Anyone know Malcolm Preston at Pricewaterhousecoopers?

If so, could you get him to contact me?

For somewhere in the PWC system there is a gremlin conspiring to make him look like an idiot.

Rare earth metals scarcity: A ‘ticking timebomb’ for the world, asks PwC?

This has gone out over the wires, as the previous post shows picked up by the Telegraph and there are others as well.

Their list of \”metals\” which might become in short supply are:

Among the minerals & metals on the ‘critical’ list are:

  • Beryllium: used as a lightweight component in military equipment and in the aerospace industry. it is used in high-speed aircraft, missiles, space vehicles and communication satellites.
  • Cobalt: a material used in industrial manufacturing. Used in jet turbine engines and automotive rechargeable batteries.
  • Tantalum: used in mobile phones, computers and automotive electronics
  • Flurospar: used in construction, cement, glass, iron and steel castings.
  • Lithium: used in wind turbines and lithium-ion batteries in hybrid cars

None of these are rare earths.

So, once he\’s paid me to sub his report and PR pieces properly for him he can then pay me again to point out where vast quantities of all of these materials can be found (except perhaps fluorspar, which is indeed a toughie, but it\’s not even a damn metal).

This blog has enough readers in The City that someone must know him and be able to point him my way.

Update: And I\’ve managed to find his contact form on the pwc site. Does me good to sneer at someone first thing in the morning I must say.

11 thoughts on “Anyone know Malcolm Preston at Pricewaterhousecoopers?”

  1. You don’t even need to be a specialist to know that lithium and cobalt are easily obtained. Having any sort of general knowledge, especially in science, will do. Or access to Wikipedia. Am I such an outlier for fact-checking everything I write before it goes out?

  2. Yes – noticeable that the actual release body doesn’t make that mistake. Knowing PwC, Preston will have signed off on the PR copy, but possibly failed to notice the PR bunny’s headline.

    The question of whether lithium and cobalt are easily obtained is irrelevant – PwC surveyed manufacturing bosses, and the survey panel told PwC that they were worried about supplies of them.

    So Tim should probably shift his consulting efforts to the companies who use the minerals in question and think they’re going to run out, rather than the people who’ve reported those beliefs…

  3. Hey, I started my career at PWC and Tim, I have to tell you, those folks don’t look like idiots… they are idiots.

    They thought hiring me was a good idea, right?

  4. Further to Dennis’s remarks about PwC and idiocy: wasn’t PwC the auditor to Northern Rock and failed to notice that NR’s loan book wasn’t as solid as it might have been?

  5. I’m sure “rare earth” just sounded cool.

    I’m surprised they don’t mention the only metal that really is in short supply (or was back when we were buying several dozen tons of it in the form of cable) which is copper. It’s one of the very few where there really are supply constraints, it’s very useful, and there really aren’t any good substitutes. Lucky it’s so easily recycled. Or stolen, but that’s another story.

    I remember in maybe 2006 when we were getting quotes for cable the validity period from manufacturers was 24 *hours*. They were updating their prices daily based on the copper spot price (or more correctly I suppose the option price so they could lock in their supply 5 minutes after you placed an order). I haven’t been in that market for a while so I don’t know if it’s quite so volatile these days, or whether that’s still standard practice.

    By comparison fibre optic cable at the same time was being quoted at 30 days validity.

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