s, Fuel Cells)
  • Hafnium RIM (Processors, Nuclear, Lighting, Plasma Cutting Tools)
  • Tantalum RIM (Capacitors, Medical Implants, Mobile Phones, Nuclear)
  • Tungsten RIM (Nuclear, Armaments, Aviation)
  • Yttrium REE (Lighting, Medical Technology, Magnets in Hybrids)
  • Neodymium REE (Magnets in Wind power, Super Magnets, Hybrid Vehicles)
  • Dysprosium REE (Computers, Nuclear, Hybrid Vehicles)
  • Europium REE (Lighting, LED´s, Lasers
  • Lanthanum REE (Hybrid Vehicles, Magnets, Optics)
  • Cerium REE (LED´s, Catalytic Converters, Magnets)

RIM=Rare Industrial Metal REE=Rare Earth Element

The supplies of these metals could hold back the production of green technologies. According to the latest report by the Department of Energy, ¨Supply challenges for five rare earth metals may affect clean energy technology deployment in the years ahead¨. If Green technology is to become main stream, the costs of these technologies have to reach cost parity with traditional energy sources. As long as there are serious supply issues with these metals the costs can´t reach these levels. The other option is finding alternatives like Graphene and Nanotechnologies.

The US and EU need supply chains of the metals that include both mining and refining of these metals. Relying on sovereign states for critical metals such as these, leave a nation vulnerable to outside influence in both politics and economics. Environmentalists have succeeded in influencing politicians to close mines throughout the West. Politicians have legislated the mining industry into the position it is in today. The Western nations must start now to build its supply chain or continue to be at the mercy of the BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India and China) nations for its metal needs.

The best the West can do now is provide, enough metals to meet its own demands. China has reached a point where it can now demand that certain industries produce their products there. If a company decides to try to produce the product in another country China will make producing that item cost prohibitive outside of China by raising the prices of the metals.

The demand for the products these metals are used to produce, are showing few signs of slowing down even in a so-called recession. Governments are subsidizing Green technology, people are buying mobile phones across the planet and everybody wants a nice flat screen TV. Will 2012 pass without countries truly taking this opportunity to fix the problem or will they step up and make the hard decisions which can put the countries back in control over their own destiny?

By: Randy Hilarski - The Rare Metals Guy

China, 14 Currency Swap Agreements and Counting

Renmimbi Yuan

Since the financial crisis of 2008 China has been signing agreement after agreement with other sovereign nations for bilateral currency swaps. China and these other nations are trying to diversify their central bank foreign - exchange reserves out of U.S. Dollars. China would like its currency, the Renmimbi, to play more of an important role in the world financial system. Here is a list of the fourteen nations that have already signed bilateral currency swap agreements with China.

  • Pakistan
  • Argentina
  • South Korea
  • Indonesia
  • New Zealand
  • Malaysia
  • Belarus
  • Hong Kong
  • Japan
  • Uzbekistan
  • Thailand
  • Turkey
  • Singapore
  • Kazakhstan

After the collapse in 2008 Chinese exporters were finding it difficult to do international trade as they were unable to settle their deals with Yuan (Renmimbi) and were forced to settle in Dollars. The currency swap agreements will make it easier for now for international companies and traders to receive financing in Yuan during difficult economic periods. If they can settle their deals in Yuan (Renmimbi) it would reduce their risk. China and these nations would like to keep trade flowing even in the event of another financial crisis.

What is a Currency Swap? Essentially a currency swap is a transaction between two nations to exchange the interest and principal payments on loans issued by two different nations. The two countries gain access to foreign exchange reserves. This limits the nations exposure to exchange rate fluctuations because they can pay back the liability associated with its currency instead of in Dollars.

Why is China so concerned about the U.S. Dollar? China has grown suspicious of the US government unwillingness to curb its spending and printing of its currency. This runaway printing has and will continue to devalue it dollar-denominated assets. Recently we are hearing that the US Federal Reserve will quietly implement QE3 (Quantitative Easing 3).

China would like the world to look upon its currency as a store of value similar to Gold and the Dollar. This privilege has given the US the ability to expand and borrow. China would also like this ability. If nations hold reserves in Yuan (Renmimbi) it is extending credit to the Chinese government. These currency swaps are the first steps in Yuan (Renmimbi) transforming in to a global currency. How many more countries will sign agreements with China in 2012? How will the USA and the IMF react? I look forward to seeing the results of China spreading its influence.

Randy Hilarski - The Rare Metals Rare Earth and Rare Industrial Metals Specialist
Web: www.swissmetalassets.com

Why Buy and Store Metals Offshore

Offshore Storage Facilities for Rare Earth and Industrial Metals

Today more than ever it is important for a person to diversify the location of their assets. If you are one of my readers there is a good chance that you believe in Precious and Rare Metals as a form of protection against inflation, and governmental shenanigans. Metals give a person piece of mind like very few other investments can.

Some of the benefits of Metals include.
  1. Paper assets can depreciate to zero, Metals will not.
  2. Metals are a hard asset that can be handled, free of third party interference.
  3. Metals are a store of value.
  4. Metals are both a form of money and used in industry.
  5. Metals are highly liquid.

Why take your metals offshore? Inflation according to the US government is running close to 3% and banks are paying a paltry 1-2% for interest. People are increasingly worried about government seizure of their paper assets and hard assets. Recently Portugal decided to take over its pension funds until the financial crisis passes. As we know once a government takes over something they rarely give it back. How long do you think until nations like the USA, UK, Germany, Canada and Australia start invading their pension funds? In 1933 the US government under the leadership of Franklin D. Roosevelt required US citizens to turn their Gold in for currency. Do you think that the governments of today are any less bold?

The four main benefits of offshore investing include.
  1. Asset Protection
  2. Confidentiality
  3. Tax Sheltering
  4. Diversification

There are many different ways a person can buy and store metals internationally. A client could buy and store in their personal name. They could store their metals in an offshore IRA. They could purchase their metals through a company that they control. They could use a Trust or an offshore structure that they control. This opens up a wide range of opportunities for the savvy metals buyer.

In the spring of 2012 we are tentatively scheduled to open our latest storage facility in Panama. We have had many clients asking us if we knew of an option for them to store their metals closer to home. Our waiting list of clients looking to take advantage of this opportunity continues to grow. It will be located in the Panama Pacifico Free Zone which is the old Howard Air Force Base in the Canal Zone. Currently we have our facility in Zurich, Switzerland in the Swiss Free Zone. If you would like more information to buy Metals or to be added to our Panama storage wait list please feel free to contact myself or the team at Swiss Metal Assets.

Customers ask, How would I transport the Metals to Panama? Brinks is the logical choice for me. They offer door to door service for the client. You can learn more on their website.

The financial situations are getting more and more complicated for nations throughout the world. Don´t you think it is time that you protected your assets?

By: Randy Hilarski - The Rare Metals Guy

iPhone 5 to Possibly Have Sharp IGZO 4¨ Display

IGZO Graphic

Rumors are swirling around the net about what Apple is going to do about the new display for its iPhone 5. We know that it is going to be an IGZO (Indium, Gallium, Zinc , Oxygen) display. We also know that it will be 4 inches. What I do not know for sure is the manufacturer of the display. Some speculate Sony and Hitachi others say Sharp. From what I have been following it looks like it will be Sharp. Whoever makes the display the faithful are bound to be thrilled. These panels are also bound to be used in the next Apple iPad

According to Shuji Sako of Sharp, ¨The IGZO LCD panel´s performance outclasses anything attainable with conventional amorphous-silicon TFT panels.¨ IGZO transistors have mobility of its electrons up to 40 times higher than amorphous-silicon thin-film transistors. The IGZO transistors can also be made smaller and have the same performance. This helps the display save 30% in energy consumption and higher resolution over the traditional amorphous-silicon TFT panels. The display is said to perform at 330 dpi. The IGZO display would also enable the iPhone 5 to be thinner.

The demand for small and mid-size LCD panels is growing rapidly putting strains on the supply chain. What many tech blogs fail to say is that this amazing growth also puts strains on the natural resource supply chains. The technology needs Indium, Gallium and Zinc. Two of these metals have been deemed to be at Critical Levels according to the British Geological Survey and the US Geological Survey. Over 95% of these rare industrial or technical metals are supplied by China. Even if the prices of the metals go up 100% the end user will see a very small price increase because such a small amount of the metals are used in each device.

By: Randy Hilarski - The Rare Metals Guy

Rare Earth Elements are not the same as Rare Industrial Metals

Rare Earth Elements

Randy Hilarski has also released a video on this article that can be watched by clicking here.

I read articles from other writers who often refer to Rare Industrial or Technical Metals as Rare Earth elements. I would like to take some time and clear up the issue. I deal with RIM’s and REE´s on a daily basis. The two might both be considered metals but that is where the similarities end.

First we have REE´s or Rare Earth Elements. These metals consist of 17 metals, the Lanthanides plus Scandium and Yttrium on the periodic table of the elements. These metals are in a powder form, making them difficult to assay and store. One important factor that is often mentioned is that they are not rare. This is very true, but finding REE´s in large deposits is difficult.

In the mining sector REE mines are standalone mines, that focus on the mining and refining of REE´s exclusively. Currently around 97% of all REE´s are mined and refined in China. Historically REE mining and refining has been a dirty business, which has affected the environment around the mines. The elements Thorium and Uranium are often found along with the REE´s in the deposits causing the slurry to be slightly radioactive when processed. The use of highly toxic acids during the processing can also have serious environmental impact. Many companies are trying to open REE mines but they are meeting headwinds, as nations and people do not want these mines in their backyard.

Over the last few years China has dramatically cut its export of REE´s. This and the increased need for REE´s have caused a meteoric rise in the value of these metals. The one area that very few people talk about is the role of the media combined with speculators in raising the value of REE ETF´s in particular. For the last couple years REE´s were the rock stars of the metals. The news has calmed as of late, but the supply and demand factors that caused the metals to soar are still in place. Recently China closed it BaoTao mine until REE prices stabilize.

Rare Earth Metal - Indium

Rare Industrial Metals, RIM´s or Technical metals are another group entirely. The RIM´s are made up of metals used in over 80% of all products we use on a daily basis. Without these metals you would not have the world of the 21st century with our mobile phones, hybrid cars, flat screen TV´s, highly efficient solar energy and computers. Some of these metals include Indium, Tellurium, Gallium, Tantalum and Hafnium. These metals really are rare compared to the Rare Earth Metals which causes a great deal of confusion. These metals are in a metallic form, stable and easy to store and ship.

RIM´s are mined as a by-product of base or common metal mining. For example Tellurium is a by-product of Copper mining and Gallium is a by-product of Aluminum and Zinc mining. The mining of the RIM´s currently are for the most part at the mercy of the markets for the base or common metal mining. If the Copper mines of the world decide to cut production due to Copper losing value, this will have a huge impact on the amount of Tellurium that can be refined. Up until now, because of the previous small size of the RIM market, many companies do not feel the need to invest money into better technology to mine and refine these metals. The RIM´s would have to be valued much higher to gain the attention of the mining industry.

When China cut exports of REE´s they also cut exports of RIM´s. This put pressure on the value of these metals. RIM´s have increased in value, but nowhere near the meteoric rise of the REE´s. Most of the metals increased in value around 47% in 2010 and 25% so far in 2011. There is still a lot of room for growth in the value of these metals (not based on speculation like REE´s) as demand is exceeding supply now and in the future.

For Example, when REE´s and the stock market recently fell sharply the RIM´s came down slightly in value but have held their own extremely well. On a further note, according to Knut Andersen of Swiss Metal Assets, ¨Even though prices of the Rare Industrial Metals continue to go up in value, consumers will eventually only see a very small increase in the price of the end products, because there is so little of each metal used to produce these products. Also if the people can´t afford a smartphone they will still buy less expensive phones that still use the same Rare Industrial Metals¨.

The need for RIM´s has risen sharply over the years and will continue to grow at astronomical rates. China, India, South America and the whole of Africa with hundreds of millions of new consumers are now buying and using computers and mobile phones to name just a few products.

The future is bright for the technologies and the Rare Industrial Metals that make them work and for anyone who participates in stockpiling these metals now to meet future increased demand.

By: Randy Hilarski - The Rare Metals Guy

China Now Controls the Solar Industry

Solar Panels

Recently American solar companies like Solyndra, Evergreen Solar and Spectrawatt have filed for bankruptcy. These events may lead investors to believe that Solar is finished.

The US solar industry was hit hard by announcements out of Europe that some nations, like Italy, were scaling back their expenditures on solar due to their debt crisis. At the same time we have nations like India announcing a US $19 billion plan to produce 20GW of solar power by the year 2020.

Where will the solar panels for this market be manufactured?

India does not have sufficient rare industrial metal inventories or rare earth metal production to meet the demands of the government plan.

China has positioned itself as the country with 97% control over the majority of rare industrial metals and rare earth metals needed to produce high efficiency solar panels.

What does this mean for companies producing solar panels?

Among many other reasons for restricting exports of rare metals, China wants companies to produce the products in China to keep its workforce employed. If companies want to import metals from China in to produce the panels in other nations they will have to pay much higher prices for the metals due to taxes, shipping, export costs and other import costs. Accordingly, The US manufacturers will have a difficult time competing with the manufacturers in China.

The other issue that the companies do not want to talk about is government subsidies and tax breaks. Jason Burack the co-author of the, ¨Dragon Metals Report¨, and owner of www.wallstformainst.com recently said, ¨Message to all CEOs in solar, “Switch immediately to the best Solar panel technology using materials like rare earths, rare industrial metals and graphene and stop relying on the government for subsidies to produce inferior technology panels the market does not want, also a successful long term business model for any company should not be to rely on getting all of your revenue and contracts from the government, which is what many solar companies have done¨.

There are three, ¨Thin-Film PV¨ kinds of solar panels.

1. CdTe or Cadmium Telluride with an efficiency of 6%-11%.

2. a-Si or Amorphous Silicon with an efficiency of 6%-12%

3. CIGS or Copper Indium Gallium Selenide with an efficiency of 10%-20%

CIGS Advantages:

A. Highest energy yield

B. No environmentally hazardous materials

C. You can mold the panels to fit many applications

D. They can possibly bring the cost of solar energy panels down to below $1 per watt.

 The other technology on the horizon is graphene composite solar panels. They are made of copper, molybdenum and graphite. Molybdenum and graphite have both been deemed highly critical to national security for many nations. Once again China has a powerful position because they control over 80% of the graphite market. So once again China has the foresight to see the technologies on the horizon and has positioned itself to prosper.

Currently 89% of the total installed solar panels worldwide are located in Germany, Japan and the USA. In the coming years we will see a growing demand from China for its own solar needs. Between China and India the demand for solar panels will far exceed our current ability to produce the panels. The costs of solar are coming down and the closer we are to grid parity, the more use of solar we will see. Since many of the metals used to produce these panels have been deemed critical to many nations national security, the prices of these metals are bound to stay elevated. China has shown that it will continue to restrict the exports of the rare industrial and rare earth metals further tightening the supply chains.

By: Randy Hilarski - The Rare Metals Guy

Hafnium the Little Known Element with Huge Potential

Rare Industrial Metal - Hafnium

The metal that is starting to get a great deal of attention from the military industrial complex was already well known in the nuclear industry and in the semiconductor industry. This metal is hafnium. Hafnium was discovered in 1923 by a Danish chemist named Dirk Coster and Georg Karl von Hevesey in Copenhagen. Its symbol on the periodic table is Hf and its atomic number is 72. Hafnium is considered a transition metal and is found as an impurity in Zircon ore deposits. The percentage in Zircon ore deposits is about 15%. The producers of Hafnium are Australia 42%, South Africa 32%, China 11% and a few other nations with smaller amounts.

Hafnium in semiconductors is an emerging use. A few years ago Hafnium replaced some uses of silicon in the semiconductor industry. Hafnium has increased the speed of the microprocessors, decreased the size, and made them more efficient. These chips have lowered energy leakage by 20%. ¨Silicon valley¨ has now become ¨Hafnium Valley¨.

In aviation, hafnium is used in super alloys. Due to it being an excellent refractory metal hafnium has applications where heat resistance is needed. It is used in the, ¨exhaust end¨, of jet engines. The melting point is 2233° C or 4,051° F.

The one area that may see a large increase of use is in the nuclear industry. The control rods which capture the neutrons released from nuclear fission are made of hafnium. The future for nuclear still looks bright even after the accidents in Japan. According to the, ¨Nuclear Engineering Handbook¨ there are 439 plants in operation with over 320 more proposed for the future. To be fair there are some substitutes like the silver, cadmium and indium control rods now available.

In the news recently we have heard about the military industrial complex and their interests in hafnium. One gram of hafnium contains as much energy as 700 pounds of TNT. According to the, ¨New Scientist¨ magazine the US military is developing technologies to use hafnium in its future bombs. The technology is said to produce bombs capable of releasing energy thousands of times greater than conventional weapons. Dr. Bill Herrmannsfeldt of Stanford University is not convinced. The Dr. does not believe that the military should be investing money in technologies that have no scientific basis. As a precaution the Dr. is asking for an independent review of the technology to see if it is scientifically possible.

Worldwide production of hafnium according to the USGS is unknown but we can make a good estimation because we know that hafnium is a byproduct of zirconium mining. Hafnium is a 15% impurity in Zircon ore. The USGS states that 1200t of zirconium are mined per year this would give us approximately 180t of hafnium. Official production is said to be 70t annually. This is a very small amount compared to many other elements and because there is very little information about the amounts of production it makes it difficult to have exact figures.

Unlike many rare industrial metals hafnium is not primarily controlled by China. Australia is the world´s largest producer. The production of hafnium is expected to increase approximately 4-4.5% annually. Hafnium has increased in value tremendously over the years. For over 30 years it consistently could be purchased in the vicinity of $200,000 per ton, now we have prices approaching $1,000,000 a ton. That is quite an increase. Inflation or demand, either way hafnium is performing very well for the producers and investors of the metal.

By: Randy Hilarski - The Rare Metals Guy

Asset protection with special metals - not just rare earths are in demand!

The trend toward physical assets such as special metals will be long term and sustainable," Gunther Maassen

Translated from the original German Article that can be found here:

http://www.foonds.com/article/16165//fullstory

Due to the distrust of paper money system escape investors more and more into real assets. Besides real estate , precious metals and commodity exchanges traded commodities , however, there are other commodities which are increasing the interest of investors. Namely Special Metals Exchange Express spoke with the manager of the venerable German metal dealer Haines Maassen (www.hain-maassen.com) Mr. Gunther Maassen.

BE: Mr. Maassen, you will see an increased interest from investors, including you offer specialty metals investing?

For about four years recorded Haines and Maassen an increasing demand from investors for specialty metals such as indium, gallium and hafnium.

BE: Why do you advertise on a site for commodity investors? Should this be expanded in a targeted area?

Haines & Maassen has over 60 years and active trading in the metal during this period was continuously expanded the offering plate. This particular segment is not promoted specifically, but we have adapted to the needs of this industry and adapted our offerings accordingly. We see our role as a family but in the metal trade, and not as a financial investment advisor.

BE: Is it worth an investment at all in special metals? If an investor wants to sell the purchased metals again, how great the loss is due to the trading range?

Since we are not investment advisors, we want to leave the decision up to our customers. The fundamentals of supply and demand shall, however, seems to indicate that the sustained demand for many of these elements exceed the bid. When individual elements are signs of a significant shortage. Leading research institutions around the world, for example, predict a significant shortage of indium in the next 10-20 years. Include items such as tantalum, hafnium, and tellurium show depletion trends. The trading range in the metal trade the usual manner 10 to 20% higher.

BE: Is it for your company at all interesting to supply retail customers or are you collaborating with distributors for small deliveries to private homes?

Even as larger trading company, we look forward to every customer and ensure a competent, based on years of service experience. Each customer, whether he now buys 1 kg or 100 kg of indium, tantalum is just treated as an industrial consumer. For several years we have worked successfully with companies that have created the special baskets for consumers. Leading role in this market is the Schweizerische Metallhandels AG / Switzerland, which brought the first company to a sustainable system for investors in the market. This trained and experienced intermediaries has developed standardized solutions to investors to provide with smaller sums, the opportunity to participate in the development of strategic special metals.

BE: Is there or are you planning it, the metals are VAT-free to keep investors in a bonded warehouse ?

No, this service leaves Haines & Maassen companies like the Swiss metal trading SMH AG, which take on a pioneering role in this field. We see our task in the expert advice and supplies to customers. This has meant that our company has occupied in the commercial sector is not more than 70% of jobs with academics. Chemists, economists, certified interpreter and aspiring metallurgist to join our team. . This allows us a targeted advice at a high level.

BE: Which of you offer metals were the highest price increases in recent years?

There are a number of metals such as rare earths (neodymium, cerium, lanthanum, …) and tellurium, tantalum, indium, gallium, hafnium, and that have experienced including price developments of more than 100%. Appears much more important to us, however, that the price developments of several of these elements in the long term exceed the inflation rate and thus suitable as a value assurance.

BE: Which you can see because of the supply situation and the future demand (particularly by new technologies), the highest price appreciation potential?

This would I got the book “Strategic Metals for investors,” by Michael and me Vaupel point, which is launched in early November. Here it is precisely this question at the center. Of promising innovations will be closed to the required raw materials, which then permits a conclusion on price trends. We specifically do not want to move a single metal in the foreground, but on the contrary believe that a healthy mixture of different metals, the better alternative. BE: Which metals has China as the rare-earth quasi-supply monopoly , China has some metals offer a market share exceeding 50%. about 90% antimony, bismuth, germanium, about 67% about 67%, 60% indium, about 67% silicon and tungsten over 80%. These are just the elements in which China holds more than 50%. There is also a long list of substances for which the People’s Republic plays a significant role.

BE: Some metals are toxic or dangerous now. Is not that problematic when investors rush to such materials and store them at home? Or. even allowed all metals to be delivered?

Yes, clearly this is problematic and it is forbidden even in a single well. The delivery of some metals to individuals such as arsenic, selenium and tellurium are not only forbidden, but also jeopardize the customer. The transport is subject to restrictions. Here it is important that it is made ​​clear in the consultation, where the boundaries of a private storage are located.

BE: What are the traded you metals for investors at all in question and which are ruled out?

This question is very complex and I would again like to the book “Special Metal for Strategic Investors” link. There are plenty of metals that can store private (indium, tantalum, etc.), and there are metals that can be stored without problems by specialist companies (gallium, tellurium, etc.). When no sense can be considered elements that can fail either due to technical reasons (explosive, very toxic ..) or claim due to a relatively low price, very substantial storage space would be (lithium, manganese …).

BE: Why are entirely at your rare earths?

Excluded from the program they are not, if a customer wants to purchase rare earths we can offer him.

BE: Which of the traded you metals are traded on commodity exchanges?

To reach Western markets, these are only molybdenum and cobalt in the form of oxides. In China, there are over 200 raw evil, but they are for the West not accessible or meaningful.

BE: Do you think the interest in physical metal investment for temporary or if the stay a permanent plant-fixed point?

I am personally of the opinion that the trend towards be physical forms of investment is long term and sustainable. Haines & Maassen has set himself definitely on this development and the capacity significantly. For about six months, we have another large warehouse, which predominantly serves the industry as a reloading and packaging facility.

BE: How serious is the market for metals from the perspective of potential investors?

Romp around many charlatans of the matter actually have no idea (push-columns, rushing into this, what’s currently on the market)? Unfortunately, there are black sheep in every industry. It certainly makes sense to find out exactly and above all, the costs can be expected for an investment of over 10 years. It is often cheaper to pay a few percent at the beginning to press for more and ongoing costs. Especially when storage costs are frightening models that cause within 5 years, considerable cost.

BE: Mr. Maassen, thank you for your time!

Source: http://www.foonds.com

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