American Battery Metals CEO Doug Cole joined INN to discuss the domestic battery metals market and the future of the US energy landscape.
American Battery Metals (OTCQB:ABML) Chairman and CEO Doug Cole spoke with INN about his company’s participation at Benchmark Intelligence Minerals Week, as well as ABMC’s meetings with lawmakers in Washington to discuss building up the United States’ domestic battery metal supply.
The United States government is beginning to prepare for the green energy future with plans to stockpile vital battery metals like lithium, cobalt and nickel. As part of this process, key lawmakers and officials from the Department of Energy and Department of Defense met with Cole in Washington DC to discuss the importance of breaking the country’s reliance on foreign sources for key metals. As one of the few domestic battery metal producers, ABMC could become vital to the US efforts to maintain energy independence in the era of green energy.
ABMC was also represented at this year’s Benchmark Mineral Intelligence “Minerals Week.” ABMC Head of Business Development and Government Affairs, Doug Nickle, presented at the three-day event. The company garnered significant attention at the event, as it had been announced that it recently won the Greentown Labs/BASF Circularity Challenge award for battery recycling.
Below is a transcript of our interview with American Battery Metals Chairman and CEO Doug Cole. It has been edited for clarity and brevity.
Investing News Network: Please provide our investor audience with an overview of American Battery Metals and its projects.
American Battery Metals Chairman and CEO Doug Cole: American Battery Metals has been around now since 2011. The name changed in April of this year to American Battery Metals. It was previously called Oroplata Resources, which means gold and silver. We’re in the battery metals business and we’re an advanced technology, renewable energy company. We’ve re-branded ourselves as a new high-tech energy company because everything we produce will ultimately end up into high-tech applications. Our extraction system and our battery recycling are both next-gen technologies.
We are a fully integrated company now. We own land in Railroad Valley, NV, where our 1300 claims span 26,000 acres on BLM land. We’ve done extensive geophysics and drilling and will continue to do more intensive land surveys and drilling. That’s silo number one.
Our second silo is our extraction business. It’s a proprietary, closed-loop, zero-waste extraction process. That means everything that comes out of the ground is either sold or returned back down to the earth in an environmentally-sustainable way. The advantage of our process is that there is no two-year wait to obtain the lithium, as is common with the conventional evaporation ponds used in South American projects. There’s no ruining the ground with multiple football-field-sized ponds cutting into the earth. In fact, once lithium comes out of the well, we can be producing it within eight hours into a salable product that can go directly into the supply chain.
The other thing that we are excited about with our extraction business is we’ll be able to extract other minerals in addition to lithium. We’ll be able to get clean water out of this to either help power our plant or to return to the underground aquifer. We are also going to get sodium carbonate- soda ash- an alkaline chemical used in many industrial applications.
Our third vertical- and with great near term value- is our battery recycling division. That’s what really completes us as a fully integrated company. Lithium-ion based batteries are used in so many global applications today, including consumer electronics, electric vehicles, and energy storage. Those batteries, including the scrap materials, all require recycling and redeployment back into the supply chain..
We recycle it through our next-gen technology process. We turn it into what is known as “black mass” and then we recycle all the critical materials contained within through a zero-waste process. This is both an environmental necessity as well as a profitable opportunity. It’s essentially mining from a known commodity with all the specific materials needed in a battery. We will do all this at our plant in Nevada, which is located in government-sanctioned “Opportunity Zone.” The benefit for Nevada is that it’s going to be a scalable plant capable of making money right out the gate. It’s going to employ up to 300 people, running three shifts 24/7.
There is a critical need for our recycling process right now. Only about five percent of all lithium batteries in the world get recycled today. Lithium batteries can be as small as those that power your smartphone or computer. 7000 laptop-sized batteries, all connected, create the necessary power for electric vehicles. Huge cells harness energy from renewables projects like solar and wind farms. Yet it is amazing that so few batteries get comprehensively recycled and reused. Our recycling plant will be up and operating by the second half of 2020, and will begin to feed a supply chain desperate for new resources to fill global demand for battery metals. So we view our recycling business as a major thrust for us that ties us together as a highly unique renewable energy technology company.
Our initial battery metals sales will come out of recycling. The ranch we own in Railroad Valley is 120 acres with water rights which is hugely important in mining. We’re also going to be building an up-to 50-megawatt solar plant there in coordination with the Nevada Energy Company, a Berkshire Hathaway/Warren Buffett subsidiary company.
INN: How has American Battery Metals’ recent geophysics program been progressing?
DC: It’s been going great. When we first got into this, we did geophysics to assess the nature of our resource. You do geophysics to pick the initial drill targets. Our increasingly sophistical geophysics and land surveys have indicated a humongous resource with as yet undefined borders. This means it could be even bigger than originally thought. Our initial drill results corroborated our geophysics. We’re currently continuing to refine our data with Magnetotellurics and aerial surveys which will further define the reservoir and help us pinpoint the most effective locations for our next drill holes.
Our recent aerial survey covered 2,000 square miles. Combined with the MT survey, both of these new methods will help us target our next three production wells.
INN: Can you give us a recap on your presentation on the Benchmark Minerals’ Intelligence Minerals Week?
DC: ABMC’s Head of Business Development and Government Affairs, Doug Nickle, was at Minerals Week. He met with many well-known companies and industry thought leaders, including Simon Moores and the Benchmark team, Joe Lowry, and Chris Berry to name a few. What we found out this year compared to last year is that people know who we are now. People recognize that we’re different than a claim company in Nevada. We’re one of only five or six companies that have actually drilled and done real work recently in North America. We are unique in that we are exploring primary sources of lithium- and potentially cobalt- we’re going to be extracting it with our own IP, and we will harvest additional battery metals through our battery recycling. Recycling batteries means that we will soon “produce” a range of battery metals, including lithium, cobalt, and nickel, as well as all the other materials contained in a battery. The major players in the market are starting to pay attention to us because we are focused on execution, rather than promotion.
It also helps that we just won the Greentown Labs/BASF Circularity Challenge award. That was just awarded last month to our CTO, Ryan Melsert. The award validates our extraction technology and our battery recycling technology which is a significant development for ABMC.
We were back in New York and D.C. again for the second week in December not only to meet with BASF, but also to meet with the Department of Defense and the Department of Energy in regards to our strategic metals. Greentown Labs and BASF have been nothing but supportive of us and we are just at the beginning of our association with them
INN: How have ABMC’s activities in Washington, D.C. been progressing?
DC: Over the last two years, we knew that the American government, whether it’s the Department of Defense or Energy, is going to start stockpiling strategic metals including lithium, cobalt and nickel. Multiple gigafactories are planned for the US. And we’re going to be one of the only domestic battery metals companies that’s American-owned and “made in the USA.”
Right now, the vast majority of lithium comes from South America, Australia, and China. The United States, for reasons of economic and national security, desires homegrown and ethically-sourced critical minerals. The US government needs to buy the strategic metal and have it sourced in the United States. Our cost to produce these metals will also much less than anybody else’s and logistically may never have to leave the United States for processing and development into batteries.
We’re going to provide a very strategic metal directly to the government. We’ve met with multiple Representatives and Senators, personnel at the Department of the Interior and Bureau of Land Management, the Department of Energy, and the Department of Defense. We were invited back in December, and will return numerous times in 2020 for continued, in-depth conversations about our strategic metals, our position in the US, our extraction system and battery recycling. There’s a lot of funding opportunities through grants, plus mentoring and other technical help available to us.
Our public affairs firm said that they wished all their clients got this kind of reception. We are generally excited because we can provide economic value to the United States and our shareholders. But we are also pleased to play a major role as the globe moves toward electrification of transportation and energy storage.
INN: How has the first month of GreenTown Labs and the BASF Circularity Challenge Association progressed so far?
DC: It’s been going great. We’ve participated in multiple workshops and meetings with the various BASF global teams. Greentown Labs has provided us with office space, and access to wet and dry lab facilities. With BASF, there’s no limit to the benefit they bring to the table for us. We’re leveraging the opportunity and relationship to help achieve our mutual short and long term goals.
Of note: when members of Greentown Labs, BASF, and Black and Decker Stanley presented us with this award, there was also a peer-driven vote on the finalists. ABMC was honored to receive the majority of the peer vote too, so that says a lot about the inherent value and mission of our battery recycling process and commitment to sustainability.
INN: What does Ryan Melsert’s nomination for the Global Cooling Prize say about ABMC’s dedication to sustainable practices?
DC: We are committed to being a zero-waste company with a sustainable, forward-thinking business approach while promoting responsible stewardship of our shared environment.
This interview is sponsored by American Battery Metals (OTCQB:ABML) This interview provides information which was sourced by the Investing News Network (INN) and approved by American Battery Metals in order to help investors learn more about the company. American Battery Metals is a client of INN. The company’s campaign fees pay for INN to create and update this interview.
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