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Rare Earth Elements, as defined by the IUPAC, are a collection of seventeen chemical elements in the periodic table, specifically the fifteen lanthanides plus scandium and yttrium (source: Wikipedia). As any good geologist would tell you, REEs are in fact not that rare at all. The earths crust is abundant with these minerals and they can be found in all regions of the globe. What makes them rare is their abundance in concentration, most Rare Earth deposits are highly disseminated, or dispersed, within the crust. Therefore, finding and locating an economical concentration of these elements can be highly profitable.

TVs, laptops, cell phones, ipads. All of these hot tech devices require REEs. Moreover, Rare Earths actually play a fundamental role in the development of renewable energy, hybrid vehicles, clean air and carbon emissions control. We utilize these elements in the development of batteries, motor magnets, hydrogen storage, infrared lasers, computer memory, ceramic materials, and countless other applications. Up until now, China has largely controlled the distribution of these elements.

I find it ironic that REEs are what is driving the renewable energy movement. In essence, we must mine the surface of the earth to develop more efficient motors and electric lights. Wind turbines, solar panels, hybrid car batteries and fiber optics all seem “green” to the consumer but the reality is all of these technologies require an increase in mining for REEs.

What’s important about all this is that just this week China announced that it will be limiting its Rare Earth exports to the US and Europe and thereby setting off alarms in the manufacturing sector, an industry that heavily relies on REEs.  (See also: China to Tighten Limits on Rare Earth Exports).

In light of this news, this week I have chosen to highlight a Canadian Rare Earth company that I believe has some excellent prospects and the potential to do very well in 2011.

Canadian International Minerals (TSX.V:CIN) is a mineral exploration company focused on the development of Rare Earth Elements (REEs) primarily in British Columbia but also in other regions across Canada.

Some things I like about CIN:

  • Canadian International Minerals is awaiting rare earth assay results for the recently completed drilling on its Carbo Property in British Columbia.
  • Trenching is underway on the Dead Horse Creek rare earth property in Ontario.
  • The Copper Mountain property is in a copper camp that produced 1.42 billion pounds of copper, 8.5 million ounces of silver and 499.5 thousand ounces of gold between the years 1908 to 1996.

Right now Michael Schuss, President and CEO of CIN is in Norway discussing a deal with a major silicon producer called Elkem. Look for news in the next few weeks on assay results, likely to be out before the 21st of January, just in time for the next major mineral symposium in Canada: Roundup.

Disclaimer: I hold shares in CIN.

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The explosion and subsequent fire at Canadian Natural Resources Limited’s (TSE:CNQ) Horizon oil sands operation this week was sensationalized by the Alberta and the Canadian press, but look around the US and international news networks and you will find little if any information about this.  Even CBC tried to make a story out of this.

But does this really come as a surprise to anyone? Before the accident CNRLs Horizon Oil Sands was producing around 90,000 bbl/d, roughly 6% of the surface minable oil sands in the region and about 10% of the countries synthetic crude oil.  Since news of this explosion oil has risen by about 1.2%, a change that many in the Canadian press attributed to this disaster. Is it possible though that oil merely rose because of a leak in the Trans-Alaska Pipeline? Or because Obama is continuing to push offshore drilling reform?

Oil is going up. At the time of writing this article oil is $91.20. While I don’t believe oil will reach $150 by late 2012, I do think we will see strong growth from the energy sector this year. As one of my favorite bloggers, Mitch at BeatingTheIndex, puts it: “oil is on the path of growth for the next decade” and I just so happen to agree.

Today CNRL released a statement indicating its upgrader may work at half capacity by operating two of its four coke drums.

So…did you get in at $40? Even now CNRL (TSE:CNQ) is trading at $42.25, still a bargain in my opinion.  CNRL is a diversified oil company with operations throughout AB and BC as well as strong assets in the North Sea and offshore Africa. I would consider CNRL a strong buy and I would not be surprised to see it topple $50 by the end of the year.

Disclaimer: I do not own shares of CNQ.

I read alot of financial blogs and I see that many of the bloggers like to have a friendly competition in picking top performing stocks for the year. I’m new to the world of blogging so I certainly don’t expect to be included in the challenge, but I thought that I might make some predictions for my own sake, something to look back on a year from now.

My top stocks for 2011 are as follows:

1. Canadian International Minerals (TSX.V:CIN) – Canadian REE play
2. Powertech Uranium Corp. (TSX.V:PWE) – USA Uranium play
3. Fortune Minerals Ltd. (TSX:FT) – Canadian Gold (and Coal) play
4. Reliable Energy Ltd. (TSX.V:REL)  – Canadian Oil play

Yes these are all small cap stocks. Yes they are in the resources sector. It is my belief that we will experience huge growth in these industries in 2011, specifically in the energy sector. I will expand more on these companies individually over the next week.

Some other bloggers picks to keep an eye on:

Intelligent Speculator
The Wild Investor
Million Dollar Journey
Beating The Index
Dividend Growth Investor

…and many many others that I encourage my readers to explore through the links above.

May it be a prosperous year for us all.

Disclaimer: I own shares in CIN, PWE, FT and REL.

Calgary, AB

Home to some of the worlds largest and most productive energy companies in the world.

As a young industry professional living in cowtown, I am here to give my two cents, or maybe just ramble, about our economic outlook, possibly provide some insight on new investment opportunities, and to discuss any non-sense related to how things are done in this beautiful city and country of ours.

Feel free to check out my About Me section to learn more.  Happy reading.

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