Page 1

RESOURCE Volume 8, Issue 1


Mining, renewable energy and oil & gas worldwide

TO THE GREEN INDUSTRIAL REVOLUTION New US administration ushers in demand transformation for a range of critical minerals






Biden Administration promises the dawn of a metal-intensive ‘green revolution’


n January 20th 2021, Joe Biden was inaugurated as the 46th President of the United States of America, on the back of a barrage of promises to deliver a metal-intensive $2 trillion ‘green industrial revolution’, as the world’s biggest economy charts a recovery from the COVID-19 crisis. Just hours after being sworn in, Biden signified his green intentions by reinstating the US to the Paris agreement, after his predecessor removed the world’s second largest greenhouse gas-emitting country from the landmark climate accord.

Jacob Ambrose Willson Editor

Executive Team Editor Jacob Ambrose Willson Content Director (APAC and Americas) David Hunter Creative Director Hugo Currie ICT Director Stuart Clark Managing Director Simon Curran Contributors Mark Burridge (Baker Steel Capital Managers) RGN is published by Anderson Murray Media: a diverse media and information services company focused on creating and distributing engaging content to business leaders across the globe. Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this publication are not necessarily those of the publishers. Whilst every effort is made to ensure accuracy the publisher and editor cannot be held responsible for any inaccurate information supplied and/or published. Copyright: The copyright for all material published in this magazine is strictly reserved.

Anderson Murray Media Fulham Green, 69-79 Fulham High Street, Main Reception, Bedford House, London SW6 3JW | Tel. +44 (0)207 148 5630

Not discounting the symbolic nature of the US returning to the centre of the international climate change fight, the real domestic tasks lie ahead for ‘Build Back Better’ Biden – who must now deliver on his pledges to invest heavily in renewables and energy storage while supporting the mass transition to electric vehicles. Biden’s plans to supercharge EV demand include increased tax credits for auto makers (to the delight of a Mr Musk, no doubt), full federal subsidies for EV purchases, converting 500,000 school buses to zero emissions and building 500,000 new charging stations across the US. These are the kind of policies that have driven sales in China and Europe; two epicentres of the EV consumer market that are also increasingly embracing regional integration of supply chains for strategic minerals in the current global climate of mistrust and uncertainty. In this issue’s headline interview, RK Equity founder and lithium bull Howard Klein gives RGN the full lowdown on rapidly building momentum in the EV sector.

So, what does a wider, synchronised global green industrial revolution – potentially led by the US – mean for the mining sector? Well, Mark Burridge from Baker Steel Capital Managers believes that a range of speciality metals producers face a ‘transformation of demand’ in the coming years, and this issue of RGN profiles a smattering of firms gearing up for a low carbon future. Alberta-based E3 Metals is developing battery grade lithium hydroxide for the EV market using its own direct lithium extraction technology, while Element 25 is close to first manganese production down under. Last year, boss Justin Brown was delighted to receive Tesla’s plans for a new nickel-manganese cathode in its higher end vehicles. In less well-traversed areas, Andromeda Metals is benefitting from increasing global attention towards clean technology areas dependent on nanotechnology. The ASX firm is researching commercial opportunities for its rare halloysite-kaolin resource in South Australia. You can also learn about Gensource Potash’s environmentally sustainable potash plan to support global food security. Finally, the gold bull run is set to gather pace again this year, with low real interest rates, soaring debt and rising inflationary pressure on the horizon. So, we thought it was only right to include Altus Royalties – a royalty generator firm focused predominantly on precious metals in Africa. My advice is to strap in for another wild ride in the commodities sector during 2021!

Jacob Ambrose Willson jacob@resourceglobalnetwork.com

a j r




6 Global resources news Our selection of mining, oil & gas and renewable energy stories from the last month

ASSOCIATIONS 12 RK Equity Rising EV demand is charging up the lithium bull market, says RK Equity’s Howard Klein





26 Mark Burridge (Baker Steel Capital Managers) Mark Burridge offers a glimpse into what’s in store for the global resources sector in 2021



36 E3 Metals Corp Lithium hydroxide production from brine using DLE processing technology


50 Element 25 Charting a growth path for a world class manganese business 64 Gensource Potash Leading the way to sustainable food security 78 Andromeda Metals An emerging force in industrial minerals 92 Altus Strategies A unique hybrid ‘royalty generator’ model in the African mining space




106 Events Our pick of the top mining, oil & gas and renewable energy events happening around the world in the months to come A LT U S STRATEGIES




The 2020s will usher in a new commodities supercycle akin to the boom of the early 2000s, according to investment banking giant Goldman Sachs. Goldman’s view on the imminent supercyle is predicated on how the world will recover from the COVID-19 crisis, with emphasis on policies supporting a green industrial revolution. The world’s two largest economies will lead the global effort to decarbonise key industries, after China recently committed to carbon neutrality by 2060 and US president Joe Biden pledged to deliver a US$2 trillion green infrastructure programme.

The impact of a globally synchronised decarbonisation push on demand for energy metals such as copper, lithium and nickel would be dramatic. Goldman is particularly bullish on copper, with a 12-month target of $9,500 per tonne. But copper is only one part of a wider call for a 30% return on commodities this year, which is rooted in Goldman’s belief that there will be a lack of supply for key metals to meet any structural shift in demand. While a strong rebound across several commodities last year might be viewed as a ‘V-shaped vaccine recovery’, the bank asserts it is just ‘the beginning of a much longer structural bull market for commodities’. 6


Mining, oil & gas and renewable energy news from around the world GLOBAL EMISSIONS FALL BY 7% IN 2020, BUT REBOUND LIKELY THIS YEAR: IEA

Global carbon emissions fell by 7% last year as the COVID-19 crisis dented demand for all energy sources except renewables, the International Energy Agency (IEA) has found. The intergovernmental organisation’s executive director Fatih Birol said that renewables were the only segment of the energy sector showing growth in 2020, with significant increases in the deployment of solar and offshore wind. “Renewables defeated COVID-19,” he proclaimed as the IEA confirmed plans to publish a roadmap later this year outlining how the global energy sector can reach net zero emissions by 2050.

However, he warned that carbon emissions are likely to rebound this year and called on governments to choose the ‘right’ energy policies to accelerate the clean energy transition while rebuilding their economies from the COVID-19 crisis. “This year can be pivotal, Birol said. “There is a significant new political alignment on climate, which opens up a new world of possibilities for all of us. Many of the largest economies… [recently] committed to a net zero target midcentury.” President Joe Biden returned the US to the Paris agreement just hours after being sworn in on January 20. Former President Donald Trump had removed the world’s second largest greenhouse gases emitter from the climate pact in 2017.




ASX-listed lithium miners Sayona Mining and Piedmont Lithium have struck a strategic partnership that will support the development of North America’s battery metals supply chain. North Carolina-based Piedmont will invest up to US$12 million in Sayona to acquire 19.9% of its issued capital and a 25% interest in its subsidiary Sayona Quebec. The funds will contribute towards Sayona Quebec’s growth plans in the Canadian province, which include the Authier Lithium Project, the Tansim Lithium Project and the development of a lithium hub. In return, Sayona will supply 60,000 tonnes per annum of spodumene concentrate (or 50% of its total production— whichever is greater) to

Piedmont’s processing plant in North Carolina. The binding offtake arrangement will help Piedmont achieve its goal of producing 160,000 tonnes of spodumene concentrate every year and 22,700 tonnes of battery-quality lithium hydroxide per annum. “At the moment a lot of lithium is shipped up from Australia to China for processing,” said Sayona managing director Brett Lynch. “With trade wars, COVID-19 and issues like global warming, it makes more sense for companies like Piedmont to seek a North American supplier.” Piedmont signed a sales agreement with electric vehicle giant Tesla in September last year. 8


Mining, oil & gas and renewable energy news from around the world GALAN LITHIUM TO ACQUIRE 80% OF GREENBUSHES SOUTH PROJECT

Australian miner Galan Lithium has entered into an asset acquisition agreement with Lithium Australia for an 80% interest in the Greenbushes South Lithium project in Western Australia. Under the agreement, Galan will issue 1,221,000 fully paid ordinary shares to Lithium Australia and will solely fund expenditure until a preliminary feasibility study is completed for Greenbushes South. The project was initially bought by ASX-listed Lithium Australia due to its proximity to the Greenbushes lithium mine – currently the largest hard rock lithium mine in the world.

The spodumene concentrate produced at Greenbushes currently feeds conversion plants in China and Western Australia. “We are delighted to acquire a significant majority stake in a highly prospective lithium project in a world-renowned lithium district and increase our existing lithium exploration ground at Greenbushes in Western Australia,” said Galan’s managing director Juan Pablo Vargas de la Vega. “We have secured an outstanding exploration opportunity in Western Australia to add to our existing portfolio of assets in Argentina that have a potential production profile.” Galan holds two lithium brine projects in Argentina totalling around 25,000 hectares.



Rising EV demand is charging up the lithium 12



m bull market, says RK Equity’s Howard Klein 13

While the profoundly destructive impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic were laid bare across multiple industries throughout the global economy last year, some green shoots began to emerge in the lithium sector after a torrid few years following the mini-boom of 2017-18. When non-essential travel was effectively outlawed during the first wave of the pandemic, the world was afforded a vision of a low carbon future, and there was a realisation amongst governments, institutions and consumers that the best of both worlds (unrestricted, low carbon emitting travel) can be achieved only through the decarbonisation of the transport sector. This discernible epiphany translated into increasing appetite for lithiumconsuming electric vehicles (EVs) in key markets including China, North America and Europe. According to global sales database EV Volumes, the sector recorded year-onyear growth with 3.24 million sales of battery EVs and plugin hybrid EVs in 2020, even though total vehicle sales plummeted to record lows as consumers grappled with the economic repercussions of the COVID-19 crisis. At the start of 2021, RGN spoke to RK Equity founder Howard Klein to get the inside track on the key developments in the lithium and wider battery metals space as we enter a uniquely transformational period for the global green economy.


“After the initial COVID-19

of the COVID-19 disruption.

wave ended in June/July,

The green shoots started in

there was some concern

China. Coronavirus happened

that the Europeans or the

there first, but they dealt with

Chinese would slow down

it sooner. By the second half

the aggressiveness of their

of the year, there was better

EV pursuit, but instead there

uptake in Chinese EV sales.”

was an acceleration,” Klein explains.

Increasing EV demand in the second half of 2020

“You had three years of

naturally increased demand

innovation in one because

for a suite of battery metals,


Howard Klein Howard Klein founded boutique capital markets advisory firm RK Equity in 2002. He has over 25 years of capital markets and investing experience across multiple investment themes in natural resources, including, gold, iron ore and lithium.

including copper, cobalt,

been building since the 2019

nickel, graphite, manganese,

Nobel Prize in Chemistry

aluminium and - above all

was awarded to the makers

– lithium chemicals; the

of the lithium-ion battery.

predominant components in

The Gigafactories under

lithium-ion batteries powering

construction in China, the


US and Europe have also

A lithium bull market? According to Klein,

From 1997-2001 Howard led the institutional equity sales desk of SG Cowen Securities focused on the EMEA region and Japan. Howard spent the first five years of his career as an analyst focused on privatisation in Eastern Europe at Thomson Financial and as an investment banker in Budapest, Hungary. Howard holds a BA in Economics from the University of Michigan and an M.B.A. in Finance from Columbia University. Howard regularly speaks at investment conferences and to the financial media about the disruptive battery metals thematic.

supported prices for lithium carbonate and hydroxide, which have finally begun to rise in China.

a j

momentum in the sector has


Significant supply curtailments and the auto original

Nonetheless, horizons for the

from major Western Australia-

equipment manufacturers

lithium sector are brightening,

based spodumene producers

(OEMs): “Where that price

and this is reflected in the

have also supported moderate

lands is a bit of dance

capital markets, which have

recent improvements to the

between the buyers of lithium

started to bid up lithium

price environment (admittedly

hydroxide and the producers

development companies and

with lithium chemicals coming

of lithium hydroxide.

producers throughout the last

off a low base), particularly the

six months.

bankruptcy of Altura Mining

“We believe as RK Equity that

in October 2020.

the price should settle for

“Capital raising activity has

lithium hydroxide outside of

increased, and there’s been

Klein also highlights an

China at about US$14,000. For

some significant M&A with

ongoing pricing ‘chess match’

carbonate, it might be a lower

Australian nickel producer IGO

between the battery producers

and for China specifically a bit

investing $1.4 billion in Tianqi

lower still.”



Lithium [December 2020].

RK Equity’s founder believes

lithium demand reaching

There were other financings

that the markets are now

around 1.8 million tonnes

through the September-

realising that funding needs to

(Mt) by 2030, with much of

December period, so the pace

be poured into special purpose

that figure geared towards

has generally picked up.

acquisition companies

lithium hydroxide for use

(SPACs), mine developers

in EVs. This translates into

“In 2021 there’s going to be

and into lithium chemicals

50 new hydroxide plants - at

a very significant amount of

processing capacity to meet

an average cost of $500-600

capital raised because the

pressing demand projections

million – that would need

message is out there regarding

for the end of this decade.

to come online from 2024

rising demand for battery

onwards to meet the projected

metals and the looming

For example, most industry

lithium shortage from 2021-22

assumptions have annual

demand uptake.



“With this in mind, the

within that, we’re forecasting

closely by RK Equity, as Elon

markets have stopped focusing

30-35% hydroxide growth, with

Musk’s clean tech behemoth

exclusively on the immediate

carbonate coming off a lower

continued to dictate the

China spot price, or even the

base of 16%.

direction of the EV market and

next 12 months earnings calls, and have begun to start pricing

“Most commodity industries

the SPACs with a longer-term

grow at a pace of GDP. If you’re

time horizon.

growing at six, seven, eight

The corporation raised money

times GDP, that’s very exciting,

three times in 2020 - the

“That mentality is translating

and investors want to be in

last two totaling $5 billion

into the lithium producers

that space,” Klein asserts.

each – and saw its share

and development companies,

battery technology.

price valuation increase by

chemical and mining industry,

Tesla – the vanguard

lithium has an estimated 20%

News flow coming out of

the opening of its Shanghai

annual growth to 2030, and

Tesla of last year was followed

Gigafactory in late 2019.

so it’s an exciting time. As a


the ongoing development of

over 700%, with a chunk of this success attributed to


other interests. In the US,

to aggressive pro-EV policies,

you had a lot of SPACs going

specialised fund facilities and

public, like Hyliion, Fisker and

the proliferation of hard rock

Lordstown Motors on the auto

lithium projects within the

side, in addition to battery


companies like QuantumScape and lidar companies.

“So much of what’s happening in the EU is policy driven.

“There’s been massive

There are very significant

enthusiasm from a capital

emissions reduction

markets perspective to the

regulations and incrementally

thematic and increasingly

severe penalties being applied

toward the end of last year

in the region to auto makers

there was an understanding

not producing a meaningful

that regardless of which

quantity of lower emissions

company ‘wins’, ultimately


lithium-ion batteries are going Tesla’s highly billed Battery

into those cars and demand

Klein predicts a similar carrot

Day in September 2020 was

for the components in those

and stick approach in the

a big moment for the sector,

batteries - lithium, graphite

US under ‘build back better’

as the firm unveiled plans to

and nickel - are going to

Biden. “The Obama-Biden

vertically integrate its battery

increase significantly.”

administration in the first

supply chain by developing

two years also controlled the

lithium hydroxide from

Localised supply

spodumene produced in

Last year also brought a

Whitehouse,” he recalls. “They

North America. Musk also

greater appreciation of the

were very supportive of EVs

Senate, the House and the

announced Tesla’s latest nickel- need to develop vertically

and renewable energy. I think

rich cathode and called for

integrated local supply chains

they’ll start supporting mining

greater production of lithium

in the battery metals/EV space.

projects with low interest

and nickel.

This was evident none more

loans as well.”

so than in Europe, which Klein “In general, the enthusiasm

has previously labelled ‘the

Meanwhile, institutions like

towards Tesla’s success begat

new China’ of the sector due

the European Investment


“As a chemical and mining industry, lithium has an estimated 20% annual growth to 2030, and within that we’re forecasting 30-35% hydroxide growth, with carbonate coming off a lower base of 16%” Howard Klein, RK Equity founder

Bank have been ploughing

100% of its lithium and doesn’t

funds into the development of

have any current mines

local lithium projects and the

financed or in production.

broader battery metals supply chain, which is buttressed by

“A company we represent is

a dense network of coalitions

European Metals Holdings

including the European Raw

in the Czech Republic. They

Materials Alliance and the

have a very large hard rock

European Battery Alliance.

deposit that is funded until the construction decision in early

This synchronised approach is

2022. There’s a lot of interest

being driven by an EU target

from the OEMs in them and

to be 80% self-sufficient in

other project developers in

the lithium-ion battery supply

the region like Savannah

chain by 2025 – a seemingly

Resources in Portugal.

ambitious goal, given that Europe currently imports



“I think several institutions

Lithium for the supply of

A flurry of recent research

are going to start providing

spodumene concentrate from

and development into direct

grants and soft loans, in

the firm’s North Carolina

lithium extraction (DLE)

addition to the commercial


technology has provided some

banks providing traditional

compelling new possibilities

project finance with some

“Musk’s deal with Piedmont is

for the lithium sector.

credit enhancements from

a very telling factor that he and

Typifying this new angle is the

some of these pan-European

other companies are paranoid

work of RK Equity’s client E3

banks, to help stimulate the

about getting access to all

Metals in Alberta, Canada.

goal of becoming more self-

aspects of the supply chain.


Tesla signed the deal because

The company owns a large

they want localised supply for

lithium brine resource within

Likewise, auto OEMs in the US

the hydroxide plant they are

Alberta’s historic oil province,

are moving quickly to secure

building in Texas, not just from and it is developing a new

local supply. In September

a sustainability perspective

technology to extract the

2020, Tesla announced an

but from a manufacturing

lithium from the water before

agreement with Piedmont

efficiency perspective.”

distilling into a hydroxide concentrate.


on the upside,” Klein says.

early stage, but E3 put out a

Forecasting the boom

PEA in November 2020 with

In terms of forecasting for the

800,000 vehicles this year, after

a pre-tax NPV of $1.1 billion

lithium sector in 2021, Klein’s

nearly hitting the 500,000 car

ahead of a pilot plant launch

partner at RK Equity Rodney

milestone last year. But we

later this year. “As we work

Hooper has crunched the

think it’s possible they may

towards the energy transition,

numbers and concluded that

produce 900,000 to one million

these new DLE technologies

lithium demand will increase

cars in 2021.”

are gaining interest, and this

by 80-90,000 tonnes this year,

company is getting support

with hydroxide representing

Barring delays, Tesla’s

from the Alberta government

50-55,000 tonnes of that total,

Gigafactories in Berlin and

as it transitions from an oil

along with 30-35,000 tonnes of

Austin will come online

province to a new economy.


this year and support the

The project remains at an

It’s one to watch in North America.”


“Tesla is talking about selling

production of new models, “That’s reflective of the fact

including the hydroxide-

that sales have been surprising

guzzling Cybertruck, Semi and


Howard Klein, RK Equity founder

Model Y. Meanwhile, other

“We will witness very big

they see that take up is

auto makers will churn out a

changes in sentiment toward

accelerating. Europe has been

succession of more powerful

EVs and government policies

leading, but I think America

EVs over the next two years,

to support EV take up, whether

will follow, and China is very

underlining RK Equity’s

it be subsidies for purchases

committed to this as well.”

demand projections for the

or installing 500,000 charging


stations in the US.

However, Klein believes that

“I think sales are going to

the biggest tailwind for the

accelerate, and a lot of the

battery metals/EV story in the

expectations are lower than

coming years will be derived

reality. Investment banks

from President Joe Biden’s $2

are upgrading several stocks

trillion ‘green infrastructure

exposed to lithium because

plan’, and recovery from the COVID-19 crisis.




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Will 2021 be a tran for precious and s

Baker Steel Capital Managers LLP’s Mark Burridge offers a glim 26


nsformational year speciality metals?

mpse into what’s in store for the global resources sector in 2021 27

2020 will go down as one of the most challenging years on record for societies, economies and financial markets around the world. The COVID-19 crisis brought business activity to a standstill, forced seismic changes across many sectors and prompted unprecedented action by governments. All of this has occurred at a time when rapid technological change is already transforming whole industries through innovation and a focus on sustainability. The natural resources sector has faced difficulties during 2020 but is emerging in good shape with major thematic opportunities developing out of the COVID-19 crisis. Precious metals delivered a strong performance and many industrial commodities have recovered after the initial pressure. Most mining companies have also demonstrated operational resilience to managing COVID-19 and so, are well positioned to take advantage of the key themes going forward.



Mark Burridge Mark is a managing partner and fund manager at Baker Steel Capital Managers, based in London. Mark has over 25 years’ experience in the international metals and mining industry, including technical, financial and executive roles. Mark spent several years of his early career in geological and geological engineering roles, predominantly at Barrick Gold Corporation. Mark then spent five years at Merrill Lynch covering the metals and mining equities, where he became a ranked analyst. Following this, Mark helped launch Hatch Corporate Finance, a corporate finance boutique, where he became managing director. Furthermore, Mark has worked in several executive, advisory and board roles at mining companies. Mark holds a degree in Mining Geology from the Royal School of Mines, Imperial College London and is a CFA Charterholder.

Baker Steel Capital Managers LLP Baker Steel Capital Managers LLP manages the BAKERSTEEL Precious Metals Fund, BAKERSTEEL Electrum Fund, ES Gold & Precious Metals Fund and Baker Steel Resources Trust. Baker Steel has extensive experience in the management of funds, investing in the natural resources, gold and precious metals sectors. Baker Steel was founded in 2001 and our offices in London and Sydney enable 24hour coverage of world markets. We manage substantial assets on behalf of a broad range of financial institutions, wealth managers and professional investors. n j




In particular, the green

response by policymakers,

levels of economic stimulus,

revolution is progressing

the outlook for metals and

amid strong political

even faster than we could

mining is shifting rapidly, with

support for higher levels of

have anticipated at the start

several sub-sectors poised for

government spending and

of the year and is likely to be

significant potential growth

intervention. The focus on low

boosted by targeted stimulus

in the months and years

carbon industry and green

spending. At the same time,

ahead. The mining sector

technology, particularly in

the economic and political

remains undervalued relative

Europe and China, is a major

environment is proving

to broader equity markets and

theme for miners. A rapid

very supportive for gold as

relative to its historic levels.

expansion of public debt

real interest rates are set to

Prior to the onset of COVID-19,

is inevitable. As specialists

remain low, monetary policy

the natural resources sector

in this sector, we aim to

continues to build inflationary

was already under pressure

identify the commodities

pressure while socio-political

from the US-China trade war

most likely to benefit from

tensions remain. These

and its associated geopolitical

various ‘new green deals’,

themes set the stage for a

and economic uncertainty.

such as vanadium, certain

transformation in precious

Yet the world has changed

grades of graphite, and high

and specialty metals demand

dramatically over the past

purity alumina. We believe a

and will be key drivers for

year, the decline in economic

period of growth lies ahead

metals and mining in 2021.

activity during 2020 has

for certain sub-sectors of the

The mining industry is set

set the stage for a global

mining industry.

to undergo a transformation

economic recovery, aided by

in the years ahead and, as

the emergence of a number of

long-term investors in this

potential vaccines which will

sector, our team feel that the

be rolled out by governments

Strategic metals for the green revolution

sector may be at the start of

in the months ahead.

Our team identifies two key

something very big.

long-term trends which will For commodity prices, the

drive the mining sector in the

level and focus of economic

months and years ahead and

stimulus packages being

which inform our investment

As the global economy begins

implemented in response to

decision making. The first

to emerge from the COVID-19

the COVID-19 crisis is highly

positive trend for miners

crisis, which sparked sharp

significant. Policymakers

is the global movement

recessions and a historic

are implementing historic

Darkest hour is before the dawn


towards sustainability and the development of green technology. Demand for speciality metals is forecast to surge amid potential supply shortages, as factors such as rising electric car production, increasing renewable energy usage and the development and expansion of battery capacity require a significant increase in demand for a number of strategic raw materials. Tesla Battery Day in September drew attention to the huge demand potential in focused ‘battery metals’ such as lithium, nickel and graphite. Tesla’s planned 3TWH of

exacerbated by the policy

10 times the current lithium

Precious metals valuation boom

market, six times the current

The second major trend for

crisis. Backed by a supportive

cobalt market and two times

miners is the growth of fiscal

macroeconomic environment,

the current nickel market,

and monetary imbalances,

many gold producers are in

over the next 10 years.

including the build-up of

the best financial shape they

Manufacturers’ valuations

inflationary pressure caused

have been for a long time, but

have reflected the growth

by years of loose monetary

company valuations do not yet

potential for the sector, yet the

policy by central banks and

reflect this. The US election

underlying commodity prices

the movement towards higher

results are unlikely to change

have remained subdued so far.

levels of government spending

the fundamental economic

It is increasingly clear that the

and rapid debt expansion.

outlook for government

market is underestimating the

These trends have been

spending, monetary policy

battery capacity could require

future demand implications. 32

response to the COVID-19


global economy moves into the aftermath of the COVID-19 crisis and towards recovery. Speciality metals producers face a transformation of demand, driven by the green recovery and transition towards sustainability, while precious metals are backed by a highly supportive macroeconomic environment of low real interest rates, soaring debt and rising inflationary pressure. Most importantly for Baker Steel, however, is the margin expansion underway currently, led by the gold equities sector. Producers’ margins are expanding, and dividends and economic risk, which

metals. We have reached a

are increasing, yet the sector

provide a supportive backdrop

critical juncture for the mining

remains fundamentally

for gold. We believe there is

sector, as the global economy

undervalued relative to

far more to come from the

moves into recovery supported

broader equities. Our team

precious metals sector in the

by historic economic stimulus

remains focused on identifying

months and years ahead.

packages, funded by debt, with

those producers which are

a particular focus on boosting

best positioned to benefit from

It is these themes which Baker

the growth of low carbon

margin expansion and a share

Steel aims to give our investors

industry and green technology.

price re-rating as metals prices

exposure to in the Electrum

Going into 2021 we believe

move higher.

Fund, through its investments

there is a lot more to come

in producers of ‘future facing’

from the mining sector, as the





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Lithium hydroxide production from brine usi




ing revolutionary DLE processing technology


When future generations look back at the current era of societal development, they will likely view the COVID-19 pandemic as a human tragedy first and foremost, but also as ‘the great accelerator’ of various economic forces and social trends, the most important of which being the global green energy transition.

E3 Metals’ goal is to support

The decarbonisation of transport is one aspect of this process that was solidified in a COVIDdominated 2020, as auto manufacturers made increased commitments to electrifying their fleets and governments in key markets legislated aggressive pro-electric vehicle (EV) policies.

Contemporary lithium brine

The combination of improving conditions for EVs, attempts to secure high quality supply of critical minerals and the solidification of the lithiumion and lithium batteries for mobile electrification has provided the perfect springboard for E3 Metals to catapult itself into North America’s battery metals/ EV supply chain with its unique lithium brine project in Alberta, Canada.

developed a simple, clean

the global EV revolution by producing battery grade lithium hydroxide using a novel processing technique that is set to revolutionise how lithium concentrate is removed from brine in Alberta and around the world.

production is dominated by the vast white deposits within Latin America’s lithium triangle, where time consuming and antiquated methods are required to extract the valuable lithium from the dry salt flats. However, E3 Metals has method for generating lithium hydroxide from the prolific Leduc Reservoir in Alberta, where brine is currently being produced to surface through extensive oil and gas development. Producing a crucial metal for the green energy revolution in a former oilfield is rather poetic and almost a microcosm of the transition taking place in



the global economy, and the

support those hydrocarbon-

local economy at that. With a

based businesses,” explains

large-scale resource and game-

E3 Metals president, CEO

changing processing method,

and director Chris Doornbos.

E3 Metals is at the vanguard of

“However, decreasing oil

the transition.

prices have had a huge impact

The Alberta advantage

on the local economy and the Province is looking to diversify.”

Lithium production in Alberta operates similarly to the way

Fortunately, the Provincial

hydrocarbon production

Government does not have

operates, by moving fluids

to look far in its quest for

from the aquifer to extract the

diversification. In fact, the

commodity. This process has

answer lies in the lithium

been in place since the first

brine located below surface

discovery of ‘black gold’ in the

in the depleted oil reservoirs

1940s, thus kicking off the oil

of the Leduc Formation. All

rush in Alberta.

that is required is for an entity to extract the ‘white gold’ and

This boom created a mature

process it into the valuable end

industry in the province

use product. Step forward E3

whereby expertise, social


licence, infrastructure, permitting and skilled labour

The company is advancing a

already exist and can be

significant lithium resource by

transferred to a lithium project

producing in the same manner

with ease.

as the established local industry. The key difference

“In Alberta, the majority of

is that E3 Metals deploys its

industry is hydrocarbon-

own proprietary direct lithium

based and the surrounding

extraction (DLE) technology

infrastructure is built to

that will extract the lithium


“The PEA outlined a 20,000 tonnes per year lithium hydroxide operation for 20 years, and that is just a very small snapshot of what this aquifer can deliver. The initial project will deliver an aftertax NPV of US$820 million and bottom quartile operating costs at around $3,656 per tonne” Chris Doornbos, E3 Metals president and CEO

from the brine waters in

Being in the heart of a mature

Alberta and produce lithium

and sophisticated oil industry


brings myriad benefits to E3 Metals, including a pre-

E3’s proprietary technology

existing regulatory framework

enables them to concentrate

for natural resource

and purify in a single step,

development, an industry-

leading to a much simpler and

friendly government keen

cleaner product. As a result, it

to diversify and access to an

can be sold directly to battery

underutilised workforce, along

manufacturers and original

with a high-quality selection of

equipment manufacturers

service companies.

(OEMs) in North America’s growing EV sector, where the

“All of the expertise we need

value of a local and low carbon

to build the Clearwater Project

footprint source of high purity

is here locally. Resource

lithium hydroxide would

development has well-

provide huge incentives to

developed social licence in the


area and a permitting process that routinely approves activities similar to E3’s.



Through the relationships

take a larger global position

aquifer can deliver. The initial

and foundational groundwork

as the resource is open for

project will deliver an after-

laid out so far, our project has


tax NPV of US$820 million

been significantly de-risked as

and bottom quartile operating

we continue to pave the path

In November 2020, E3 Metals

costs at around $3,656 per

toward to production.”

published its preliminary

tonne,” says Doornbos.

A globally significant resource

economic assessment (PEA) for the Clearwater resource.

“The low opex estimate

The thorough study was

is important for us to

based on extensive data on

remain resilient with price

The flagship Clearwater

the Leduc aquifer, which was

fluctuations, but it also helps

Project is currently comprised

first discovered in 1947 by

us generate a lot of revenue

of a 7.0 million tonnes lithium


from the project,” he adds.

carbonate equivalent (LCE)

E3 Metals believes that the

inferred mineral resource

“The PEA outlined a 20,000

Clearwater Project can scale

– making it approximately

tonnes per year lithium

up from the initial 20,000

the seventh largest lithium

hydroxide operation for 20

tonnes per year to 50,000

resource in the world right

years, and that is just a very

tonnes with relative ease for

now – with the potential to

small snapshot of what this


a 35-year total mine life at the

two other project areas (Rocky

a time, though, we are staying

expanded production rate

and Exshaw) in the Leduc

focused on delivering 20,000

Reservoir that both hold the

tonnes by 2024 and will grow

The expansion plans don’t end

potential for 50,000 tonnes of

our production base from

there. E3 Metals also owns

production each. This would


equate to 150,000 tonnes over


a 35-year period, according to

Developing DLE


Doornbos is cognisant of the need to demonstrate a



MARKET CAPITALISATION US$75 million (as of January 29, 2021)



“Those are just the resources

working process flowsheet

we are developing. We also

for producing battery

have land that we haven’t

grade lithium hydroxide

worked on. There is significant

on a commercial scale. E3

expansion potential that few

Metals first produced lithium

other lithium projects can

hydroxide from the Leduc

match. The company’s goal is

brine in May 2019, using

to become a major supplier of

its DLE process that was

lithium hydroxide to a rapidly

developed in partnership

expanding market. One step at



with world-leading chemical

quickly and efficiently remove

conventional methods into

manufacturer Livent.

lithium from the brine without

high value lithium products.

the need for evaporation


Consistent lab testing using

ponds, to produce a high

“We’re one of the few DLE

the in-house DLE technology

purity lithium concentrate

technology development

has shown that E3 Metals can

that can be processed using

companies that also owns its


Chris Doornbos, E3 Metals president and CEO

own resource, so we do not

production with higher

of the land area compared

have to shop for projects to

recoveries (at rates over 90%

to conventional evaporation

deploy the technology. The

according to latest testing),

projects or mining operations.”

goal for us is to produce our

no tailings and minimised

own lithium hydroxide with

freshwater usage. In fact, E3

The company plans to

our own technology, and that

Metals’ technology allows it to

produce an independent life

is what DLE gives us. It’s a

return brine to the reservoir,

cycle analysis (LCA) within

big piece of what we’ve done;

creating an environmentally

the next 12 months that will

having it 100%-owned by E3

friendly closed loop system.

outline a clear ESG strategy.

brings a lot of value to the company.”

For example: “By operating “We also have the ability to go

a gas-fired power plant, we

net-zero carbon emissions,

can capture the CO2 from

In comparison to pre-existing

not consume fresh water and

the exhaust gas and dispose

lithium brine processing

not generate any tailings. Our

of it in the waste stream

methods, DLE offers faster

project will also use only 3%

going back into the aquifer.


This is a process that has been perfected in Alberta,” Doornbos proclaims.

2021 and beyond As we enter the last week of January 2021, E3 Metals is about to cut the ribbon on its pilot development facility in Calgary. This is a huge step towards demonstrating a scaled down but commercially viable model of what the company can deliver. The company’s goal is to have a prototype running by around mid-year. The benefits for this will be two-fold, firstly to form the design basis for the field pilot, aimed to be under construction during the second half of 2021. Secondly, the company plans to use this prototype to test other brines to develop a potential new project pipeline. As E3 Metals arches towards a pre-feasibility study for the Clearwater Project, a CHRIS DOORNBOS, E3 METALS PRESIDENT AND CEO


smaller ticket item will be to


upgrade the current resource

emissions lithium product will

for lithium hydroxide move

to measured and indicated.

generate a lot of interest with a

very strongly. This is the

Without the need to conduct

battery manufacturer.”

perfect time to be bringing our

any further drilling on the

production on stream.

Leduc Reservoir, the resource

Doornbos adds: “We are

upgrade should be achievable

contemplating our options

“Supply does not move as

at a fairly minimal expense,

to bring in the right strategic

quickly as demand can move,

Doornbos says.

partner that would assist E3

so that generates a strong

in taking this project to the

market for our product and we

However, the key goal for 2021

next level. We want to work

are well timed and positioned

will be for E3 Metals to finalise

with a group that shares the

for our project to get into

its flowsheet development

same vision for the Clearwater

production. We believe this

and start producing lithium

Project and can help put

will allow the company to

hydroxide on a regular basis

this project into production

secure attractive contracts

from the concentrate it makes


for our initial production.

every day in the lab.

E3 Metals will then look to Having gone through the hard

expand production to meet

“That will be a big moment

yards at the project over the

market demand as it rapidly

for the company. We have

last four years, E3 Metals is

accelerates across the globe.”

made hydroxide before but

aiming to bring the initial

producing it at the scale we

Clearwater production online

want to this year means we can

in the mid-2020s, and the

start shipping it to potential

timing of market entrance

clients and customers in the

couldn’t be better according to

battery manufacturing space.


“It will be a significant step

“All the latest projections

for E3 when we start to have

suggest that EV demand will

players in the battery industry

steadily pick up as we reach

evaluating our product and

price parity for EVs on a mass

considering us as a potential

market basis, and they are

supplier. We believe our goal

expecting this will happen

of having a net-zero carbon

around 2024-25. At that point you should start to see demand



Bushveld Minerals’ vision is to grow into a significant, low cost and vertically integrated company comprising of primary vanadium production, electrolyte manufacturing, development and deployment of Vanadium Redox Flow Batteries in the energy markets. Our value proposition includes: •

Compelling commodity market anchored to steel with burgeoning demand from energy storage market

Largest primary vanadium resource base of ~550Mt with a grade 1.58-2.02% V₂O₅ in magnetite

Bushveld Minerals owns 2 of the 4 operating primary vanadium production processing facilities, with capacity to scale up production significantly

Bushveld Minerals will offer a diversfied product offering for the steel, chemical industry and energy storage market

Bushveld Minerals vertical integration strategy into energy storage provides a natural hedge to vanadium price volatility as well as a diversified revenue stream

5 Harries Road, Illovo Edge Office Park 2nd Floor, Johannesburg, Gauteng 2196 | info@bushveldminerals.com | www.bushveldminerals.com @BushveldMin_Ltd

Bushveld Minerals

Charting a growth path for a w




world class manganese business

ENT 25


Manganese is the twelfth most abundant element on the Earth’s crust and the fourth most traded metal globally, owing to its role as a critical raw material in multiple industries. By far the biggest consumer of manganese is the steel manufacturing sector, which accounts for around 90% of current demand. The remaining 10% goes into the production of high purity products, including electrolytic manganese metal, electrolytic manganese dioxide and manganese sulphate, which are most notably used in the manufacture of highperformance lithium-ion batteries. While this nascent segment of the market is comparatively smaller than steel at the moment, there is an expectation that as electric vehicles (EVs) and battery storage become an increasingly important part of the global energy solution, demand for high purity manganese chemicals will grow exponentially, according to Element 25 managing director Justin Brown. “We are working on both segments and are going to start by producing a product suited for steel manufacturing, but we’re also rapidly developing plans to produce battery grade chemical manganese products as well, around which quite a lot of the flowsheet development has already been done,” he says.


Listed on the ASX since 2006,

chemical manganese products,

Element 25 has traditionally

which yielded a breakthrough

been a diversified explorer

in 2019. “In the process of

with experience in gold, copper

developing the flow sheet

and nickel projects before it

for the high purity stuff, we

discovered the Butcherbird

identified the potential to

Manganese Deposit in Western

produce an intermediate

Australia (WA). To demonstrate

concentrate product that we

a singular focus on the project,

can then ship to the steel

the company changed its name

markets for much reduced

to correspond with the atomic

capital costs, which will help to

number of manganese – hence

drive business growth through

Element 25.

early cash flows.

In addition to lodging a mining

“Now we have all our approvals,

lease application for the

we’re financed, offtakes are

Butcherbird project - located in

in place and we expect to be

the Southern Pilbara region of

producing our first manganese

WA - in February 2018, Element

concentrate product in Q1 of

25 carried out a sustained

2021, so it has been quite a

programme of drilling out

journey in a short period of

the resource for what is now


defined as the largest onshore with >260 million tonnes (Mt)

Attractive project attributes

of manganese ore in measured,

While WA was ranked the

indicated and inferred JORC

best jurisdiction in the world


for mining projects by the

manganese deposit in Australia,

2019 Fraser Institute Annual Over the last 24 months,

Survey of Mining Companies, a

the company focused on

common challenge for project

developing a flowsheet for

developers in the region has

the production of high purity

been inadequate infrastructure



in some of the more remote

produce high purity chemical

regions of the vast state.

manganese products.

But Element 25 is fortunate

“The deposit itself will be

in that its project is located

very easy to mine because the

in close proximity to a gas

geology is simple. It’s a bulk


pipeline and a bitumen

mining exercise so there’s no


highway that leads all the way

need for explosives, there are


to Port Hedland – where the

very low levels of deleterious

company will ship its product

elements and the beneficiation

from. While the gas pipeline

process is simple. It’s low cost

won’t be used for the stage 1

and from an infrastructure

development, having access

point of view, it’s very well

to one is a vital pre-requisite


E L EM E N T 25 AT A G L A N C E

A$209.56 million (as of January 08, 2021)


for the company’s plans to



At the start of December 2020, Element 25 published an updated pre-feasibility study (PFS) which included significantly improved economic metrics for the base case, while adding expansion option study results. The initial base case PFS published in May 2020 identified an opportunity for a low capex, rapid startup operation exporting manganese concentrate with a nominal pre-tax NPV of A$441 million and IRR of 255% for a 42-year mine life. However in the revised study, the company estimated the base case pre-tax NPV at $583 million with a higher IRR of 387%. “We increased the nameplate throughput of the plant, which improves economics. We also identified some interesting impurity attributes of the ore that are attractive to the market, which will allow us to improve the pricing model and we’ve JUSTIN BROWN, ELEMENT 25 MANAGING DIRECTOR


reduced our operating costs,”

$1,138 million for a 15-year

than an explorer is a fantastic

Brown adds.


milestone for the company.”

Expansion plans

These eye-watering numbers

What’s more, the cashflow

In addition, the metrics for the

for the expansion cases have

generated from the first stage

expansion cases 2 and 3 are

been calculated in line with

of production will directly

even more attractive. The pre-

the company’s longer-term

contribute to the funding of

tax NPV for the expansion Case plan to build a high purity

the expansion stages of the

2 is estimated at $926 million

manganese sulphate plant

project. The base case uses

for a 20-year mine life, while

for the production of battery

only 20% of the resource,

expansion Case 3 will generate

grade manganese chemicals.

so expansion is inevitable,

“Ultimately, we will move past the concentrate export business into the lucrative high purity battery grade chemical manganese segment to feed the growing demand from the world’s transition to electric vehicles.” Justin Brown, Element 25 managing director


according to Brown. But, choosing to keep his feet rooted firmly on the

“The critical thing for us was

ground, Brown is quick to

to get a low capex Stage 1

acknowledge the remarkable

opportunity up and running

achievement of the Element 25

and then we can leverage off

team ahead of the imminent

the cash to drive stages 2, 3

commissioning of Stage 1 of

and beyond.

the Butcherbird project. “Ultimately, we will move “We’re about to deliver a

past the concentrate export

mining project in WA much

business into the lucrative high

faster than anyone else has

purity battery grade chemical

done in the past,” he says.

manganese segment to feed the growing demand from the

“It’s often a five-year journey to develop a project of this type.

world’s transition to EVs.”

12 months if we can hit our

Obtaining offtake

target. Becoming a revenue

Being a relatively unproven

generating producer rather

player in the manganese

We’ve done it in a little over

market as a whole, securing



reliable offtake customers

surprise at the appetite

demand side looks really good

for its manganese products

for Element 25’s products,

at the moment.”

has been a key mission for

including beyond Stage 1.

Element 25, and a successful one at that.

Demand for high purity Element 25 also recently

battery metals has been

agreed non-binding offtake

buoyed recently by a wave of

The company has secured a

terms with Singapore-based

policy commitments centred

five-year take-or-pay offtake

Semeru Energy for 50% of the

on the decarbonisation of key

agreement with ASX-listed

production from the Stage 2

industries in major economies

OM Holdings for 100% of its

expansion to a maximum of

around the world.

first phase of production, up

200,000 tonnes per annum.

to 365,000 tonnes per annum

“We are seeing further pent-

The electrification of vehicles

of manganese concentrate.

up demand for offtake from

is a major part of plans for

Brown recounts his pleasant

stages 2, 3 and beyond, so the

a global ‘green industrial revolution’, with Tesla the



runaway leader in the EV

higher manganese content

Japan, Korea, North America

market. During its highly

in EV batteries will also play

and Europe. A non-China

anticipated Battery Day in

perfectly into the hands of

dependent diversified supply

September, the technology

Element 25, with its long-life

chain is going to be really

behemoth announced a new

project located in the ‘safe as

important to us.”

nickel-manganese cathode for

houses’ jurisdiction of WA. “Traditionally, Western

Limitless growth potential

This, along with the fact that

Australian producers have

Element 25 is on the brink of

several competing automakers

relied on China as the end

delivering the first phase of its

are set to follow suit, bodes

point for their commodities,

large-scale Butcherbird project

incredibly well for manganese

but I think that’s evolving.

in WA. First production of

chemicals demand going

We can see opportunities in

manganese concentrate for the

forward, according to Brown.

supply chains that stretch

export market in Q1 will drive

A synchronised shift towards

from Butcherbird to Malaysia,

the company into positive

higher end vehicles.




revenue territory for the first time since the company’s inception. This fast-approaching milestone has been well received by the markets, but this is only just the beginning for Element 25, with expansion cases geared towards high purity manganese chemical production showing NPVs and IRRs far in excess of the base case. “From 2023 onwards, you’ll

“Now we have all our approvals, we’re financed, offtakes are in place and we expect to be producing our first manganese concentrate product in Q1 of 2021, so it has been quite a journey in a short period of time.”

see that hockey stick growth

“With a 260 Mt resource

curve that everyone talks

we’ve got huge potential to

about really take off for battery

expand. There are amazing

chemicals,” Brown predicts.

metrics on the base case and

“We are positioning Element

the expansion cases as well.

25 and Butcherbird to take full

Beyond that, there is almost

advantage of that.

limitless growth potential.”

“Having a project that can deliver into the supply chain for locally produced batteries in WA is going to be really exciting, but I think these megafactories under construction in Europe, Asia and North America are going to be really important customers as well.


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Leading the way to sus




stainable food security


The United Nations estimates that the global population will rise to just under 10 billion people by 2050. This fact alone highlights how food security will be one of the greatest challenges facing societies in the coming three decades. Potash is a type of natural plant fertiliser that could play a pivotal role in expanding agricultural food production for the growing human race, however contemporary methods of potash extraction and production typically place a heavy toll on local ecosystems and communities. For many years, the industry has been dominated by an oligopoly of large-scale producers whose operations leave permanent scars on the environment, in the shape of huge piles of salt tailings and brine ponds that slowly contaminate shallow acquifers, while the sustained mining activity permanently disturbs and displaces communities, often rural and indigenous in nature. A few years ago, a number of individuals from the technical team that delivered one of these large operations - the Legacy Potash Project/Bethune Mine in the Canadian Province of Saskatchewan – started to develop ideas around a different way of operating in the potash game. Their concept was crystallised in a new company called Gensource Potash, now listed on the TSXV with a twopillared business model. The first is to be a small, efficient and environmentally sustainable potash producer and the second is to be vertically integrated from mine to farm.


“We’re trying to create a new

in the world for developing

way of producing potash that

a sustainable potash project,

is open and transparent,” says

based on an unrivalled

Gensource’s president and CEO

collective insight into the

Mike Ferguson. “We hope our

workings of the large-scale

production method becomes


more broadly available in order for this key macronutrient in

Marrying ESG and economics

the agricultural sector.”

While being smaller naturally

to create an open supply chain

reduces the environmental Gensource aims to create

impact of the Tugaske project

a series of small-scale and

by using less surface land

sustainable potash production

and having a reduced impact

facilities referred to as

on local infrastructure and

‘modules’, with the Tugaske

communities, the standout

Potash Project in Saskatchewan

environmental feature of

the first of those modules to be

the project is undoubtedly

brought into operation.

Gensource’s selective dissolution extraction method.

Tugaske will initially produce 250,000 tonnes per year of

In contrast to traditional

potash, making it a significantly

solution mining, which uses

smaller operation when

fresh water to dissolve potash

compared with the 2.8 million

and salt underground, selective

tonnes (Mt) per year Bethune

dissolution uses brine to

mine developed by the

dissolve only potash from

Gensource team in their former

underground caverns. The new

roles with Potash One.

method is a real ‘gamechanger’ for the industry, according to

Incidentally, Ferguson is of the view that his technical team at Gensource is the best





“Selective dissolution creates

for a much lower cost

no salt tailings and requires

production facility. It’s nice

no brine ponds on surface,” he

when you combine a strong

proclaims. While erasing the

ESG footprint with strong

presence of redundant piles

economics. They run together

of salt up to 100 metres high

in this case.”

and stagnant brine ponds next STOCK TICKER TSXV:GSP


US$58.8 million (as of January 26, 2021)

to the mine site, the method

The 2017 bankable feasibility

also uses about a quarter of

study for the Tugaske project

the water per tonne of product

estimated operating costs of

compared to the normal

just US$39.57 per tonne, with

solution process.

sustaining capital expenditure and various royalties

aj “Coincidentally, selective

contributing to all-in operating

dissolution mining makes

costs of about US$100 per tonne.



In addition, being roughly

that is only 65 Mt globally,

Tugaske project through

a tenth of the size of the

those are big lumps of new

the development timeline,

prevailing large-scale potash

production that the market has

notably achieving automatic

operations, which Ferguson

to deal with. By adding small

environmental approval from

labels ‘lumpy’, allows

scale, incremental production,

the Saskatchewan Ministry of

Gensource to track demand

I think we’ll start to see a

Environment in August 2018.

and ramp up incrementally

much smoother ramping up

with new modules so as not to

of supply to meet the demand

This unprecedented

flood the market with millions


decision to approve the

of tonnes of production at once.


project without the need for a formal environmental

Since acquiring 100% of

impact assessment was

“When you show up with a 4

the Vanguard Project Area

made by the Ministry after it

Mt per year project in a market

in June 2016, Gensource

designated Tugaske as ‘not a

has rapidly advanced the


“We’re trying to create a new way of producing potash that is open and transparent. We hope our production method becomes more broadly available in order to create an open supply chain for this key macronutrient in the agricultural sector” Mike Ferguson, Gensource Potash president and CEO 70

development’, due to its lack

over the last 12 months due to

of environmental impacts.

the COVID-19 pandemic.

Without knowing, Gensource had made history as the

“We are working through

first ever potash project in

the debt financing and the

Saskatchewan to receive this

approval process for the

type of determination.

Export Credit Agency and that hasn’t stopped despite of

The project is currently in the

the slowdown in the business

financing stage and has been

world that is a product of the

‘shovel-ready’ for some time,

various cycles of COVID-19,”

however the pace of progress

says Ferguson.

has slowed as a result of upheaval to working patterns



of local vendors and service providers operating in the ‘potash capital of the world’. Gensource’s construction partner SECON is another local partner with decades of experience working on potash projects in the region. “We hope to reach financial close in Q2 this year. As soon as we do, we will be on the ground with construction, because of the parallel work we have been doing for project ramp up,” Ferguson reveals.

Offtake and equity Perhaps the most vital partnership Gensource has made is with German MIKE FERGUSON, GENSOURCE POTASH PRESIDENT AND CEO

conglomerate HELM AG, who came on board in January 2020 with an offtake arrangement


“We’re moving a bit slower

In fact, Gensource is already

for 100% of the potash

than we would under ideal

working on some engineering

production from the first

conditions, but things carry

activities at the project site

Tugaske module, via its North

forward. We have great

along with its partners,

American subsidiary HELM

support from our senior

including Saskatoon-based

Fertilizer Corp.

debt partners and the whole

Engcomp. The engineering

process continues to progress.”

firm is one of a multitude


In addition to the offtake deal,

as its marketing arm. With

interveners in between. HELM

HELM also committed to

an existing infrastructure

will take our product from

invest equity in the project, in

and customer base in the US,

mine site at Tugaske and move

doing so helping Gensource

HELM has visibility straight

it directly to the customer,

create a streamlined supply

through to the customer.

with no intermediaries.”

line with its second business

“Besides the small-scale

Going global

pillar: Vertical integration.

production, the other part

Gensource is tantalisingly

of our business plan is about

close to delivering its first

“To find an offtaker who

vertical integration and

small-scale, efficient and

believes in the project enough

making sure we have the

environmentally sustainable

to become an equity investor

most efficient supply chain

potash production module in

was key for us. We now have

from the Tugaske project in

Saskatchewan, which is being

perfect alignment between

Saskatchewan to the identified

touted as a ‘gamechanger’ for

the project and what we see

market, with no other

the potash sector. However,

chain for the potash space, in

this is just module number




Mike Ferguson, Gensource Potash president and CEO

one and Gensource’s vision is

supply chain that we are

“Being close to market in the


offering, that’s what sparks

fertiliser world is important

another module.”

because a lot of the costs

“The Tugaske project is set

involved in the supply chain

up to expand incrementally

Crucially, the company’s

are around transportation and

with additional modules. So

downsized approach to potash

logistics. The closer you can

as we work with HELM on

production is set to unlock

get to that market the better off

the market side of things, we

an entire cache of projects

you are. We’re excited about

aim to add modules based on

around the world previously

the prospect of identifying

demand. But more broadly

deemed too small to be

and putting into production

speaking, our approach

economic. Gensource’s aim is

these various – some known

is always ‘market first’. As

to find these deposits in close

and some currently unknown

we identify a market that

proximity to key agricultural

– resources in locations

is interested in an efficient


around the world,” Ferguson concludes.


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An emerging force in




n industrial minerals



Andromeda Metals is a slightly misleading name and the result of a hangover from a previous life, according to the company’s managing director James Marsh. A more appropriate name, he says, would be Andromeda Minerals, on account of the ASXlisted outfit’s focus on the industrial minerals space. Andromeda’s projects are located in South Australia, but its ambitions are global in that it seeks to become the world’s largest producer of a specialised industrial mineral called halloysite-kaolin. Halloysite is a rare ‘tubular shaped’ derivative of the typical industrial mineral kaolin, which has been used in the manufacture of porcelain products around the world for over 1,000 years. This mature market will provide an attractive, low-risk base for Andromeda to tap into, while there is a growing list of new applications for the halloysite-kaolin minerals that the company will extract from its flagship Great White Kaolin Project. Cutting-edge research into halloysitekaolin has identified uses in concrete, high purity alumina (HPA) production and in nanotechnology, which encompasses a range of exciting blue-sky technologies in high growth areas.


Andromeda’s 75%-owned Great

the industry. This has opened

White project is located in close

a whole new market to us,

proximity to vital infrastructure

which is comprised of the

within the Eyre Peninsula of

coatings market and some very

South Australia and is widely

high performance polymer

regarded as one of the world’s


largest known high purity halloysite-kaolin resources,

“I joined the company just over

with total ore resources well

two years ago. I was brought in

over 100 million tonnes (Mt)

because I’ve worked in dozens

when the nearby 100%-owned

of countries around the world

Mount Hope Project is factored

on kaolin and kaolin derivative


projects, and this is a very specialised, high value form

The Great White resource

of kaolin. There wasn’t much

is a naturally occurring

kaolin expertise in Australia,

blend of halloysite tubes

so I was brought in to get this

and kaolinite plates at a

project up and going.”

ratio of approximately 40:60 respectively, although Marsh

During the last two-and-a-bit

tells RGN that the company

years, Marsh’s highly competent

is seeking to grow the higher

team have pushed the project

value halloysite segment of the

through the scoping and pre-

resource, particularly in areas

feasibility study (PFS) stages

containing very high purity

and are currently working on


the definitive feasibility study (DFS) and elements of the

“We’ve also found areas

bankable study, which should

of super high purity non-

be delivered in early 2021.

halloysite type kaolin,” he says. “Normally this would be lower value, but it’s the purest material I’ve seen in over 30 years of working in



Sweetening project economics

transporting a lot of waste

Last year’s PFS contained some

second stage.

material overseas to have it processed somewhere else in a

very encouraging numbers that would even put some gold

“We also feel much better off

projects to shame, according

going straight to a plant on-

to Marsh. The study expanded

site while the world situation

the LoM to 26 years and

is a little bit uncertain at the

revealed a 35% increase to the

moment. We’d be far wiser to

pre-tax NPV to A$736 million,

keep everything in our own

using an 8% discount rate. The

control, including production

IRR remained unchanged at

and our sales.”

175%. Towards the end of 2020, Project economics were

Andromeda updated its

sweetened by a switch in the

mineral resource estimate for

mining method from a dry to

the Great White resource by

a wet process. The original

33% to 34.6 Mt of bright white

plan was to generate cash flow

kaolinised granite, following

from an initial direct shipping

a series of successful drill

ore phase, but substantial


growth in Andromeda’s market capitalisation over the last

Fellow ASX-listed firm

six months has provided the

Minotaur Exploration holds

bandwidth for an on-site

the remaining 25% interest

process plant that will produce

in the Great White project

a refined product of higher

and is a trusted JV partner of


Andromeda’s, owing to longterm ties with Marsh. “I was a


“The decision to go straight to

consultant for Minotaur about

a final product was a big step

12 years ago, so I knew them

forward in the value of the

very well before I got involved

project. It also means we aren’t

with Andromeda.



“We are very lucky with our resource because there are other halloysites around the world, but not all halloysites are equal and some don’t work in certain applications. What we have is the perfect shape and structure” James Marsh, Andromeda Metals managing director


“We’re the managing operator

industries. The company

of the project and have been

started by targeting the high

driving the whole process

end of the ceramics market,

forward, but they listen

where customers value

and make comments where

the high quality halloysite

required. Together, we have


factored the latest resource upgrade into our current work

“Customers in this market

on the DFS.”

have used halloysite for

Offtake orders

decades, but current producers of the high value material have

Since 2018, Andromeda has

fallen by the wayside. They’ve

been busy securing non-

either run out of material

binding offtake agreements for

due a natural depletion of

its halloysite-kaolin products

resources or they’ve been shut

with customers from multiple



Until recently, China was one

and we’ve got over 200,000

agreed offtake for up to 400,000

of the leading global halloysite

tonnes per annum (pa) of non-

tonnes pa of this material.

producers, but a recent

binding offtake agreements for

government crackdown on

this product.”

polluting mines led to closures

This is combined with around 300,000 tonnes pa of

of several operating mines.

In addition, the company

unprocessed ore which has

These shutdowns have created

looked at the market for semi-

been signed up for offtake

a gap in the market that

processed material, which

with customers who have

Andromeda has been quick to

requires the removal of sand

had their own mines shut

capitalise on.

from the orebody (50% of

down, and who appreciate

the material that comes out

that Andromeda’s product

“We targeted those customers

the ground is sand) using the

conforms to the typically high

who will be using the fully

simple wet process to produce

standards of the Australian

refined product, which sells

a product worth around A$400

minerals sector.

for around A$700 per tonne,

per tonne. Andromeda has


Fortunately, Andromeda is

1 Mt of offtake signed up

Educating investors

and we are in the process of

While investors on the ASX

global attention towards areas

converting them to binding

have a good grasp of the

such as hydrogen production

offtakes. We also have about

uses of kaolin in established

and storage, carbon capture

six tonnes of final product

markets, such as ceramics

storage, lithium-ion batteries

that has been completed and

and paper, Andromeda has

and water purification – all of

packaged for us in Japan. We

been doing its best to educate

which depend on nanotube

will now use that to convert

shareholders on the higher

technologies, according to

our customers and any new

value markets for halloysite-

latest research.

ones to binding offtakes,

kaolin and in the myriad new

which will take us through

applications across several

In fact, Andromeda and

the bankable feasibility study

high growth sectors.

Minotaur recently formed

“All in all, we have just under



benefitting from increasing

a 50:50 JV research and



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development (R&D) company

“We are very lucky with our

called Natural Nanotech in

resource because there are

order to capitalise on the

other halloysites around the

opportunity to become a

world, but not all halloysites

world leader in associated

are equal and some don’t work


in certain applications because the shape and structure is

“Our R&D company will

not quite right. What we

focus on pushing these

have is the perfect shape


new applications through

and structure. We are lucky


to intellectual property and

we have these materials and

hopefully commercialising

our research is progressing

those opportunities for the



A$656.5 million (as of January 5, 2020)



halloysite from the Great White resource,” Marsh

Carbon Capture Technology


(CCT) is one form of nanotube


technology that has been

Australian state government

The existing market –

proven and is being adopted

within the next 12 months.

comprised primarily of high

by the Indian navy for

quality ceramics – provides

carbon capture in submarine

Marsh anticipates no major

a low volatility base for the

emissions. The material

barriers with regards to the

company to comfortably

required for this technology is

final government processes:

service with its products,

selling for an eyewatering A$3

“We have strived to choose

ahead of the transition

million a tonne, and Marsh

a model that is simple and

into higher value mid-term

believes that the halloysite

low impact. The mining is

opportunities in concrete,

version of this technology will

very shallow and will only

coatings and polymer

be further multiples of that.

go around 30 metres down

applications, amongst others.

and there will be no nasty In addition to nanotube

chemicals or tailings dams.

technology, Andromeda is also

“Looking to the longer term - but coming through

guiding investors towards the

“We are going to backfill

quite rapidly now - is the

uses of halloysite-kaolin in

and rehabilitate the project

potential for a halloysite

concrete, where its potential

mining area as we progress

nanotechnology business.

value could be anywhere

to minimise the footprint,”

This is extremely exciting as it

between A$1,000-4,000 per

he continues. “The

could completely overshadow

tonne, while Andromeda’s

environmentals are now

the already attractive numbers

production costs would centre

complete, we are just waiting

we have in our PFS.

on simply removing the sand

for sign off by the consultants.

from the ore.

“We feel that we have “We see our value proposition

something here of great

as us being the biggest,

interest,” Marsh concludes.

possibly the world’s only,

“By 2022 we should be into

Andromeda is targeting first

producer of high purity

revenue. Shortly after we

commercial production from

halloysite and halloysite-

can expand into other areas

the Great White project in

kaolin. And we’ll be supplying

and start bringing through

early 2022, provided that

it into three different market

these exciting new high value

the company is granted

segments, starting with the


environmental and mining

mature base market,” says

permits by the South

Andromeda’s boss.

12-month countdown


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A unique hybrid ‘royalty generator’




’ model in the African mining space


“We’re neither a pure play royalty company nor a pure explorer,” explains chief executive and co-founder of Altus Strategies Steve Poulton. “We believe we are positioning our shareholders at the epicentre of the sweet spot in the resources sector. On the exploration side, tremendous returns on capital can be generated by making an economic discovery, while at the mining stage a royalty can deliver an almost perpetual revenue stream off the underlying asset, without assuming the project’s operational risks. That’s what we do at Altus.” The London and Toronto-listed junior stakes ground across the African continent, makes mineral discoveries, partners with leading project developers and gets paid along the way, all while retaining future royalty interest. “We exit the asset, monetise it for our shareholders and retain the royalty interest at the back end. This keeps us nimble and constantly growing,” Poulton says. “It takes a while to develop a portfolio via this model, but the value creation and optionality can be huge. It requires certain skills from management to simultaneously advance and monetise multiple projects in different jurisdictions, as well as shareholders who understand that we are not looking to make a ‘quick buck’. Over time, we believe our model will generate superior returns for our shareholders, for considerably less risk.”


Altus’ high quality shareholder

in Altus and appointed their

base provides a strong

CEO Karim Nasr to the board

endorsement of its unique

as a non-executive director

hybrid business model. First

with the right to appoint

and foremost, the board owns a

another non-executive should

combined 20% of the company.

they wish. Altus has also been

This inside ownership has

backed by Sprott since 2012 and

imbued an additional layer of

has several other high profile

confidence in the management

institutional and high net worth

team among institutional

investors which, together with


the board, own close to 80% of

Enter La Mancha

the share register.

In February 2020, world-

“Why did La Mancha take

renowned resources investor La

that strategic position in

Mancha acquired a 35% stake

our company? Because their


investment strategy dovetails

exposure to a growing,

partnerships and new royalty

elegantly with our business

diversified and gold-weighted


model. They are exceptionally

portfolio of discovery stage

strong believers in the African

assets in Africa. Our royalty

Altus chooses to focus

mining sector, having large

portfolio is now also growing

on African opportunities

equity positions in TSX-listed

as we are monetising our

primarily due to the sheer

gold producers Endeavour

assets. It really is a perfect

size of the continent and

Mining and Golden Star

meeting of minds.”

its underexplored nature


compared to other established The chief executive declares

mining jurisdictions.

“They are also keen to have

that with La Mancha’s blessing,

Related to its size and lack of

exposure to the discovery

Altus has plans to expand its

exploration, average depths

phase, as well as royalty

portfolio into new jurisdictions

of discovery are a key factor

opportunities,” Poulton

on the African continent

for the company. Whereas in

asserts. “Altus provides

with new projects, new

Canada, average discovery




depths are down at 200 metres,

project portfolio contained

in Africa they average just

up to 10 royalty transactions

nine metres (outside of South

and Poulton expects to see the

Africa), according to Poulton.

organic royalty portfolio grow dramatically in the next two to

“All the discoveries Altus has

three years as the cycle of the

made on the continent have

market continues to turn for

been at surface. That means

the better.

we can move quickly from concept to discovery and - if

In addition, the company is

the asset is of merit - on to

expecting to add to the organic


royalties portfolio with some non-organic transactions,

“Of course, sometimes along

which would either be

the way it doesn’t work and

acquired from third parties

you have to make a decision

or Altus could provide capital

to cut your losses in order to

to companies to create new

not waste your shareholders

royalty agreements.

money. This feature of being able to fold and walk away at

“Taking a longer-term view

the earliest opportunity, is a

over four to five years, I’d be

real strength of our model.”

very surprised if our royalty

Cash generating royalties

portfolio was not substantially larger, was not substantially cash paying and was not more

Since striking its first royalty

than 50% backed in value by

deal almost a decade ago, Altus

royalties that we’d acquired

has been growing its portfolio

versus those we’d written.”

of royalties and milestone payment agreements for

By the same token, Altus

discoveries made by the

will look to maintain an

company across Africa. At

approximate 50:50 split

the end of Q4 2020, Altus’

between royalties and


discoveries on its project portfolio by remaining focused in the African exploration space over the coming years. The company also intends to continue to have an approximate 70% weighting of its portfolio towards gold, in order to offer maximum exposure to the thriving precious metals sector. “While the royalty companies do quite well and get a good mark up on their prices based on their revenue streams, they simply don’t have exposure to a drill bit discovery that can turn




MARKET CAPITALISATION US$53.5 million (as of December 22, 2020)






a relatively low value asset into

20,000 metres of drilling taking

“Tabakorole already has

a quarter of a billion dollar

place at the assets within a

approximately 1 million

one. That is the interesting

three-month period.

ounces (Moz) in resource and

part of the Altus model that the royalty companies do not

Two of the Malian assets,

underway. Meanwhile,

share,” Poulton explains.

named Lakanfla and

Lakanfla is located just five

Tabakorole, are being

or six km from the pits of the

developed in conjunction

Sadiola gold mine, which has

with the firm’s ASX-listed joint

historically produced well over

venture (JV) partner Marvel

10 Moz of gold. Drilling has

Diving deeper into the

Gold, while the third project is

been completed at Lakanfla

exploration side of the

called Diba and is 100% owned

and we are awaiting assay

business, Altus is currently

by Altus.


Current exploration programmes

advancing three gold projects in Mali, with approximately


further drilling is already


In addition, the company is undertaking up to 10,000 metres of drilling at the Diba project, with around two thirds focusing on targets within the wider licence area and a third within the existing resource, which currently hosts 400,000 ounces of gold. Altus announced an updated preliminary economic assessment (PEA) for the Diba project in November. Using a gold price of US$1,800 per ounce, the PEA proposes that Diba will deliver around $140 million in NPV after tax using a 10% discount rate. This figure is approximately three times the company’s current market cap. “We have sold two gold projects in Mali to TSXV-listed Desert Gold and two gold projects in Côte d’Ivoire to TSXV-listed Stellar Africa. We also have a JV with Resolute Mining in Mali,” says Poulton.



Steve Poulton, Altus Strategies chief executive

“Taking a longerterm view over four to five years, I’d be very surprised if our portfolio was not substantially larger, was not substantially cash paying and was not more than 50% backed by royalties in number that we’d acquired versus that we’d written” Steve Poulton, Altus Strategies chief executive

10 2

Elsewhere on the continent,

10 million shares to Altus

Altus has 100%-owned gold

in respect of its former

and copper discoveries in

bauxite JV in Cameroon.

Northern Ethiopia and copper

Canyon is rapidly advancing

and silver discoveries in

Cameroon’s world-class Minim

central Morocco, amongst

Martap bauxite deposit.

other projects and royalty

Poulton describes the firm’s

agreements in the likes

management of multiple

of Liberia and Cameroon,

assets, partners and royalty

where the company has made

transactions in multiple

bauxite, gold and iron ore

jurisdictions across Africa


as ‘a distinct blend of art and science’.

Shareholders of ASX-listed Canyon Resources recently

“We are going to grow our

agreed the issue of a further

portfolio in Africa into new


countries with a primary focus gs-007 Half Page ad final artwork.indd 1

which includes some 02/12/2020 of


in commodities like copper.

The best of both worlds

Having diversification is a real

With a rapidly expanding

space. “In particular, with

value add to our shareholders.

portfolio in the most

La Mancha’s backing we

Geopolitical and commodity

prospective region in the world have the opportunity to do

risks are a real and present

for new discoveries and a self-

more far-reaching deals and

threat to all companies active

sustaining royalty generator

projects. That is all part and

in the resources sector, so it’s

model, Altus is demonstrating

parcel of our current decision

good to know that with Altus,

that it can successfully

making process, in terms

you’re not exposed too heavily

combine the two sweet spots

of our allocation of human

to any one country or any one

in the mining sector.

and financial resources to

on the gold sector, but also


the biggest institutional investors in the mining

take Altus to the next level,” Further validation of this

Poulton concludes.

model is provided by Altus’ high quality share registry,


2021 HOW THE PDAC VIRTUAL CONVENTION WORKS The Convention will take place within a virtual venue called a platform, comparable to a physical venue. Event components that attendees would traditionally experience in-person will be presented virtually. A virtual convention offers attendees more benefits than ever before!



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Accessed from all mobile and desktop devices, all you need is an internet connection. Attend virtual networking lounges, educational sessions and entertainment all from the comfort of your home or office.

EVENTS PDAC Virtual Convention PDAC 2021 goes virtual March 07-10, 2021 Another victim of COVID-19 from the events industry is the annual Prospectors & Developers Association of Canada (PDAC) Convention, which has been cancelled due to health and safety concerns associated with the pandemic. But, the 2021 convention will still take place from an entirely virtual platform for the first time

in its 89-year history. “The decision to move forward with a virtual event offers a safe and innovative solution for the industry to access our outstanding programming, investment and networking opportunities,” said PDAC in a statement. The event’s organisers will share further updates as soon they become available.

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Mines and Money Online Connect Connecting miners with international investors online March 23-25, 2021 Mines and Money Online Connect has established itself as the leading virtual conferencing event for the mining sector as we continue to adapt to COVID-19 restrictions on travel and large-scale gatherings. After its successful first commodityspecialised event in January, Mines and Money will deliver a show with a broader focus

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while providing an online space for deal-making with its innovative online meeting planner. Confirmed mining companies taking part over the three days include E3 Metals, Southern Gold, GoviEx Uranium, EV Magnachem and many more.


Mining, oil & gas and renewable energy events from around the world

Mining Indaba Virtual Investment Programme Part two of Mining Indaba’s virtual offering in 2021 March 30-31, 2021 Following hot in the footsteps of the company’s first ever virtual conference, the Investing in African Mining Indaba team brings to the industry a new digital platform specifically for deal-making, in lieu of the investment opportunities provided by the physical event in Cape Town.

The Virtual Investment Programme will bring together high-profile investors with the management teams of projects in need of capital. In addition, participants can view exclusive analyst-led roundtables and the famous Investment Battlefield competition, all from the comfort of their home.

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EXPOMIN 2021 Latin America’s largest mining fair April 19-23, 2021 Ongoing public health concerns relating to the COVID-19 pandemic necessitated the postponement of EXPOMIN 2020 last November, but the event organisers are hopeful the rescheduled show will take place in some format in April. Latin America’s largest mining fair is well established as a space that promotes the

exchange of knowledge, experience and technology offers that contribute to the innovation and increase in productivity of mining processes on the continent. This 16th edition hopes to gather all the key actors along the mining supply chain in South America.

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Mining Indaba Virtual 2021 REviews Indaba’s first ever online event

FEATURING: Q&A with Indaba’s head of content Tom Quinn Roscan Gold Corp Capital Ltd

Profile for Anderson Murray Media

RGN Vol 8 Iss 1