Can you elaborate on the C$5 million financing Novamera raised to conduct its first full field trail, and how it is progressing?
Novamera started a financing round in November 2020 and closed the C$5 million raise in July 2021. BDC Capital’s Industrial Innovation Venture Fund was the lead investor, with Chrysalix Venture Capital, our existing equity sponsor, also contributing with a follow-on investment, as well as contributions made by management. The Sustainable Mining by Drilling (SMD) field trial, which is being performed at Anaconda Mining’s site in Newfoundland, began in early July and is on course to be finalized by November 2021. The trial serves as a proof of concept of the entire three-step mining and remediation process. What that means is that we are drilling pilot holes down the dip of the vein and using our imaging tool to identify the mineralized zone. Then, we are using a large diameter drill with a one meter cutting head to follow the pilot hole and excavate the material. After extraction, we backfill the holes with tailings from Anaconda’s tailings facility and cement to reclaim the site. We can say with confidence that the concept and technology work.
The aim of the trial is to demonstrate the value of our process and technology to the mining industry. We have a low cost and environmentally friendly method, which enables customers to access ore bodies which cannot be accessed through conventional methods. Another benefit is the free cash flow that you can generate at a higher return and a lower risk profile.
How will Novamera’s processes impact the Anaconda site and optimize the project?
Based on what we are seeing, there is potential to mine the Romeo and Juliet deposit, but it will be up to Anaconda if it wants to develop the deposit into a mine. Anaconda’s Point Rousse project is a classic example of how our technology can bring meaningful incremental production to a site that already has the infrastructure in place. Anaconda has been mining about 15,000 to 20,000 oz/y Au for about a decade. The Romeo and Juliet deposit is a small-scale deposit that cannot be mined using conventional methods. By using SMD, Anaconda can add low cost production, leverage the existing infrastructure and generate significant profits. In addition, SMD can help Anaconda extend the life of the Point Rousse project.
If the SMD solution is taken to scale, how can it impact the future of mining?
The low hanging fruit in mining is getting depleted and it is much harder to find quality deposits, especially at surface. Many mining companies are starting to go deeper, but with a lot more costs and risks involved. There are still a significant number of deposits that are near surface and part of the mineral resource portfolio of a company, but which cannot be mined with conventional methods. Novamera is effectively enabling companies to unlock these mineral resources through our cost-effective, more precise, and minimally invasive method of mining. We are unlocking value in opportunities at or near surface, within 300 m, which were ignored before as they did not fit with conventional mining methods. We are encouraging companies to think differently about small-scale mining and are helping them to maximize the value of their projects. We are not only selling a mining method, but clients also have the ability to use our imaging tool in an exploration capacity. Our goal is to make SMD mainstream. It will be the sustainable, highly economic solution for small scale, high grade narrow vein mining.
What is Novamera’s financial plan moving forward?
Novamera is fully funded until late spring 2023. These funds include the C$5 million raised in July 2021, Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency funding, and a Sustainable Development Technology Canada (SDTC) grant for approximately C$3 million we obtained in February 2021. The bulk of these funds will be used during the field trial, but also for business development and improving our technology through the learnings of the field trial. We will again start a capital raise in the latter part of 2022, ideally closing by the spring of 2023.