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The Dean’s List: What copper company could benefit from Canada’s commitment to critical minerals?

Part 4: Foran Mining Corporation

It’s time for another installment in our series that looks at Canadian companies in the mining sector that could be impacted by Federal and Provincial government announcements with respect to critical materials, supply chain, EV battery manufacturing, etc. As a reminder the province of Ontario first announced in March its strategy for ‘critical minerals’ followed shortly by a C$4.9 billion electric vehicle battery plant in Windsor, Ontario. In April the Federal Government got on board with it’s Budget 2022 proposing up to C$3.8 billion in support over eight years to implement Canada’s first Critical Minerals Strategy. The Fed’s followed this up in late June with a House of Commons Standing Committee on Industry and Technology report entitled: Positioning Canada as a Leader in the Supply and Processing of Critical Minerals. And then in mid-July, a new C$1.5 billion battery materials facility was announced for eastern Ontario in a deal that sees Umicore, a Belgium multinational corporation, planning to transform metals such as nickel, cobalt and lithium into cathode active battery materials.

With announcements like this coming fast and furious one can hope that there is follow through on all of this potential and numerous Canadian mining companies can take advantage of this positive momentum. On top of all this, there was some big news out of the U.S. this weekend that could also have a trickle down affect to Canadian miners. With the Senate passing the Inflation Reduction Act, the Bill includes requirements for domestic manufacturing of EVs and their battery components to qualify for tax credits. As written, the law requires that 40% of battery components be sourced from factories in the U.S. or its free trade agreement partners (that would definitely include Canada), and that Chinese components and minerals be phased out beginning in 2024. The landscape is beginning to look outright bullish for North American purveyors of all these critical minerals.

Up to this point in this series, I had been focused on Ontario-based companies, simply because that province appears (to me) to have the best critical minerals plan and is also the heart of vehicle manufacturing in Canada. However, in light of the latest U.S. development and another piece of news out yesterday, I’ve decided to venture into Saskatchewan for today’s offering. Foran Mining Corporation (TSXV: FOM | OTCQX: FMCXF) just announced it has entered into a non-binding term sheet with Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan Board (Ontario Teachers), which contemplates a transaction that could see Ontario Teachers’ invest up to C$200 million in the 100%-owned McIlvenna Bay copper project.

McIlvenna Bay is a copper-zinc-gold-silver rich volcanic-hosted massive sulphide (VHMS) deposit intended to be the center of a new mining camp in a prolific district that has already been producing for 100 years. McIlvenna Bay sits just 65km West of Flin Flon, Manitoba, is located entirely within the traditional territory of the Peter Ballantyne Cree Nation and is the largest undeveloped VHMS deposit in the region. The Company announced the results from its Feasibility Study on February 28, 2022, outlining an 18-year mine life producing an average of 65 million pounds of copper equivalent annually. That Feasibility Study indicates an initial capital cost of C$368 million, which means it appears they are already over half way there as far as financing this domestic copper supply.

Over and above all the generally bullish news currently out there regarding critical minerals, Foran Mining has a couple of unique characteristics that make it stand out to me. First is location. Saskatchewan is one of the world’s top mining jurisdictions and with the property being entirely located on the Peter Ballantyne Cree Nation, it triggers one priority found in the House of Commons Standing Committee on Industry and Technology report which recommends that the government provide incentives to ensure that the development of a new mine also establishes a value-added industry in the region where it is located and introduces initiatives to encourage Indigenous peoples to fully participate in the mining sector. Perhaps it’s a bit of a reach but I suspect Foran could tap into some funding from the Federal government if they play their cards right.

The other interesting aspect of the McIlvenna Bay project is Foran’s objective to build the mine based on the Company’s carbon neutrality goals and initiatives, part of a broader mission to create a blueprint for responsible mining that is upheld as leading practice globally. To show they are serious about this undertaking, Foran has already announced an agreement with Sandvik to supply initial underground equipment for development at its McIlvenna Bay project. The initial equipment order includes battery electric underground drills, trucks, and loaders that will be used for the mine’s development and production activities. Clean power is provided by two nearby hydroelectric dams to reduce operational emissions and a state-of-the-art tailings storage facility and paste backfill operation will reduce the carbon footprint and greatly reduce environmental impact. I have to believe that as the push for domestic supply chains of critical minerals evolves, the potential source’s carbon footprint will also play a role in who signs the best supply or offtake agreements.

I’m not sure if the phasing out of anything Chinese in battery components by 2024 was a late add to the US Inflation Reduction Act as a result of China’s military response to US House speaker Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan (likely not, but it’s fun to speculate). Regardless, there appears to be increasing tensions globally as the rest of the world figures out how far behind China they are when it comes to the resources and facilities required to combat climate change and reduce emissions without being mostly reliant on China. In the near term that appears to be good news for North American resource companies.

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Did you miss a previous edition? Check it out….

The Dean’s List – Part 3: What graphite company could benefit from Canada’s commitment to critical minerals?
The Dean’s List – Part 2: What nickel company will benefit from Canada’s commitment to critical minerals?
The Dean’s List – Part 1: What rare earths company will benefit from Canada’s commitment to critical minerals?




The Secret that Elon Musk and Twitter Share

Elon Musk reneging on a deal is hardly a shocker for me. I remember when he promised to only use US-based battery materials in his Teslas produced only in the States, and well – we told him that he couldn’t make this happen, but did it ever get him some attention. So, while it is incomprehensible to me what it must be like when you are the richest man on the planet, I have some insight into Elon’s autism spectrum disorder and how Twitter could still —- close their deal.

Elon has publicly described himself as having Asperger’s Disorder, which is defined as an autism spectrum disorder (ASD) …or was. The Asperger’s diagnosis only started being used by the medical professional in the mid-nineties. Later they would pop back and forth between Pervasive Development Disorder (PDD) and Asperger’s and that of course, became quite confusing to parents and educational facilities attempting to create infrastructure for the diagnoses. Today, Asperger’s is rejected by many physicians and simply referred to as ASD. While Elon has popularized this dated diagnosis and added some sizzle to Asperger’s, it is my opinion that this can be an extraordinarily debilitating life challenge that can make functioning in our society nothing short of brutal.

So, what is my secret for Twitter to pull this deal out of the flames?

A person with ASD is driven by attention. Most people are, however, what makes ASD individuals different is that they get a kind of high* from it. And the part of this equation that is critical in understanding ASD is that the high an individual derives from attention is indifferent to positive or negative attention.

What does this mean? While most people would feel threatened by a litigation suit over a ‘tousled’ $44B deal falling into the crapper, Elon is getting – what? He is getting the high-octane drive that he thrives on – he is receiving endless cavalcades of attention.

My advice to Twitter? It is simple. Call me and put together some of the brightest media minds in the nation to collaborate on how to make buying Twitter have more appeal (aka, higher levels of media attention) than losing it. As we can all see by the headlines, Elon is getting his thrill with the impact of saying no, and the reasons he is presently proposing are currently shielded by the pleasure of the raging media rivers of attention from the ability to be free from the types of horror any of the rest of us would feel if Twitter decided to sue any of us over the loss of a $44B deal.

I am not a scientist, but I am a mother of an adult that has ASD, and the word ‘high’ is the only way I can describe what I have seen in endless interactions with professionally diagnosed ASD individuals. And with this experience, I can bet that Elon is not stressed about the potential tens of millions in legal fees and if anything – I can also bet that Elon will be seeking the most decadent magnetic legal team for drawing more attention to guess who? Ah yes, Elon Musk.

At this moment in time, Twitter is the most powerful media platform that the world has ever seen, and it runs similar to an ASD mindset as it’s powered by energy — driven by attention. The more tweets, the more the news is deemed relevant, and Elon understands this, which is why he needs to nuke the fake accounts that throw off the algorithms that monitor our society’s pulse on what we believe matters versus what we believe does not.

And if Twitter can hang tough on the wisdom of understanding the ASD model, which innately they do — Musk is the perfect man to lead Twitter.




Canada gets it right with new critical materials report

Government report should be mandatory reading

 

Last week, Canada’s House of Commons Standing Committee on Industry and Technology issued a report entitled: “POSITIONING CANADA AS A LEADER IN THE SUPPLY AND PROCESSING OF CRITICAL MINERALS.” I urge everyone to read it. Canada is the leader in the Americas in the mining of the critical metals for EVs, and as this report shows it is embarked upon a government-supported and funded initiative to become a world class provider of not only the downstream end-user forms of those critical materials, but of the consumer products dependent upon them, such as EVs and the batteries they need as well as stationary storage batteries, and the rare earth permanent magnet motors that most efficiently propel EVs.

The report is, not “should be,” mandatory reading for the elected officials and bureaucrats of the USA, the UK, and the EU. Just go to the table of contents page, which has live links for each topic, and you have the outline of a textbook on the topic of “How can a government support the development of a domestic, world class, critical metals enabled high tech consumer industry?” Note well that China has already done this! The United States and Europe publish voluminous reports patting themselves on the back but showing no consultation with industry or finance whatsoever.  This Canadian report puts Canada at the forefront of a revolution in how a democracy can compete with an autocracy and can implement an industrial policy without falling into the “just throw money at a problem” mentality of the USA and Europe.

It has been said that to accomplish anything, you need people who come from a culture that honors work and expects results. This is no longer the culture in the United States, and this is why the United States cannot catch up with Asia in technological prowess or “reclaim” its former and rapidly fading lead. The rapid rise of Canada as a technology products powerhouse will also constrain American production, as Canada uses its own high tech raw materials domestically just as China does.

From the introduction to the Canadian critical materials report (p. 9)

The two American bubbles, the Hollywood fantasy culture and the Washington and coastal center cities’ economic fantasy, have combined to ensure the end of social mobility through economic improvement for any and all who try hard enough and to replace it with financialized fascism decorated with the appearance of social justice trumping merit and of selective “data”-based clueless illogic replacing scientific inquiry that has created a need to direct the energy economy to oblivion strictly to enrich an oligarchy.

Unlike the USA, Canada has a clean sheet, technologically. It has not lost its respect for merit-based scientists, and although badly infected by clueless social justice, its universities and government still retain a culture that values scientific accomplishment and is against man-made energy poverty (aka, the green new deal). American readers should note that Canadians use more energy per capita than Americans. Winnipeg’s climate is not like San Diego’s.

Thus, I am not surprised, and I have some pride (note: my parents emigrated from Winnipeg to Detroit in 1923-26 seeking the opportunities offered by the then “American dream” of social mobility) in the fact that Canada’s Parliament has the making and keeping of Canada’s standard of living for everyone a top priority. The Canadian dream is, in my opinion, today more viable than the fading American dream.

The founder of Amazon, Jeff Bezos, said last week of recent pronouncements by the White House: “It’s either straight ahead misdirection or a deep misunderstanding of basic market dynamics.”

Let me add that the U.S. government also has a deep misunderstanding of the technology of natural resource production and its limitations. Canada’s Parliament could give some good tips to the Americans.




Critical Minerals Corner, Jack Lifton and Byron King discuss the coming War for Green Energy

In this episode of the Critical Minerals Corner, Tracy Weslosky is joined by Critical Minerals’ industry expert and InvestorIntel Editor-in-Chief, Jack Lifton, and Critical Minerals Corner Co-Host & InvestorIntel Columnist, Byron King, to discuss how the world is heading towards an energy crisis as covered in Byron’s recent column published on InvestorIntel titled – Energy Rundown: 2022, A New Year of Living Dangerously.

In this InvestorIntel interview, which may also be viewed on YouTube (click here to subscribe to the InvestorIntel Channel), the panelists discussed how energy security ties in with economic development, and why the world is presently not in a position to reduce its dependence on fossil fuels to zero. They went on to discuss the global push towards green energy and electric vehicles, which has caused a significant increase in prices for critical materials such as lithium, nickel, and the rare earths. Explaining why there is “nothing green about green energy”, the panel also discussed solutions to the impending energy crisis.

To watch the full interview, click here.




Investors in Technology Metals for EVs, Be Very Careful What You Wish For in 2022

The one-dimensional talking heads (aka, the elected officials, lifetime appointed bureaucrats, and academic “advisors” who make their decisions based upon the requirements of lobbyists) of Washington, D.C., have started off 2022 by choosing winners and losers for the parts of their home markets served by the domestic American OEM automotive industry.  This is being done by fiat, not directly from the executive or legislative branch, but from the bureaucracy in the form of the Environmental Protection Agency, which last week decreed that all motor vehicles must have an average fuel use by 2026 of the equivalents of 55 miles per gallon of fossil fuel.

The consequences of this action, if it is not halted or overturned by the courts or a future election, will be catastrophic for the economy, because the only way such an edict could be fulfilled would be by the legerdemain practiced by the EPA when it measures the “range” of an electric vehicle without regard to its actual range in use real-time and under real conditions. In the world of EPA, an EV’s loss of 40% of range in cold weather and its loss of 30% in hot weather seem simply not to be taken into account. Nor is the shortened working life of a lithium-ion battery due to the degradation caused by “fast charging” taken into account.

The printing of money by the Federal Reserve and its spending by the economic-logic-free Congress has had a very foreseeable effect on the prices of critical metals required for the transformation of the fossil fuel powered vehicle industry to battery electric power. As investors watched the Chinese government’s fiats to its OEM automotive industry and anticipated the EPA’s actions, as a feature of the current administration’s commitment to the “greening” of the OEM automotive industry, they bid up the prices of the necessary critical materials for batteries and for electric traction motors for such vehicles to today’s very high levels. This has ensured that the non-Chinese automotive industry’s plans to produce and reduce the costs of batteries through economies of scale have been damaged fatally. The battery has been and remains the biggest cost of the parts needed to make EVs. The average EV sold in America in 2021 was $55,000 because of that. While an average ICE was $42,000. The national average income in the USA for a family of four is $64,000. Unless EVs for sale in America meet at least the average price for an ICE the price differential wipes out any possible fuel savings over the life of the vehicle.

The Washington one-dimensionals sort of figured this out, so they proposed, in the traditional way of politics, not economics, to give a “tax credit” of up to $12,500 to subsidize the price of EVs for American made vehicles made by “union” workers. Congressional phones rang and rang as those outside of the DC bubble told their elected officials that this “tax credit” was in fact a gift to the wealthiest Americas who needed it least. The subsidy for the moment has disappeared from the conversation in Washington, much to the dismay of the American OEM automotive industry.

Meanwhile, back in the former Motor City the remaining two American legacy car makers, neither of which is in the top five OEM auto producers in the world, announced that they would, between them, build 5 “Gigafactories” to make lithium-ion batteries. Recently one of them, General Motors, announced that it had made critical raw material and finished goods “arrangements” for the supply of its factories with American companies that have either not produced any such materials or are only in the early stages of doing so. The procurement officers of the two relatively small American OEMs do not seem to understand the time frames required to not just bring a mine into production but also to achieve the multiple downstream processing steps required to turn a mineral into a battery, a magnet, or a motor in large volumes with on-time delivery, to specification, and at an agreed price! While all of this detail is not being addressed, the commodity metals continue to increase in price putting the OEM automotive purchasing paradigm of long term (at least three years) pricing in the toilet. The price of batteries alone has increased 20% just in 2021. The OEM auto and truck markets in the USA are now in turmoil due to technology parts supply limitations. What will it look like when the supply of EV battery and motor metals is recognized as permanently in deficit? Costs to make EVs will continue to increase and make them increasingly unaffordable to all but the top earners.

If there is a stock market correction (aka, a crash) in metals in 2022, the far-sighted (aka Asian) battery makers who have done their part for pushing up raw material pricing by stockpiling lithium, cobalt, and the rare earths, thus, driving up the prices, could find their balance sheets corrected and be facing margin calls on their loans using lithium, et al., as collateral. The US OEM automotive industry will be facing a customer base that is reluctant to buy big ticket items if and when liquidity is under siege and government spending on necessary infrastructure for EVs in the US is reduced. Of course, non-producing auto factories will not need workers or parts either. Deflation could come and be worse than inflation.

I will end this essay on a positive note. There isn’t enough lithium produced today to satisfy even the most conservative estimate of EV demand in 2025 and there may never be enough produced to satisfy the most conservative demand for the 2030 model year. Even if lithium prices dip during a correction, I think they will bounce back enough to support good mining and refining projects. If there is such a dip, buy into the EV material’s supply chain markets then. If there is no dip, then hold on.




Critical Minerals Corner focuses on Copper with Jack Lifton, Claudia Tornquist and Byron King

In this episode of the Critical Minerals Corner, Tracy Weslosky is joined by Critical Minerals’ industry expert and InvestorIntel Editor-in-Chief Jack Lifton, Critical Minerals Corner Co-Host & InvestorIntel Columnist Byron King, and Claudia Tornquist, President, CEO, and Director of Kodiak Copper Corp. (TSXV: KDK | OTCQB: KDKCF). They spoke about the rising demand for copper and about how Kodiak’s copper projects will contribute to the North American supply chain.

In this InvestorIntel interview, which may also be viewed on YouTube (click here to subscribe to the InvestorIntel Channel), the panel highlighted the several decades of under exploration and underinvestment in the copper sector. They went on to discuss the global shift towards localizing the supply of critical materials and why it is critical to bring online new copper projects such as Kodiak’s MPD copper-gold porphyry project located in the safe and mining-friendly jurisdiction of British Columbia. With NYSE listed Teck Resources as the largest shareholder, Claudia went on to provide an update on Kodiak’s high-grade Gate Zone discovery at the MPD Project located in the vicinity of large producing copper mines.

To watch the full interview, click here

About Kodiak Copper Corp.

Kodiak is focused on its 100% owned copper porphyry projects in Canada and the USA. The Company’s most advanced asset is the MPD copper-gold porphyry project in the prolific Quesnel Trough in south-central British Columbia, Canada, where the Company made a discovery of high-grade mineralization within a wide mineralized envelope in 2020. Kodiak also holds the Mohave copper-molybdenum-silver porphyry project in Arizona, USA, near the world-class Bagdad mine. Kodiak’s porphyry projects have both been historically drilled and present known mineral discoveries with the potential to hold large-scale deposits.

Kodiak’s founder and Chairman is Chris Taylor who is well-known for his gold discovery success with Great Bear Resources. Kodiak is also part of Discovery Group led by John Robins, one of the most successful mining entrepreneurs in Canada.

To learn more about Kodiak Copper Corp., click here

Disclaimer: Kodiak Copper Corp. is an advertorial member of InvestorIntel Corp.

This interview, which was produced by InvestorIntel Corp., (IIC), does not contain, nor does it purport to contain, a summary of all the material information concerning the “Company” being interviewed. IIC offers no representations or warranties that any of the information contained in this interview is accurate or complete.

This presentation may contain “forward-looking statements” within the meaning of applicable Canadian securities legislation. Forward-looking statements are based on the opinions and assumptions of the management of the Company as of the date made. They are inherently susceptible to uncertainty and other factors that could cause actual events/results to differ materially from these forward-looking statements. Additional risks and uncertainties, including those that the Company does not know about now or that it currently deems immaterial, may also adversely affect the Company’s business or any investment therein.

Any projections given are principally intended for use as objectives and are not intended, and should not be taken, as assurances that the projected results will be obtained by the Company. The assumptions used may not prove to be accurate and a potential decline in the Company’s financial condition or results of operations may negatively impact the value of its securities. Prospective investors are urged to review the Company’s profile on Sedar.com and to carry out independent investigations in order to determine their interest in investing in the Company.

If you have any questions surrounding the content of this interview, please contact us at +1 416 792 8228 and/or email us direct at info@investorintel.com.




The Top 5 graphite miners to watch in 2022 as battery materials’ prices rise

2021 has seen key electric vehicle (“EV”) and battery metals lithium, cobalt, nickel, and neodymium/praseodymium (NdPr) prices all rise strongly. But what about graphite?

It is starting to look like graphite will be next and 2022 will be graphite’s year. As reported on December 15, 2021 by Reuters:

“China EV, battery makers grapple with graphite squeeze……Chinese producers have their work cut out keeping up with global demand for graphite, which has surged along with rapid growth in the battery market in recent years…..Consultancy Benchmark Mineral Intelligence [BMI] sees a roughly 20,000 tonne graphite deficit in 2022, versus a similar-sized surplus last year…..Top global EV battery maker Contemporary Amperex Technology Co Ltd (CATL) (300750.SZ) is “desperate” to secure supply of key ingredients such as graphite to keep up with rising orders, said a person with knowledge of the matter.”

Top 5 graphite miners to watch in 2022 (in alphabetical order)

  1. Leading Edge Materials Corp.
  2. NextSource Materials Inc.
  3. Syrah Resources Limited
  4. Talga Group Ltd.
  5. Triton Minerals Limited

Leading Edge Materials Corp. (TSXV: LEM | OTCQB: LEMIF)

Leading Edge Materials Corp. (“Leading Edge”) is a Canadian company focused on developing a portfolio of critical raw material projects located in the European Union.

Leading Edge 100% owns the producing Woxna Graphite mine and processing plant in Sweden. Woxna has a Total Resource estimate of 10.7 Mt Measured & Indicated @ 7.75% graphite plus 2.51 Mt Inferred @ 8.16% graphite.

Leading Edge plans to build a vertically integrated mine to anode material production capability, by producing coated spherical purified graphite anode material. The Company has completed a PEA (June 2021 PEA) on the mine to anode material project. The post-tax NPV8% is US$248 million with a post tax IRR of 37.4%, over a 15 year mine life. Initial CapEx is US$121 million. The 2021 PEA is based on 159,967 tpa of graphite production and 7,435 tpa of coated spherical purified graphite (“CSPG”) production. Leading Edge states: “Operating cost per tonne of coated spherical purified graphite (CSPG) of $2,519 after revenue credit from micronized graphite product vs forecasted selling price of $10,000 per tonne.”

Interestingly, Leading Edge 100% own the Norra Kärr REE Rare earths project (dysprosium, terbium, and neodymium/praseodymium (NdPr)) in Sweden which has a PEA completed. Plus they own 51% (option to increase to 90%) of the Bihor Sud Nickel Cobalt exploration stage project in Romania.

Leading Edge trades on a market cap of only C$56 million. Significant potential upside if they can succeed in their plans.

NextSource Materials Inc. (TSX: NEXT | OTCQB: NSRCF)

NextSource Materials Inc. (“NEXT”) is rapidly developing its 100% owned Molo Graphite Project in Madagascar. Financially boosted by serious investors and new Chairman Sir Mick Davis, NEXT’s Molo Graphite Project is fully funded to stage 1 production. The Project is designed with a modular approach in mind with the first stage production target of 17,000 tpa of flake graphite. Stage 1 construction is underway with mine commissioning expected in Q2 2022. NEXT has a 10 year 35,000 tpa binding-offtake deal with Thyssenkrupp Materials Trading.

Stage 2 expansion is undergoing a Technical study to assess a production capacity of at least 150,000 tpa.

NEXT is also working on a three-way collaboration to build a Battery Anode Facility (“BAF”) with a targeted commissioning for Q4 2022. Companies in the collaboration have supply links to Panasonic-Tesla.

NEXT trades on a market cap of C$296 million and certainly could be the “next” graphite producer.

Syrah Resources Limited (ASX: SYR)

Syrah Resources (“Syrah”) 100% own the world’s largest and lowest cost graphite mine known as the Balama graphite mine, located in Mozambique. It has a 50+ years expected mine life. The past year’s low graphite prices forced the mine to dramatically reduce output but in their September 2021 Quarterly Report Syrah stated: “Balama delivered excellent monthly operational performance for September 2021 with 15kt natural graphite produced at 85% recovery and C1 cash costs (FOB Nacala) of US$430 per tonne…..Strong growth in sales order book with more than 50kt of natural graphite sales orders in the December 2021 quarter, demonstrating robust underlying demand conditions and forward contracting.” So, production is ramping back up again and demand is now running in excess of supply.

Syrah is also working to become a vertically integrated producer of natural graphite Active Anode Material (“AAM”). Syrah has built a pilot AAM facility at Vidalia, Louisiana, USA. The facility has produced initial product samples that are being tested by potential off-takers. The initial stage plan is to ramp up to 10,000 tpa of AAM with discussions ongoing about a larger ramp.

Syrah Resources trades on a market cap of A$640 million. Certainly not a huge market cap for the world’s premier graphite producer. It looks like there are better times ahead for Syrah Resources.

Talga Group Ltd. (ASX: TLG)

Talga Group (“Talga”) 100% own a number of graphite projects located in northern Sweden. Their three advanced projects are Vittangi, Jalkunen and Raitajärvi. Combined they contain JORC resources of 55.3Mt @ 17.5% Cg for 9.7Mt total contained natural graphite. Permitting is underway at their leading Vittangi Project.

Talga has also developed a coated natural graphite anode product (Talnode®-C) and a graphene silicon composite electrode additive (Talnode®-S).

Talga has signed a non-binding LOI with LKAB and Mitsui for a potential JV and development partnership in the mine-to-anode production operation.

Talga Group trades on a market cap of A$472 million. One to watch.

Triton Minerals Limited (ASX: TON)

Triton Minerals (“Triton”) 100% own the Ancuabe Graphite Project in northeast Mozambique. The Ancuabe JORC Ore Reserve is 24.9Mt at 6.2% TGC for 1.544 million tonnes of contained graphite. The December 2017 PFS was based on 60,000 tpa production supporting a mine life of 27 years. The pre-tax NPV10% is US$298 million, and pre-tax IRR is 36.8%. Pre-production CapEx is estimated at US$99.4 million.

In 2019, China’s Jigao International Investment Development Co (a subsidiary of Jinan Hi Tech) invested $19.5 million into Triton Minerals to become a strategic partner. Ancuabe has received final approval for development (mining concession granted and environmental approval), and has ~50% of anticipated Ancuabe production secured by binding off-take agreements. Jigao is assisting with further off-take and Project funding.

Triton plans next to build a commercial Pilot Plant which can be ramped up into production in the near term to produce commercially viable quantities of concentrate to prove the viability of the Project.

Triton Minerals trades on a market cap of A$38 million. Triton did have a problem at their other project called Balama North Project (Nicanda Hill) (lost their lease) which may have hurt sentiment for the stock. Still looks very cheap with strong Chinese support and a low initial startup CapEx.

Other graphite related stocks to watch in 2022

  • NEO Battery Materials Ltd. (TSXV: NBM | OTCQB: NBMFF). Silicon anode and graphite-silicon anode company. You can read about NEO here.
  • Magnis Energy Technologies Limited (ASX: MNS) – Graphite development project plus Li-ion battery factories on the way.
  • Zentek Ltd (TSXV: ZEN) (formerly ZEN Graphene Solutions). A dynamic graphene/ nanotech/ health company. You can read a recent article here that discusses their amazing progress.

Closing remarks

2022 looks like being ‘graphite’s time to shine’ after many tough years. Assuming EV sales continue to grow strongly in 2022 then a graphite shortage looks likely. If this occurs, then it would not be hard to see graphite prices tripling in 2022, just as lithium prices have increased 5x in 2021.

The graphite producers with low costs, ability to rapidly scale production, and ideally offer value-added products should perform best. The graphite juniors that can rapidly progress their projects can also do very well.

Disclosure: The author is long Leading Edge Materials (TSXV: LEM), Syrah Resources (ASX: SYR), and Triton Minerals (ASX: TON).




Critical Minerals Corner: Jack Lifton & Christopher Ecclestone on the Rare Earths Market

In this episode of the Critical Minerals Corner, Tracy Weslosky is joined by Critical Minerals industry expert and InvestorIntel Editor in Chief Jack Lifton and Christopher Ecclestone, Principal and mining strategist at Hallgarten & Company about the demand and supply gap in the rare earths supply chain and about the key developments in the North American rare earths space.

In this InvestorIntel interview, Christopher went on to say that there are not enough players in the market to produce sufficient rare earths for the electric vehicle transformation. Jack further added that the only country self-sufficient in critical rare earths is China and explained why the US still lags far behind while Europe has already acknowledged the need for rare earths.

Disclaimer: This interview, which was produced by InvestorIntel Corp. (IIC) does not contain, nor does it purport to contain, a summary of all the material information concerning the “Company” being interviewed. IIC offers no representations or warranties that any of the information contained in this interview is accurate or complete. If you have any questions surrounding the content of this interview, please email info@investorintel.com.




CBLT’s portfolio of 9 now includes a lithium project in Manitoba

Lithium and cobalt are two of the key critical metals needed to power the electric vehicle (EV) revolution. As a result, companies that can successfully explore and grow a resource either of lithium or of  cobalt quickly become highly valued. Our company today, CBLT Inc., (TSXV: CBLT), already has several cobalt, exploration stage, projects in Canada, some gold opportunities, and now  a promising potential lithium project in Manitoba, Canada.

CBLT Inc. (TSXV: CBLT) announced to the market in February 2021 that it had acquired 100% of the Shatford Lake Property, located in the Winnipeg River-Cat Lake pegmatite field in eastern Manitoba. This Property had been previously explored for rare element containing pegmatites with historical mapping and drilling identifying multiple pegmatite dykes. Most of this prior work focused on the tantalum potential of the dykes and lithium was not analyzed for. Spodumene, the pre-eminent ore of lithium, however, was noted in an assessment report and provincial geologists also documented the presence of lithia mica.

The Shatford Lake Property lies just 5 km southwest of the well-known Tanco Mine. The Tanco Mine is a lithium-cesium-tantalum (LCT-type) pegmatite, producing cesium and tantalum. Lithium, beryllium and rubidium were also previously produced at Tanco. It was estimated back in 1991 that Tanco had lithium reserves of 7.3 million tonnes at 2.76% Li2O (a historical third party estimate). To put this in perspective, the world’s leading lithium spodumene mine in Australia, Greenbushes, has a total Resource of 178.5Mt @2.0% Li2O. This shows that although Tanco is much smaller (based only on the historical third party estimate),  it  is a very high grade, with potential valuable by-products. Most lithium projects today have grades of around 0.9-1.5% Li2O. A typical lithium spodumene producer has a total Resource size of around 50-250 MT @ 1.0-1.4% Li2O.

All of this means the Shatford Lake Property appears to be highly prospective for lithium and may hold a very high grade lithium deposit, similar to Tanco’s. If high grade lithium is found, then the next question for investors will be how extensive and large  the resource is. t

The Shatford Lake Property is in an early stage of exploration, but it is very promising.

CBLT Inc.’s sample assay locations at the newly acquired Shatford Lake Property in Manitoba, Canada

Source: CBLT Inc. Twitter page

The summer exploration program at Shatford Lake began in June 2021 and then on August 10, CBLT Inc. informed the market that “the first batch of samples has been sent to an accredited lab for analysis. Results are expected in approximately six weeks.” This means assay results from surface samples should be due about now. Added to this will be results from surface mapping trying to identify  pegmatite locations.

CBLT Inc.’s cobalt properties also some with gold potential – All at exploration stage

Source: CBLT Inc. website

Big Duck Lake update

CBLT Inc. owns 100% of the Big Duck Lake gold property. It covers six square kilometers of prospective geology, east of Thunder Bay, Ontario  in the Hemlo Gold Camp region. It contains 46 showings including the Coco-Estelle Deposit, which hosts a historic resource of 53,700T @ 10.7 g/t Au, or more than 18,000 ounces of contained gold (historic resource, so cannot be relied upon with CBLT carrying out confirmatory work including drilling). In a recent update CBLT Inc. stated: “CBLT’s work on Big Duck Lake has begun, with a detailed review of historical data. CBLT is continuing with its consultation with Pays Plat First Nation, including a recent in-person meeting in Thunder Bay…..CBLT will be at Big Duck Lake as soon as reasonably possible to carry out a diamond drill program and to investigate the high grade zinc and copper showings.”

Ready Set Gold Corp. update

CBLT Inc. also holds a small shareholding in Ready Set Gold Corp. (CSE: RDY). At this time CBLT Inc. is not happy with Ready Set Gold Corp.’s performance as discussed in an update here.

Closing remarks

CBLT Inc. runs a very streamlined company with a focus on avoiding shareholder dilution and on maximizing return for shareholders. The Company also looks to add value with astute deal making. Traditionally the focus has been on cobalt, and some gold, but in 2021 has broadened its focus to include lithium. In total CBLT Inc. currently has 9 projects as you can read here.

With sample assay results due soon at the exciting Shatford Lake Property, investors are keen to see what the future holds. Following this will be results of the historical data review and then further exploration work at Big Duck Lake.

CBLT Inc.’s stock is up 50% the past year, but still trades on a low market cap of just C$4.57 million.




China is winning the war for the future.

The perennial key geopolitical and geoeconomics issues of the conflict among nation-states over the allocation of scarce critical natural resources have, in the last 25 years, been dramatically affected by the current wave of the globalization of the ownership and of the productive output of natural resources, primarily in Africa and South America. Contemporary globalization has worked very much in the favor of the Peoples’ Republic of China (PRC). China’s goal of self-sufficiency in all natural resources, technologies, and industrial manufacturing for the stated purpose of achieving total independence from the rest of the world is well on its way to success. 

China has combined a coherent industrial policy, based on the above stated goal, and has given that policy a driver with what it calls “capitalism with Chinese characteristics,” which turns out to be not profit-centered but national goal-centered capitalism. 

One result of Chinese goal-centered capitalism has been the decline of North America’s and Western Europe’s dominance as the industrial manufacturing and technological innovation centers of the world. The very same Chinese consumer market for manufactured goods that caused a boom for Western OEMs has been redirected to favor Chinese domestic OEMs to move China into its new era of the policy of dual circulation, the gradual substitution of domestic consumption for export markets. 

Western politicians are frantic to keep their consumer products’ boom going, so they are paying lip service to the notion of a consumer oriented free-market economy based on profit while more and more (disastrously) trying to manipulate that same consumer market demand without any real understanding of supply economics. 

The best example of the failure of the Western approach is the looming and unnecessary energy poverty creating a political theme of an amorphous danger (aka as “boogeyman”) called climate change, a “crisis” being used to attempt to manipulate consumer demand through concepts called “clean energy” and the “Green Economy.” 

Nowhere is there a better example of this than the current political mania for the electrification of transportation power trains. Self-described “experts” and “analysts” confidently predict the market penetration of so-called EVs, electric vehicles, over the next decade and well beyond. But these predictions fail miserably when analyzed through the prism of what is known about the existence, accessibility, volumes, and economics of deposits of the critical technology metals that would need to be present for such predictions to be viable. Further analysis of the current production, distribution and use of electricity is necessary. 

Ninety nine percent of the world’s transportation runs on oil based fuels, the distribution of which is in effect universal. The same cannot be said for electricity. 

The recent breathless coverage of weather “extreme” events, drought in California, hurricane in Louisiana, and flooding in New York and New Jersy have two things in common; one is that they are blamed on “climate change”; and a second thing, that no one in journalism seems to have noticed, that all of, and each of, these events have dramatically reduced or eliminated the flow of electricity to consumers in the affected regions, not just by generation reduction but primarily by disrupting the distribution of reliable electricity. 

Imagine, for a moment, that you are a perceptive observer of the U.S. electrical energy production industry and of its distribution industry. (Note, you therefore couldn’t and wouldn’t be a mainstream media journalist). How would “greened” emergency services, for example, be able to fulfill their charge (excuse the pun) without reliable continuous electric energy production? The answer is that they will rely and always must rely on fossil fueled vehicles and localized electric generators. 

Now further imagine that such fuels and vehicles have been made extraordinarily expensive due to the increased costs (due to supply reduction following forced demand reduction) of fossil fuels, storage batteries, and the need for reliable backup power generation.  

The legacy power distribution systems of America and Europe cannot even today cope with extreme weather events and government paid emergency services can only function with off-the-grid power sources. China has a lesser problem, because its electric power generation and distribution are being built on a national scale with exactly the problem, the interruption of power distribution, I am describing being considered and taken into account by China’s industrial policy execution bureaucracy. 

How would (will) a California city, such as Los Angeles, function in a heat wave/drought when the choice is between air conditioning or charging your electric car? The famous “Valley” society of the Los Angeles complex grew originally after World War II with “all electric homes.” 

How will steel, aluminum, and copper be mined, refined, and fabricated without baseload, continuous and reliable, electric power to sustain the enormous continuous drains of power that batteries cannot sustain? Such flows cannot be created or sustained by solar panels and wind turbines.  

And note that without a steady increase in the production of copper, which is refined ELECTROchemically and melted in electric furnaces, there can be no clean or green energy transformation. And that there can be no production of the companion metals upon which our electronics depend without massive production of the base, structural metals, within which they occur in tiny quantities. So, paradoxically and ironically, mining will have to increase manyfold and baseload fossil and nuclear electric generation would have to be increased dramatically to sustain the flow of scarce technology metals for the “greening” of society.   

There is, of course, an alternative. Electricity for air conditioning, lighting, and transportation can be allocated by privilege, I.e., economic class. The wealthy and their servants will have all that they need and the rest will simply exist in a dry, hot world of water and food rationing. Politicians by the way will rate as “servants” of the wealthy. That must be what the Western politicians think, because that is the world they are creating. 

The real question is: Will the climate change “crisis” collapse the fragile democracies of the West before anyone comes to their senses outside of China. Note that China already has secured sufficient supplies of all the metals it needs to avoid the supply crisis now barreling down on the West.