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Alberta Metal Sands

Bigger than the Oil Sands

Written by Nick Hodge
Posted April 26, 2012

I hope you remember what the discovery of the oil sands did for Alberta — and for a tiny company called Suncor...

Because it's about to happen again.

If you don't remember, let me refresh your memory...

It took 250 years after the area was first discovered by a fur trader for the oil sands to be commercially produced.

They were studied, tested, evaluated, and probed.

Then finally, in 1967, a company called Great Canadian Oil Sands used chemicals to separate the oil from the sand.

You know that company today as Suncor (NYSE: SU). Here's a look at its stock chart:


Say you bought $10,000 worth of Suncor back in April 1994...

You know how much that would be worth today? More than $710,000!

The chance to make that much from the Alberta oil sands is gone forever.

But the unknown Alberta metal sands are about to deliver investors similar riches...

Discovering the Alberta Metal Sands

It was last summer when I started hearing rumors about a new kind of massive mine in Canada, situated right next to the oil sands in Alberta.

But this wasn't an oil mine...  

It was a metal mine — one that contained nearly a dozen metals, including millions of pounds of expensive resources like lithium, uranium, and rare earths.

It wasn't oil, but the type of deposit was the same as the oil sands... These metals were right on the surface in soft shale, just waiting to be taken.

In total, billions of pounds of highly sought after metals are in this soft soil right on the surface...

And no one was talking about it.

So I used my industry connections to contact the man who found the mine, and I set up a trip to see it for myself. I booked a flight and chartered a private helicopter to take me to the mine.

After my trip, I compiled all my footage, pictures, notes, and data...

And I started crunching.

When I was finished, I deduced the mining parcel I visited contained over 610 million pounds of metals.

I calculated the value for each of the metals in the mine...

$604.8 million worth of molybdenum...

$737.6 million worth of nickel...

$226.5 million worth of lithium...

And on it went, for each of the numerous metals in the mine, including rare earths.

I can't tell you how stunned I was when I was finished.

The metals in this one parcel were worth at least $5 billion.

Yet the market was valuing the company that owned it at less than $10 million — several hundred times less than it's worth.

It was one of the biggest pricing mismatches — and most interesting stories — I had ever come across.

Several Months Later...

It's been seven months since I toured the mine.

Since then, the company has continued to study the five other mine parcels I didn't get a chance to visit, slowly proving the amount and value of the metals in the soft shale of its 600,000-acre property.

As the reports are released, the amount and value of the resource only continues to grow.

We now know this company has over 1.4 billion tons of recoverable metals worth $75 per ton.

That's verified... in the books... guaranteed.

At that level, this company is worth more than $100 billion. And there are still more mining parcels to explore. 

It's quickly shaping up to me a bigger investment story than the oil sands... and could literally be supplying the world with metals for the next century.

That's why I'm finally starting to see “major” news outlets catch on to the story.

Reuters recently ran an article saying this company “could one day revolutionize base metal mining by allowing ore to be pulled out of shale deposits that were once impossible to tap.”

It also said the mine is “big enough to produce metals for decades, and processing is cheaper than the traditional smelting method.”

The Calgary Beacon calls it a "super-mine with the potential to generate billions of dollars in wealth for generations to come."

I want to show you more about it now — before anyone else has a chance to learn about the opportunity or buy shares.

So exactly how much wealth are we really talking about here?

Let me put it this way: Right now, the total value of all of this explorer's metals exceeds its market cap by over 74,379%.

And that's from just one of six mining parcels! 

This, without question, is the kind of once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that could shower life-changing wealth upon every investor who gets in on the "ground floor."

I'll show you how to make sure you're one of them in just a moment...

But first, let me tell you the amazing story behind this explorer's game-changing technology — and the metals it's set to reap right from the surface of this massive property.

Why Mining Will Never, Ever Be the Same

You see, it wasn't so long ago that nobody thought the metal wealth spread across this vast terrain would ever be recoverable... even though much of sits right on the ground.

In fact, just a few years ago, you wouldn't have been able to recover any of these metals if your life depended on it.

Sounds strange — until you understand why: All of this metal is locked in black shale deposits, raw organic material fused from pressure at the ocean's floor millions of years ago.

alberta black shale

And because all these metals are of such a low grade — dispersed so finely throughout so much shale — it was considered too difficult and costly to extract them when they were first found here in 1995.

But all of this is about to change (and as you'll see, it already has changed)aes image                                                  
Because just as new technology enabled explorers to finally liberate petroleum locked within the oil sands, so too will it unlock a metal mother lode ready to feed the entire world for centuries to come — and make early investors richer than Midas.

Yet, that's only part of what has me so excited.

You see, it's not just that this new technology will finally set free so much wealth...

It also stands to turn the entire mining industry upside down... making it much cheaper, cleaner, and safer for everybody — even eliminating CO2 emissions.

And most incredibly of all: It promises to do this using only air, water, and microbes!

This might sound crazy, like something out of science fiction, but the truth is that this revolutionary process for extracting the most difficult-to-reach metals works.

How can I make such a claim?

Because it's being used right now — and has already made many investors a tidy fortune.

The Mine that Almost Never Was

To understand how, all you have to do is go back to October 1, 2004, when the European Commission's 6th Framework Program launched its own metals recovery project.

You see, Europe is the largest importer of ore in the world, needing 150 million metric tons of it each year.

And located deep within the frozen wilderness of Finland laid 340 million metric tons of nickel, zinc, copper and cobalt — all locked within the world's largest black shale deposit.

Since 1980, different companies had tried grinding, crushing, and treating the ore surrounding these metals... but to no avail.

It was maddening.

Of course, the Europeans could have extracted the metals if they really wanted to — but that would've required using large amounts of arsenic and cyanide to liquefy them, thus risking the poisoning of vast swaths of soil, rivers, lakes, and streams.

In fact, extracting metals this way is so deadly and dangerous that it’s already banned in several American states and many countries around the world.

Then there’s the traditional method of metal extraction used for hundreds of years: smelting.

Again, the problem with this is that the metals were so low-grade that it would have been nearly impossible to build a smelting plant big enough to extract them. And even if they did have the money and technology to build one, they’d be faced with another problem: massive, ungodly amounts of poisonous sulfur dioxide fumes spewing into the air.

What Europe desperately needed was a way to get to these metals that was clean, safe, and cheap.

A tall order — and a seemingly impossible one...

But one company had the answer.

Free Labor from Mother Nature

In fact, it had been working on one since 1987.

And the solution they came up with is breathtaking in its elegant simplicity.

Instead of using heavy and expensive machinery or dangerous chemicals to release the metals, they found a source of free labor provided by Mother Nature herself: local bacteria from the ground that can eat right through the ore!

Now, truth be told, this novel method of extracting metal had been used here and there since the 1970s... but never on such a massive, industry-wide scale.

And that was the challenge: finding the right species of bacteria from the soil with the ability to liberate 340 million metric tons of precious metals.

It took years of studying and experimenting with different strains of bacteria...

But after the turn of the 21st century, Talvivaara Mining (TLV.L) had finally done it — and caught the attention of the European Commission.

So in October 2004, they joined forces with eight countries, seven universities, and the Geological Survey of Finland to begin work on what would be the world's cleanest, most energy-efficient mining project ever.

In July 2005, the first ore samples were mined, crushed, and mixed with the bacteria at a demonstration plant.

The result: Just 27 months later, 78% of the metals were recovered!

It was an astonishing success that convinced everybody the construction of the mine must move full speed ahead.

Now, before I reveal the ultimate outcome of this massive, unprecedented undertaking, let me show you exactly how this "natural extraction" process works:

First, the ore is extracted, crushed and stacked inside of a heap pad. Then bacteria are sprinkled onto the ore. 

Low-pressure fans supply the bacteria with air from outside. Up above, water sprays down, washing it into the ore.

leaching process

Once inside the ore, the bacteria begin eating away at it, bit by bit.

After the ore is eaten away, chemical wastes released by the bacteria liquefy the remaining metal...

The resulting solution is then collected in a pond outside the heap and sent to a plant where the metals are recovered.

Afterward, the solution is recycled and sent back to the heap, where the process can begin all over again.

(And remember, as the bacteria consume the ore, they also consume the carbon within it — meaning no CO2 emissions!)

Does this sound too... simple?

That's precisely the beauty of it. It's a natural process that takes natural decomposition and accelerates it. That's all.

Clean, simple, cheap, and efficient — the mine of the future.

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Nick Hodge

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Nick is the founder and president of the Outsider Club, and the investment director of the thousands-strong stock advisories, Early Advantage and Wall Street's Underground Profits. He also heads Nick’s Notebook, a private placement and alert service that has raised tens of millions of dollars of investment capital for resource, energy, cannabis, and medical technology companies. Co-author of two best-selling investment books, including Energy Investing for Dummies, his insights have been shared on news programs and in magazines and newspapers around the world. For more on Nick, take a look at his editor's page.

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