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LiCo Energy Metals Inc. (TSXV:LIC) is an Canadian company that conducts exploration for metals used in the production of lithium-ion batteries. Exploration of these metals has become critical in the face of surging demand for electric vehicles, cell-phones, and many other modern devices. LiCo Energy Metals has four ongoing projects in mining-friendly jurisdictions within Canada, United States, and Chile.
LiCo Energy Metals was restructured in early 2016 and now has a new management team and board of directors at the helm. The company closed a private placement offering raising gross proceeds of $1,734,995 in June 2016, followed by the closing of a flow-through private placement offering raising gross proceeds of $600,000 in September.
- New corporate strategy to become an energy metals company focusing on lithium and cobalt acquisitions.
- $1.5 million in working capital after restructuring expenses to further develop its lithium and cobalt properties.
- The Purickuta Lithium Project is a near production opportunity situated in the highest-grade lithium salar in the world, the Atacama Salar
- The Teledyne Cobalt Project has over $25 million in inflation-adjusted infrastructure to date, including a fully operational mine shaft parallel to cobalt veins.
- Phase one cobalt exploration program currently underway, with a diamond drilling program to begin in Q1 2017
- The Dixie Valley Exploration Project is a brine-based lithium project with target models and geological features similar to those seen in Clayton Valley.
- The Black Rock Desert Project is a brine-based lithium project with significant lithium values as high as 520 parts per million.
- The company has increasing support from experienced, high-profile insiders.
- “Blue-Sky” listed on Mergent Manual and News Reports.
Cobalt: Teledyne Project, Ontario
The Teledyne Cobalt Project is located 425 kilometers north of Toronto and 6 kilometers outside of downtown Cobalt in northeastern Ontario, Canada. The high-grade, late-stage exploration project covers 554.1 hectares in the historic Cobalt mining camp. During the early 20th century the region was one of the world’s largest silver camps, with historical production estimated at 18 million kilograms of silver and 14 million kilograms of cobalt. Teledyne is on-strike with the Agaunico Mine, the camp’s most prolific past-producing cobalt mine. The region has retained a skilled labor pool as well as mining and exploration services.
Fast-tracking the project is a viable option
More than US$25 million (inflation adjusted) in exploration and development work has been completed on the property including a development ramp and a modern 500-foot shaft parallel to the cobalt vein. Access to cobalt ore custom milling is within 2 kilometers of the ramp.
Exploration work completed by the previous owner between 1979 and 1980 consisted of both surface (6 holes) and underground (22 holes) diamond drilling. Highlights of the results included:
- 4 of the 6 surface drill holes intersected ore grade cobalt (>0.10 percent Co); Individual cobalt grades to 10.6 percent and silver to 2.36 oz/ton.
- Additionally, 18 of the 22 underground drill holes intersected ore grade cobalt (>0.10 percent Co); individual cobalt grades to 10.2 percent and silver to 4.21 oz/ton.
- Average grade / core width from the 22 holes = 0.57 percent cobalt / 1.6 meters core width.
- Estimated probable and inferred reserves accessible from the current ramp in excess of a 100,000 tons at 0.45 percent cobalt, .25 percent nickel and 3 oz/t silver was prepared by Watts Griffis McQuat (pre NI-43-101).
- Confirmed continuation of the high-grade Agaunico cobalt ore zone onto the Teledyne property with a strike length of at least 150 meters on the Teledyne property.
The Agaunico zone remains open to the south with a further 650 meters of potential mineralized strike length on the Teledyne property, and is an attractive target for a future drill program. Phase one cobalt exploration program currently underway, with a diamond drilling program to begin in Q1 2017.
Lithium: Purickuta Exploitation Project, Chile
The Purickuta Project exhibits many highly desirable and key acquisition attributes, including:
1. The appearance of both a low-cost resource definition opportunity and a near term production opportunity
2. The overall project size fits well within the capability of a junior company seeking to quickly define reserves and establish production facilities
3. The property is well situated within the Salar de Atacama, the highest-grade lithium salar in the world
4. Within the Salar de Atacama, lithium brines exist within 140 feet of surface resulting in low costs of exploration and extraction
5. The Purickuta Concession lies relatively near existing pumping and solar evaporation installations
6. The Purickuta Concession is close to power, labour, communications, transportation and other infrastructure.
Lithium: Dixie Valley Exploration Project, Nevada
The Dixie Valley Exploration Project is a grassroots, brine-based lithium project located on the Humboldt Salt Marsh playa in central Nevada’s Dixie Valley. The valley has a similar lithium target model as producing brine operations in Clayton Valley, Nevada and the salar basins of South America.
All seven of the geological features cited in the United States Geological Survey Open File Repot 2013-1006 as indicative of lithium brine deposits are present in Dixie Valley. “Dixie Valley is a closed fault-bounded basin having the lowest elevation point (1031 meters) in the Northern Great Basin as measured on the Humboldt Salt Marsh playa,” stated LiCo Energy Metals in a press release. “Given the valley has been a closed basin for at least 500,000 years and probably much, much longer, plenty of time has elapsed for evaporative concentration of lithium bearing geothermal and surface water.” Geothermal water in the basin contains up to 4.89 ppm lithium and stream sediment samples from the adjacent Stillwater range show values to 80 ppm lithium.
The region has had very little lithium exploration outside of governmental, academic and industrial geophysical studies, which have shown that active geothermal systems exist in the valley. These studies provide a base for more detailed work going forward. LiCo Energy Metals is planning an exploration program to be carried out in the fall and winter of 2016/2017.
Lithium: Black Rock Desert Exploration Project, Nevada
LiCo Energy Metals has entered into an option agreement whereby the Company may earn an undivided 70% interest subject to a 3% Net Smelter Return Royalty in the existing Black Rock Desert Lithium Project that consists of 199 placer claims (3,980 acres/ 1,610 hectares) in southwest Black Rock Desert, Washoe County, Nevada.
The geologic setting combined with the presence of lithium in both active geothermal fluids and surface salts within the Black Rock Desert property match characteristics of lithium brine deposits at Clayton Valley, Nevada and in South America. Geothermal fluids adjoining the claims are known to contain anomalous lithium values and a recently completed surface silt sampling program confirmed values containing up to 520 ppm lithium. Although geological work has been undertaken for geothermal energy production in the area, the lithium in brine potential of the playa has not been specifically studied. Initially, the lithium target in this basin was highly conceptual, however, recent exploration results are highly encouraging and warrant a detailed exploration drilling for a Clayton Valley type brine deposit.
Rick Wilson—CEO and Director
Rick Wilson has been involved in the resource and exploration industries for over twenty years. Since January 2016, Wilson has stood as the director, president, and CEO of Nevada Energy Metals Inc., a brine-based lithium exploration project generator. He has also served as the President of Emerson Explorations/GBS Gold International Inc. from 1998 to 2006. During his time served within the company, they successfully raised over $62 million dollars to acquire and develop two publicly traded Australian gold mines. Wilson’s vast understanding of the mining exploration industry will deem valuable as he leads the company forward.
Tim Fernback—Chief Operating Officer
Tim Fernback has 20+ years of experience in the resource sector including in financing and managing public and private companies. He has held multiple senior executive positions, including oversight of the Investment Banking and Corporate Finance Divisions at Wolverton Securities, formerly Western Canada’s oldest brokerage firm. He was also responsible for the consulting practice at Discovery Capital Corporation, a prominent British Columbia venture capital firm that specializes in financing and consulting. During his time at Wolverton Securities, Fernback was responsible for due diligence reviews on corporate clients and investment banking business development relationships. He planned and opened 3 regional offices in western Canada and reviewed and analyzed over 300 corporate clients, raising over $750M. Responsible for over 50 IPOs and over 100 Reverse-Mergers on the TMX and Nasdaq, Fernback represented Wolverton nationally on various stock exchange committees and industry groups, including the Corporate Finance Advisory Group and Underwriting Groups on various Canadian exchanges.
James Hellwarth of Orlando Florida has been involved in business development and strategic management of small cap companies for over 11 years. He has a firm understanding of the lithium exploration sector, and currently sits on the advisory board for Nevada Energy Metals. Hellwarth is also a managing partner at Xander Capital, where he plays a key role in establishing and developing relationships with high net worth individuals and organizations. In addition, He has owned and operated several very successful companies of his own, along with orchestrating large roadshows across the United States. Through his sharp businesses acumen, he has helped raise capital and create new opportunities for his clients. To date, he has participated in numerous multi-million dollar raises for private and public companies. Through his extensive network of colleagues and individuals, Hellwarth will be able to assist in potential capital raises necessary for moving the company forward. His proven track record in all aspects of business administration will prove to be a valuable asset to the company. Hellwarth’s expertise within the lithium exploration industry will help take the company to the next level.
Douglas Eacrett is a corporate and securities lawyer practicing in Vancouver, British Columbia, with over 30 years’ experience providing securities, corporate and commercial law services to reporting issuers in British Columbia and corporate and commercial law services to non-reporting issuers. In addition to his training and experience as a lawyer, Eacrett holds a CPA – CA designation and is a member of the Chartered Professional Accountants of Canada. During his career, he has served as a director and/or officer of numerous public companies, most listed on the TSX Venture Exchange, including serving on the audit committees for a number of these companies and providing services to some as Chief Financial Officer from time to time.
Mr. Melrose has over 30 years’ experience in the mining industry where he has been very successful in advancing three significant exploration projects towards production. Under his leadership as President/CEO of True Gold Mining Inc., True Gold progressed from an exploration company into a fully permitted and financed company in mine construction in just over 3 years. Mr. Melrose was instrumental in re-focusing the project from a high Capex project into a low Capex high margin, heap leach project, in addition to the company completing over $200 million in equity and debt financing. Mr. Melrose spent over twenty years with Cameco Corporation/Centerra Gold Inc. working in a variety of different geographic locations and business environments (Canada, USA, Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan). Here, Mr. Melrose was directly responsible for the exploration team and its programs at the Kumtor Gold Mine where he significantly increased the reserves and resources at the mine. Mr. Melrose joined the Minco Mining Group in 2007, where the company successfully progressed from exploration into development stage and greatly increased in shareholder value. Mr. Melrose was directly responsible for defining the Fuwan silver deposit (157 million ounces).
Robert Guanzon, CPA, CMA, has been in the field of accounting for more than 25 years. He has been involved in the financial reporting of junior mining exploration companies, pharmaceutical manufacturing business, research & development, real estate/property management, and project building construction. ‘Guanzon holds a Bachelor’s degree in Accounting, a Certified Public Accountant (Philippines) and a member of Chartered Professional Accountants British Columbia. He brings extensive experience in dealing with financial matters and corporate strategy.