It seems like there’s not much hope for Mt. Hope in Nevada. A brave group of American farmers and ranchers (and so far, Eureka County, NV) are all that is standing between our valuable American resources and water rights, and a Chinese company that has taken a $745 million loan from a bank fully owned by the Chinese Government.
Mt. Hope is about 23 miles northwest of Eureka, NV, and contains the world’s largest and highest grade undeveloped molybdenum project, the Mt. Hope Project.
What is molybdenum? It has the 6th highest melting point of any element, and is used in nuclear reactors, high temperature superalloys, aircraft parts, electrical components, high strength steel alloys, high pressure and high temperature applications, medical applications, gas and oil pipelines to prevent leaks, and as a catalyst in oil refining. It is also a catalyst in liquefaction (helping refiners meet EPA and EEU pollution emission standards) and co-processing, the process of liquefaction of tires and plastics. Demand is increasing in the green industry since it’s used in the production of pipes and tanks that transport biofuels, which are corrosive. Molybdenum is also used in thin film CIGS solar panels, which are less expensive than traditional solar cells.
General Moly is 25% owned by Hanlong USA Mining, a subsidiary of Sichuan Hanlong Group, a Chinese “private enterprise.” Sichuan Hanlong Group recently received a $1.5 billion loan from the Export-Import Bank of China (China Eximbank) to support its investments in overseas mining opportunities, with $745 million towards General Moly. The Export-Import Bank of China is fully owned by the Chinese government and under the leadership of the State Council. It’s a “government policy bank.” Hanlong mining’s website states “China is on a long term growth path to becoming the world’s largest economy” and that Hanlong is “undergoing a period of rapid international expansion.”
China is securing molybdenum resources. China has been the world’s largest producer of molybdenum, supplying almost a third of global supplies. Increasing global demand may prompt China to restrict exports. This may cause the price of molybdenum to rise significantly. In October, 2010, China’s Ministry of Land and natural Resources declared molybdenum a strategic metal.