A very Happy New Year to MMTA members everywhere.
As many of you may have read, here in New Year we are currently experiencing something called a “bombogenesis event”, aka Winter Storm Grayson. It appears that bombing cyclogenesis, or bombogenesis, occurs when there is drop in pressure of 24 millibars over 24 hours.
According to the Weather Channel here, “Grayson’s central pressure dropped 59 millibars, or 1.74 in Hg, over a 24-hour period between 10 a.m. EST Wednesday and 10 a.m. Thursday, more than doubling the requirement.”
So, what’s it like? Brisk (≈ 25°F), a smattering of snow (over 6”), and bracing winds (22 mph). It was certainly a wee challenging walking the usual two and a half miles to work at 0630 hrs this morning.
Things here, except on a political front, have been pretty quiet, what with the holidays and the chilly (and somewhat debilitating) weather. Apart from the markets soaring to new highs, the volatility in them remains incredibly low. So who knows what 2018 is going to bring.
We do know, however, that this year should bring considerable largesse for those involved in defense. December 12th, 2017 marked the signing into law by President Trump of the National Defense Authorization Act for ﬁscal year 2018. This huge defense bill authorizes everything from military end strength to troop pay raises in ﬁscal 2018. According to Military.com, it “authorizes about $700 billion for the Defense Department, including $634 billion for the base budget and $66 billion for the war budget .”1
The signed act actually did end up containing at least one speciﬁc item that may be of interest to some members. Back in October last year I wrote about US Congressman Duncan Hunter and the bill he was promoting (H.R.1407 – METALS Act).2 This proposed establishing a Strategic Materials Investment Fund for, amongst other things, the purpose of “developing new technologies for the more efﬁcient smelting, sintering, leaching, processing, separation, beneﬁciation, or production of strategic and critical materials.”
Whether taking the lead from Congressman Hunter, or just as part of the political process, TITLE XLII—Research, Development, Test, and Evaluation (under “END ITEM INDUSTRIAL PREPAREDNESS ACTIVITIES”) of the new act (now Public Law No: 115-91) authorizes some US$5 million to be spent on: “ Development of improved manufacturing technology for separation, extraction, smelter, sintering, leaching , processing, beneﬁciation, or production of specialty metals such as lanthanide elements, yttrium or scandium.” I have yet to discover deﬁnitively to whom this money will go, but it will most probably be the U.S. Army Research Laboratory. And I suppose even such a vanishing amount (compared with the act’s whole authorization) is better than nothing.
The act is, as you can imagine, somewhat long. So perhaps it is not surprising that, prior to signing the bill and after having praised the “[b] rand-new, beautiful equipment [that] is on its way — the best you’ve ever had by far. We make the best in the world, and you’re going to have it”, President Trump ended his short speech thus: “I won’t be showing all of this to everybody, believe it or not. That’s a lot of pages. That is a lot of pages.”3 Indeed!
For those members either in Russia or thinking of visiting Moscow in September next year, there looks to be a really interesting conference there on the 3rd through to the 7th: The International Conference on Magmatism of the Earth and Related Strategic Metal Deposits, which will be held at Vernadsky Institute of Geochemistry and Analytical Chemistry of Russian Academy of Sciences, Moscow, Russia.
According to the conference’s site, it will be focused on several research areas:
- Ore deposits of strategic metals: genetic models and patterns of location.
- Geochemical and petrological features of alkaline, basic and granite magmatism in various geodynamic environments.
- Mantle sources and processes controlling genesis of ore-producing magmas.
- Theoretical and experimental modeling of mantle processes and mineral associations.
- Applied and technical mineralogy of critical metals, mineral processing, etc.
- Modern analytical technics and its application to the geochemistry, mineralogy and petrology.
I think it looks fascinating.
In the meantime, however, as always, I remain, with best wishes from New York
January 4th, 2018 ©2018 Tom Butcher
Tom Butcher is an Associate Director at Van Eck Associates Corporation (“VanEck”). The views and opinions expressed herein are the personal views of Tom Butcher are not presented by or associated with VanEck or its afﬁliated entities.