What is the genesis of Lomiko Metals?
In 2009, we formed Lomiko Metals because I wanted to focus on the green economy and battery materials. We focused on lithium and graphite, and we optioned different properties around the world. We eventually dropped those in lieu of a focused presence in Québec, which we felt was a much better jurisdiction for finding a viable graphite project that could ultimately become a mine. We now feel that we have found this with our La Loutre project.
What is the importance of graphite for the battery material industry?
What makes graphite interesting is that it is essentially equivalent to copper when it comes to the electric vehicle industry. Graphite is going to be a core of the of the lithium ion battery; there is 15 times more graphite than there is lithium in the battery. What we now need to see is price increases. There are 200 mega factories being built worldwide today, which means that there will be demand, and whatever amount of graphite is being produced now will be soaked up by all of the lithium ion battery companies. The estimate is that you need at least one mine per mega factory. Worldwide there are currently 25 to 30 operating graphite mines. Therefore, there is a need to build many more mines to meet demand.
What makes La Loutre an appealing project for potential investors?
What appeals to the end purchaser of a mine, or the purchaser of the product, is the lowest possible price for the product that you can sell while still making a profit. We looked at a location that had near surface mineralization and good metallurgy in order to recover the material at a high rate. The deposit also had a stellar location that was close to infrastructure, highways and accessible, such that there was a number of ways to get hydropower in, and there was a workforce nearby. All of these factors are present with the La Loutre project. When we drilled, we found very good intercepts of over 100 meters of 14% graphite in one of the holes, and surrounding that are other very significant intercepts. Our ultimate goal is to produce something that is at least a 10 year mine producing 10 million tonnes or more at 10% grade.
Can you speak of the advantages of developing a graphite project in Québec?
The graphite industry in Québec is mostly confined to a swath of mineralized area that is called the Grenville Trend, which hosts a number of different projects such as Northern Graphite, Imerys Graphite & Carbon, Lomiko, Nouveau Monde and Mason Graphite. In the area Lomiko is located you get higher grades and significant flake size, but you do not get as much sulfur turning up in the project. Our La Loutre project is in the middle these other projects, which is a very beneficial place to be.
Can you provide an overview of the option agreement Lomiko recently struck with Critical Elements Lithium on its Bourier project?
In the area where the Bourier project is, there is Nemaska Lithium, Critical Elements' Rose project, and other groups have been picking up potential lithium exploration projects. What you have with the Bourier project is something that has been underexplored, considering the area that it is in, and we have a wonderful plan, in that the whole area has already been tested for geophysical anomalies with an airborne survey. Our plan is to plot where the current geophysical anomalies are that have been drilled, look for the same kind of anomalies on the Bourier project, and explore in those areas to see if we can make a discovery. I think it is a very logical approach, and if we make a lithium discovery, we have a partnership with Critical Elements baked into the agreement. It gives us a turnkey approach to lithium.