July 31

The Energy Question Episode 55: Christopher Messina, CEO of Tanbreez

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The Energy Question Episode 55: Christopher Messina, CEO of Tanbreez

In Episode 55 of The Energy Question, David Blackmon interviews Christopher Messina, the dynamic CEO of Tanbreez, the company that owns rights to develop the Tanbreez mine on the southern coast of Greenland.

The Tanbreez mine was recently cited by Mining.com as the largest reserve of rare earth elements on the planet. In this interview, Mr. Messina details the promising status of the project and his efforts to secure both private and public funding to move the project forward.

Tanbreez home page: www.Tanbreez.com Link to Christopher’s podcast, Messy Times: www.messytimes.show

Link to Mining.com rankings: https://www.mining.com/featured-article/ranked-worlds-top-10-rare-earth-projects/

Enjoy.

Thank you to USOGA for Sponsoring the Energy Question!

 

Run of Show Intro:

00:00 – Intro

01:38 – Introduction of Christopher Messina

03:48 – The government of Greenland is all in favor of moving forward with this project

04:53 – Ranking at mining.com and its elements

09:51 – critical for the U.S. in this energy transition

14:51 – roadblocks to getting this thing kicked off and moving toward production

17:55 – accessing some of those stimulus resources

24:16 – Potential outcome from the elements

27:59 – Chinese development

30:59 – reprocess any of these kinds of elements

33:15 – Outro

 

The Energy Question Episode 55: Christopher Messina, CEO of Tanbreez

 

David Blackmon [00:00:02] Okay, here we go. Hey, welcome to the energy question with David Blackman. I’m your host, David Blackmon. And with me today is Christopher Messina, the CEO of Ten Briefs, a company that is sitting on what is ranked as the biggest potential rare earth element resource on the face of the earth. Christopher, how are you doing today?

Christopher Messina [00:00:25] I feel about as good as a man can be sitting on a pile of minerals this big. Thanks for having me on the show.

David Blackmon [00:00:30] Yeah, man, I tell you, we talked a little bit last week, and you told me that this resource, this is what Donald Trump wanted to buy Greenland a few years ago.

Christopher Messina [00:00:44] It is, indeed. You know, we had a meeting in the White House. My partner, Greg Barnes, who is the chief geologist and founder of Tanneries, went to the White House and a meeting with a cast of thousands describing the value of the materials in our and our mine for U.S. national security. And five days later, President Trump offered to buy the country. So I think that counts as a win in terms of persuasion. Well.

David Blackmon [00:01:09] You know, he had the right idea. I swear he had the right idea. But I’m quiet.

Christopher Messina [00:01:14] Sure his approach was spot on. But who might have been able to put it back?

David Blackmon [00:01:17] Yeah, that’s a frequent problem with Mr. Trump. But anyway, let’s before we get into the Q and A here on this amazing project, take a few minutes to talk about your background, how you came to be at Jamborees, and how you guys came to be in possession of the rights to this amazing resource.

Christopher Messina [00:01:38] Sure. Well, quickly on that. So for the oxygen out of the discussion. But you know a native New Yorker university Chicago grad MBA at the Australian Graduate School of Management, University of Sydney, my career has been 30 years at global capital markets, half on advanced trading systems, turning electronic exchange, electronic, that entire thing that became called fintech, which I was helped craft when I was a child at Goldman Sachs before it became public back in the late nineties and worked over the years and dozens of really interesting projects around, you know, better efficiencies in exchange markets, commodities markets, the other half regulated that was hard rock mining and natural resource exploitation better ways to finance and trade physical commodities and then understanding from a national security perspective.

Christopher Messina [00:02:28] So I came out of a family of military contractors and was a member of Ben’s business executive for national security. It’s been a lot of work, public-private partnerships with the federal government on US national security, always with an eye towards the private sector. And of course, all that. About seven or eight years ago, I was helping the Navy with some logistics issues for jet fuel at Bagram Air Force Base was became convinced that we could solve this rare supply chain problem in the private sector, didn’t need government intervention, didn’t need government help, unlike the Chinese, who since Deng Xiaoping have had a pronounced mercantilist program in favor of developing the industry. And that journey led me to Greg Barnes, a brilliant Australian geologist who found and staked what was become Danbury’s ore body way back in 2000. I spent a huge amount of his own money on the project is an incredibly well-defined, incredibly impressive resource. We now got an exploitation license as of 2020 and now we’re looking to build a mine.

David Blackmon [00:03:31] Well, it’s an amazing resource. You know, it apparently, I guess the government of Greenland, which by the way, only has 55,000 people in it for folks who don’t know. The government of Greenland is all in favor of moving forward with this project, right?

Christopher Messina [00:03:48] Oh, very much so. I mean, one of the best things about working with the folks in Greenland is, you know, they’ve got a well-thought-out mining law. They’ve got a very transparent government in how they approach things that you get anywhere in the world. You go to the Mines Department website binder exploitation license. They make, you know, sunsets. The sunshine is the best disinfectant. And they come out of the gate with a really well-thought-out mining law. Hardworking folks throughout the government who want to make sure this happens. The people of South Greenland are wildly in favor of this. You know, it’s going to be one of the major sources of wealth creation for the country going forward. Both are mining and the mining industry in general as they separate from Denmark. And another kind of complicated decoupling, which I will not try to explain. Yeah, no, they’re very much in favor of it. They can’t wait for us to get going.

David Blackmon [00:04:37] Well mining.com recently ranked this resource as the number one ranked. Potential new mine on the face of the earth, Right? What goes into that ranking? Is it just based strictly on the potential available resource?

Christopher Messina [00:04:53] Well, yes they were there. Their ranking was about the best potential rare earth mines in the world, but only enough. We are far and away the largest. But they underestimated our deposit by about 80%. So even I got 40 20% of what our numbers are. We’re still the hugest. They were modeling theirs. And the main factor was the total contained rare earths. Right. So that could be a little misleading for folks who don’t fully understand this market because if you look at length, right through to the bottom of the periodic table, the first few are what are called the light, whereas the latter part of it is the heavy, rare earth. One of the things that are most valuable about what we have is up to 28% or so of the contained rare earths in our mineralization are heavy, rare earths which are much more expensive, and harder to find. So it’s seriously one of those things that becomes a world-changing mine when we get into production.

David Blackmon [00:05:52] Yeah. And people here and I was one of them until I did some research a few years ago. People hear the term rare earth elements, but don’t know really what that is, what they’re used for, you know, and why they’re important to this energy transition. Talk about how these elements are used in really pretty much every gadget that we have in our homes and our cars, basically.

Christopher Messina [00:06:18] You bet. All advanced industrial processes, especially anything robot evolving around miniaturization, require these things. So a lot of them are presented many of them in a kind of most popularly understood as being permanent magnets as opposed to electromagnets for those who suffered through physics in high school. We’re not going to talk to you about the difference, but a permanent magnet is what it sounds like. It’s magnetized and it is permanently magnetized, whereas the electromagnet requires a flow of electricity to turn into a magnet.

Christopher Messina [00:06:47] So very briefly, if you were going to build a new plant to build tractors in, say, I don’t know, Moline, Illinois. Right. You could have a 75-ton electromagnet made of iron. Yes. Who cares? Because space doesn’t matter. You put it on the massive factory floor so it heats up into square feet as opposed to a centimeter. Who cares? But for anything that’s going on to a drone or a phone or a plane or a car or anything that moves. The power-to-weight ratio is really what matters, right? So the more power you get per kilogram of material in your state or a rotor in your engines, it’s more important.

Christopher Messina [00:07:26] So anything that requires mobility requires all these materials, things like the blades spinning on those massive wind towers. Right. If you try to make those that are still you literally couldn’t the size is too large and crumpled down to the ground. So things like are going to lithium go into hundreds of kilograms, go into each turbine blade to make them enough light enough and strong enough to actually perform their function.

Christopher Messina [00:07:51] So pretty much up and down the chain, whether it’s from magnets to alloys to colorants to glass dyes to anything that goes into any piece of that chain, whether it’s the battery storage, the electric distribution, the miniaturization of components. They all require these. And so you can see why demand is booming As high-tech gadgets become commonplace both in retail and in the business world. It just requires all of this. You need military equipment. You need this for guidance systems. The in the end, the ends to which the rare earth elements are put are almost limitless. And so sitting on top of this is better than a thousand times better than sitting on a gold mine.

David Blackmon [00:08:35] So, you know, the big problem here in the United States and for the perspective of what I do related to energy, these elements are obviously going to be crucial to the progress of this energy transition we’re on from fossil fuels and nuclear to renewables and electric vehicles. Frankly, I think that it’s more like an energy addition and an energy innovation than any kind of transition. But that’s another question. We’re going to have to have big quantities here in the U.S. and other parts of the Western world. These rare earth elements, enormous quantities.

Christopher Messina [00:09:10] Yup.

David Blackmon [00:09:11] And right now, China controls the supply chains for the most part of rare earth minerals right across the world. Yeah. And so obviously, why this is important at this. What I’m trying to get to for our viewers, why this is important to the United States is because here’s the biggest deposit on earth sitting on an island country right off the coast of North America.

Christopher Messina [00:09:37] Yes.

David Blackmon [00:09:38] And it’s free from any China entanglements right now. And so talk about why that’s so critical for the U.S. in this energy transition.

Christopher Messina [00:09:51] Here will get highlighted geopolitically. When I was talking to an old friend of mine a retired admiral in the US Navy, about this mine, where’s that mine again? And I pull up a map and I showed him. It’s on the southern tip of Greenland. He said, Oh, that’s ours. Right. So maybe in times of war, Greenland is basically in our sphere of influence and we control that between hopefully there’s no additional war, but that’s proven to be available.

David Blackmon [00:10:17] Let’s hope so.

Christopher Messina [00:10:20] Because of its location, it’s dead smack between Europe and the U.S. closer actually to Canada, the U.S., all of the material needs. I will give it I’ll give Deng Xiaoping this enormous credit. Right. He foresaw back in the eighties, as you said, you know, the Saudis have oil and China has had rare earth as rare. And the idea was that he foresaw correctly, that the massive development of industrial processes and the refinement of technologies were all going to trend toward the need for these materials in far greater amounts than were in demand in the eighties when he made that observation.

Christopher Messina [00:11:01] So I give him huge credit within his team for understanding that and for embarking upon a very mercantilist vision of making China a dominant player in that space. I think over time, that kind of dominant player perspective morphed into a desire for monopolistic control, whether accidentally, whether deliberate doesn’t really kind of matter. But the kind of perception of the Chinese government over time is one that’s a long story.

Christopher Messina [00:11:31] But part of the transition from Chairman Deng’s way of looking at the world to changing his way of looking at the world meant that there were a huge amount of competitive reasons to create an internal industry. I look at the way that the Chinese competed over the years into kind roughly two buckets, and it’s no secret I and against personal view what I would call kind of fair versus unfair competition. Their competition is they’re investing a huge amount of money into their internal industrial processes, right? They produce thousands of PhDs in chemical material science every year in comparison to the half dozen or so that we produce.

Christopher Messina [00:12:11] So if you’re investing your human capital in investing in your own industry, that’s great. Unfair would be more like, I don’t know, maybe pressuring people and dumping practices and driving prices down and world markets like, you know, kind of not exactly what you’d call fair, fair competition, but through both means, they have put themselves in a position where even when they stop demanding that they control the mind, the produce for hours, they shifted, I think, intelligently to the idea that they should control the processing.

Christopher Messina [00:12:41] So irrespective of where you produce, you write about parts of California owned by MP material. Their sole customer is China. They buy all of their output and then they turn it into oxides in China. And the major dynamic which has shifted in the last couple of years is even back in 2011, a lot of people will have remembered the bit of the dust-up over the Senkaku Islands is a territorial dispute about some tiny bits of rocks in the Japanese territorial waters. The Chinese retaliated and I think I’ve come to regret that because they showed a very heavy hand and they caused people to be concerned. Prices of some rare earths went up ten X in a week because they refused to keep shipping export to the South Korean industry and the rest.

Christopher Messina [00:13:27] So they both kind of, I think, in my opinion, blundered by showing a very heavy hand there. But they also emphasized to the rest of the world that they were willing to use these materials as a weapon, which again, we’ve just seen that rare recently. So I think long term as everyone calms down, it’ll be fine. But my last point is. The very evolution and successful evolution of their own internal industrial processes means that they don’t have to have a policy of not wanting to export material anymore because their own industrial internal processes by all their companies require all the material they’re producing. In fact, they are now going to very shortly be a net importer of rare earth materials.

Christopher Messina [00:14:07] And so the ability of tanneries to get online and provide to the market the vast amounts of production that are capable from our deposit, that means that we will very much shift the balance of market competitiveness to the West. We will have, you know, a Western-owned mine that produces the need certainly for North America and Europe at first and anyone else who needs it, obviously, in a way that’s kind of really hard to beat. We’ve got just the vast, vast deposit in comparison to what everyone else has.

David Blackmon [00:14:40] So talk about I mean, you’ve been of course, you’ve been working on this project for several years now. Talk about the roadblocks to getting this thing kicked off and moving toward production.

Christopher Messina [00:14:52] Well, I think that there are a few things that I only got involved with about seven years ago. So again, Greg Barnes put this in motion, a very experienced geologist, and exploration geologist who’s had a long and successful career with a lot of notable discoveries and things that were turned into companies. And he found this. And he, I think, realized this could be the crown jewel of a great career right after this port. A huge amount of his own personal wealth into it drilled a huge number of thousands of holes, 5000 assays, I think, you know, chemical tests, something like more than 1800 Ph.D. and academic papers have been written on the deposit is a very well-studied and characterized deposit.

Christopher Messina [00:15:32] And we got our exploitation license, which is for those that don’t really understand in any country and Greenland, you can get your exploration license, which is, yeah, please take some ground, go drill some holes or we find something. Right. But they get it exploitation license is a very long process and designed to make sure that the environment is looked at, social impact, employment, all that sort of stuff to make sure that, you know, Greenland will not suffer what has been called the resource curse, where countries who are not very well managed. Right. Yes.

Christopher Messina [00:16:05] See a lot of benefits go to foreigners who come in and just, you know, take take the resource in the Greenland Greenlanders to give it a lot of thought and they’ve got great mines to act that kind of balances the needs of the Greenlandic people, the trade treasury, the local workers, the environment and foreign capital. And that process took some time. So we finally got our exploitation license in 2020.

Christopher Messina [00:16:29] That was great. We actually found all the investment we needed in early 2020. And in an irony fit for the ages, the gentleman who was going to fund the project caught the COVID virus and died on April seven before I could fund it. So you just kind of can’t make that up.

David Blackmon [00:16:45] Yeah, you can.

Christopher Messina [00:16:46] Then we just had a bit of a delay. COVID, you know, it’s already thankfully in the rearview mirror, but it really slowed everything down. The idea was that people are going to be looking at some brand new project in the south tip of Greenland when they were still wondering whether they were going to have the cash flow to keep their offices open. Right. Everything slowed down. And now we’re back in the market and we’re starting to talk to investors about it.

David Blackmon [00:17:07] So what about the government, You know? I mean, we just had the passage of the Inflation Reduction Act last year, the infrastructure law, the year before that. There’s this perception that the federal government and its various agencies now have these big pots of money whose purpose is supposed to be to kickstart projects just like this one. Right. That would help the United States move ahead rapidly with this build-out of new green energy resources, solar and wind, electric vehicles, batteries, all of these things that require these rare earth minerals. So I’m sure you’ve had discussions with the government, you know, about accessing some of those stimulus resources, right?

Christopher Messina [00:17:55] Yes. Well, I refer back to that classic old Harvard Business School paper on the folly of helping for a while rewarding by paying for it. You know, we spoke to lots of folks, a lot of hard-working folks in the federal government who are trying to do the right thing, whether it’s defense through Ex-Im, right? Everyone’s focused and they are focused on getting things done. The overarching problem is how the U.S. federal bureaucracy has kind of grown in a sclerotic fashion that you’ve got, you know, 12 to 18-month budgetary cycles. The biggest risk that anyone will manage, which is which can also be true. The private sector is a personal career risk.

Christopher Messina [00:18:39] No one wants to be the face of the next Solyndra. No one wants to be the person that said yes to something that left a $200 billion hole in the public’s balance sheet. And so in theory, it sounds really great, but in practice, because. In this way, risk is allocated and judged. The U.S. federal government usually ends up giving money to companies that don’t need it because it’s safe. Really elevated like $40 million to a rare earth magnet project, which is co-owned by two massive corporations. One is, I think, a top 100 company in the nation that certainly didn’t need the $40 million, but it’s safe for them. And you could say that you’re stimulating.

Christopher Messina [00:19:23] So the only thing I would change in your initial question was you use the verb to kick start, which means to start something from the cold right to from nowhere to up there. Sadly, even though that might be their intent to them, I what people think they’re voting for in Congress when it gets to the bureaucracy if they grind through a very slow process, which even if the money comes, takes a year to two years.

Christopher Messina [00:19:48] So it is really I we work with the government a lot. I want to make it abundantly clear a lot of really smart people are moving mountains to try to get some tangible assistance for this project. But it’s just, you know, it’s like pushing molasses uphill in a snowstorm. And so is there a way to unlock those processes to say, look, you can actually venture capitalists and we’re going to put money into 50 projects, 20 are going to fail, that’s fine. You’re not going to get dragged across the goal because we know 20 NFL and ten are going to succeed and the others are going to middle along. Right. It going into it, everyone was handed that remit.

Christopher Messina [00:20:33] Well, then they are freer to act. And you look at a project you’ve spent five or five or six weeks would be a benefit. You know, on top of this multi-month process, which at the end is just pushing paper, you’re not getting any better due diligence by staring at the same Excel table for seven months. So if the government is going to get in space, in my opinion, they should just write checks because that’s how the Chinese are winning this resource war. They look at the data, they write a check.

David Blackmon [00:21:01] Have you been approached by anyone from a Chinese company about this resource? I mean, you would think this would fit right in with China’s Belt and Road Initiative.

Christopher Messina [00:21:10] There is global interest in what we have attempted, you know, So to the extent that anyone is it is in this faith and interested. Yeah, we get incomings from everybody. And there’s nothing you know, there’s nothing particularly wrong with having some kind of an arrangement. I work very positively use of Chinese companies over the years. In this instance, we were just kind of we are still focused on can we get this done, you know, with Western Capital, if it turns out that we have to or have to center on. If it turns out that the best path forward for the company is that there’s some arrangement with some Chinese offtake as well, it’s not the worst thing in the world. I would just question why it’s like pulling teeth with American investors when this is so obviously a valuable thing.

David Blackmon [00:22:04] Well, from a geopolitical standpoint, right. I mean, it’s obvious that from a strategic standpoint, this resource, China would love to be able to dominate that particular resource to maintain its dominance over the supply chains globally. I mean, it’s just it’s a no-brainer. Yeah. And you would think the Defense Department, you would think the Pentagon would would be pushing to secure this resource for the United States of America, wouldn’t you?

Christopher Messina [00:22:32]  You would think that. Again, it’s like Milton Friedman wrote about the fact that how is it that there are so many well-intentioned, intelligent people who go to Washington and make the world work and we end up with them as we have. It’s a fascinating question.

David Blackmon [00:22:51] It is.

Christopher Messina [00:22:52] A biological question more than anything. Right. If any one individual that I speak with in the Pentagon could wave his or her hand and fund it, I think we would have been funded. The Obama administration, we’ve talked to three administrations about this so far. I’ve got it. For anyone who cares. Right. Not at all. But yet you’ve got this bizarre system where you’ve got. People with, you know, high ranks, deep experience, and all the rest of it, who in the blink of a hat can invade a country and take it over in three days? Can’t seem to find money in the Pentagon couch cushions to fund something so obviously necessary to our national security. It’s a bit of a.

David Blackmon [00:23:31] It is baffling. I mean, my God, the Pentagon just found a $7.2 billion accounting error two months ago. So. Yeah.

Christopher Messina [00:23:38] Yeah. Well, if we could turn amortized capital costs into real cash, that would be a phenomenal trigger.

David Blackmon [00:23:45] It really would. It really would. What about private equity? I mean, I’m sure there’s a concern among private funders, potential private equity of one thing. For one thing, I can just think of off the top of my head, if you invest in this mine and start really producing the minerals at a rapid pace, you could potentially, I suppose, crash the price. For the elements themselves. Right. I mean so I’m sure there’s a concern, about that potential outcome anyway.

Christopher Messina [00:24:16] It’s an interesting idea. The growth curve of these things, by all accounts by multiple analysts. And it’s just such that I think even though our deposit is massive, I think it would take us ten years to get to a place where our annual output would begin to negatively impact prices. I really can’t see that happening. Make no mistake, we’ve been we’ve been approached dozens of times and a lot of these people suffer from what I call tanneries derangement syndrome. If you’re irrational, we would come to some agreement about a valuation that worked and we’d all go make a lot of money and we change the world.

David Blackmon [00:24:52] Right.

Christopher Messina [00:24:53] You know, trust many people daily who are basically like, give me the deposit and I’ll make sure your grandkids get a commission. I mean, it really looks ridiculous. And so this is a complete direct thumb in the eye, an insult to a lot of the private equity firms in America. You all know who you are for approaching the stupidest deals I’ve ever seen. Absolutely not. We would rather crawl along a little longer, cobbled together the capital from other sources, and get this thing going. We just get offered really, really, really stupid, unreasonable terms with $50 million went into this already and they treat it like this sort of speculative guesswork that they’re going to have to like to take a flier on. So we’re getting closer. I think we will find the money eventually based on a lot of the market conversations we’re having. Things just take time. But yeah, the short answer is we’ve got no shortage of interest. The interest just it’s stupid.

David Blackmon [00:25:47] Well, when we talked last week, you threw out this great idea that I would love to be the guy writing the story about if it were to happen, about putting together 20 oil guys right to task 1000000 to 10 million a piece to jumpstart this rare earth minerals mine that changes the world, right?

Christopher Messina [00:26:05] You bet. Best story ever told. Yeah, it would be. We’ve been having that chat with some oil and gas guys just recently, as you know. And they are there. They’re. They barely can stay on the phone. They’re laughing so, so hard. How that would go down like the entire energy transition has to be funded by the evil guys? Fantastic. So we’re at this point in the cycle, you know, we’ve all been at this for a long time. We’ve got a great team, including our CFO and others who raised large amounts of money and our careers. We’re going to get it done.

Christopher Messina [00:26:40] And a lot of the folks who are now expressing interest are expressing the correct kind of interest. So it’s not a matter of if it’s more a matter of when should be faster. I mean, the very fact of what we got and it is one of the if the dictionary had to choose a diorama of two to explain the phrase asset rich, cash poor, we’re there. We’ve got a phenomenal asset that a lot of investment.

Christopher Messina [00:27:07] You got a lot of thoughtful, intelligent people have been part of at this point. Just add money and we will build this thing and it will be the dynamism of growth for the people of Greenland. It’ll be a secure supply chain for massively needed materials. It’s not just for Earth. We have standalone zirconium and tantalum and niobium minerals as a standalone mine in the deposit. So we’ve got this polymetallic mineralization in a friendly jurisdiction with an encouraging government, with a great team ready to go, and really is just dead water.

David Blackmon [00:27:41] Couple more questions. You know, people hear these horror stories about the Chinese development of rare earth and how, you know, they have very low environmental standards and we have these enormous messes across the landscape. That’s not something that’s going to happen at this mine, right?

Christopher Messina [00:27:59] No, not at all. But quite the contrary. One of the things that it kind of astonishes me is that you know, otherwise thoughtful analysts should take this into account. When Deng was starting this rare earth push in 86, I think China is not the country it is today. A billion people were living on farms in the money. They have no jobs. They all were bicycles. They’re lucky to have a bicycle. So roughly speaking from an engineering perspective, every new industry that the Chinese were starting at that point in time was more focused on job creation than the return on investment. Right.

Christopher Messina [00:28:34] The exact opposite of where we are as a developed economy, where you want to make sure you’re doing the most efficient thing you possibly can. So, you know, just think of this thought experiment. If the engineer of the chemical processing plant, Ferraris, were presented with two different technologies by his engineers. Right. So with this process, we could use this thing that is really efficient and employ six people or this other thing that employs 700 people that need to sit there and constantly poke it once every 5 minutes. They chose the 700 job creators, and that just carried through. So the current way that they built a lot of these very expensive plans is very labor intensive.

Christopher Messina [00:29:13] And for a long time it’s like recently they apparently have gotten better, even if it’s lip service to environmental standards. It was about job creation. And so they did that. Whereas the process that we’re using the actual test plan for the final chemical processing of how we’re going to extract our final rare earth oxides, adequate concentrate of the test mill was done like in a strip mall in suburban Canada. So it’s no more dangerous than making soap.

David Blackmon [00:29:42] Yeah,.

Christopher Messina [00:29:42] So done correctly with correct environmental controls and correct, you know, basic standard Western ISO 2000 and over it is chemical handling processes. That’s perfectly fine and a lot cheaper to do than has historically been done. And I would say the last point is. Those who are invested in the current state of affairs like to use that scary sort of vision of environmental disaster as a way to prevent rare earth development in the West. Oh my God, it’s going to be horrible. Kids get severed heads feeling a fall off. No, no, it’s going to be fine. Don’t worry. Well.

David Blackmon [00:30:27] That brings me to another question. You talk about these elements going into the making of the blades under the wind when towers, you know, and it’s solar panels. I wonder, is it recoverable, and recyclable when those things have to be discarded? You know, I mean, right now they’re just kind of being piled up out in West Texas in landfills. But can you reprocess any of these kinds of elements? Elements? It may not be financially feasible, I guess. I just wonder if it’s possible.

Christopher Messina [00:30:59] Those are two questions. Many of them are it’s possible to take apart, you know, billions of cell phones at a time and extract out each bit of get lithium like it maybe is yet to be proven economical. And you know, I’m not going to throw shade at any of the efforts. A lot of people have tried to get into this idea of we’re going to recycle a lot of these materials. It’s very hard to speak in generalities like the blades, for example. There’s no proven way to do kind of on alloy that in a way that’s even remotely economically feasible. So what that means is on alloys, the word what’s that?

David Blackmon [00:31:39] What that means is with current technology as it sits today, what that means is the United States has to find more and more quantities of this stuff from things like the one you’re sitting on, right? You’re not going to be able to just take it back out of the wind blades and use it again.

Christopher Messina [00:31:57] And even if we could theoretically recycle a hundred feet or every single 100% of what has gone into our industrial products, which we can’t obviously even we could, that would not remotely meet growing demand, which is, you know, cumulative annual growth rates would be 12 and 30% depending upon the material stretching into decades ahead for the foreseeable future. So, no, there’s no way to recycle your way out of this problem.

David Blackmon [00:32:24] Okay, well, we’re running up against time. This has been a wonderful discussion and I want to keep up with you. Please update me. Any time you reach a key milestone in the project, I’d like to have you back on to talk about it again. Write more about it. And all I ask is if you put together a deal with a 20-year-old man to kick this thing off, please let me know so I can be the one that breaks the story.

Christopher Messina [00:32:50] You bet you guys have covered. Right? So, David, thank you so much for taking the time. I’m glad you kind of get a grip on just how critical this is to the economy and national security. And you bet you get exclusive coverage on the coup. We land the oil barons as our backers.

David Blackmon [00:33:08] All right. My editors at Forbes will appreciate it.

Christopher Messina [00:33:12] I appreciate that. So thanks so much for your time.

David Blackmon [00:33:15] All right, man, Thank you. Thank you. And thank you to our extraordinary producer, Eric Parel to the Sandstone Group for hosting our podcast, and the U.S. Oil and Gas Association for being our sponsor. I’m David Blackmon. And that’s all for now.

 

 

 

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