What was the historical focus of mineral exploration in Canada, and how has the increasing global demand for decarbonization influenced the country's exploration activities?
Contrary to common belief, lithium exploration in Canada was minimal. Historically, the exploration focus in Canada was on gold, copper, zinc, and nickel. However, the evolving global demand for decarbonization highlighted the importance of lithium, prompting us to reassess areas in Canada previously explored. Canada offers an unparalleled geological and industry-supported environment for these discoveries. Armed with robust financing and a stellar team, our endeavors have already led to significant findings, with more anticipated in the coming years.
Why wasn't lithium exploration previously emphasized in Canada?
Historically, it was assumed that the known lithium deposits were plentiful. As such, very little effort was made to seek and discover new sources of lithium across the country. Before 2020, discovering lithium was mostly serendipitous, a byproduct of seeking other resources. Changes in global demand due to policies in various nations have reshaped this outlook. This past mindset became evident with our recent Mirage project discovery—a vast lithium-rich project previously overlooked by earlier geologists.
How do you compare the importance of lithium to other critical metals in today's market?
Lithium's industry is a relatively nascent industry compared to copper. A comical yet factual analogy I often make is that while we've mined copper since the Bronze Age, lithium mining is still in its infancy. The current supply base for lithium doesn't match the burgeoning demand, leading to its prominent market boom. While ample known deposits make it feasible to increase copper production, the same doesn't hold true for lithium. The distinction lies in the maturity of these industries. Copper, with its rich history, offers a clear roadmap for scaling, whereas the lithium industry is still evolving and grappling with uncertainties and a particular lack of discoveries necessary to eventually feed into the supply pipeline.
What are the critical challenges in maturing the lithium industry, and how can they be addressed?
From a North American perspective, the new Lithium Triangle is the battery manufacturing base being built in Eastern North America supplied with lithium discoveries in Quebec and Ontario. While it's easier to construct battery manufacturing units, establishing a mine is a time-intensive process, sometimes spanning a decade. This incongruence in demand and supply timelines raises challenges for the mining industry in the modern context of rapid decarbonization. Two core challenges persists to meet this rapidly growing demand: the first pertains to permitting. A streamlined execution of this process could expedite the construction of new mines. However, the increasing layers of regulations, albeit essential, elongate timelines. The second, and unique to lithium, is the exploration and discovery of new deposits. This is where Brunswick Exploration's focus lies. Historically, this aspect was neglected, and we discerned an opportunity therein. Investing in lithium exploration has consistently proven fruitful for us, especially with our recent discoveries in Quebec and other parts of Canada. To foster growth, it's crucial to allocate resources towards these ignored exploration endeavors.
Tell us about Brunswick Exploration and its unique strategy in the Canadian mining industry.
Brunswick Exploration has a unique approach that sets it apart from many mining companies. We rapidly recognized that grassroot lithium exploration had the potential to be significantly more cost effective and less time consuming relative to copper or gold.
We also extensively studied the lithium mining boom which Australia underwent from 2010 to the present day. We believed that the addition of refining capacity outside of China, which dominates the market, would create a need for more localized lithium sources in North America. Armed with this novel, low cost exploration strategy and the insight that Canada was best positioned to supply the burgeoning refining industry in North America and Europe, we embarked on one of the largest lithium exploration campaign focused across all of Canada. We quickly identified the ideal geological environment for lithium from Nova Scotia to Saskatchewan and proceeded to test our exploration strategy. However, our focus quickly turned to the James Bay region in Quebec which stands out as a global hot spot for lithium endowment. Larger, richer deposits are found here at an astonishing pace. This year alone, significant discoveries have been made, cementing the importance of this region.
What are some of the promising discoveries by Brunswick, and how do they impact the lithium industry?
One of Brunswick's standout discoveries is the Mirage Project in the James Bay region of Quebec. Despite being previously overlooked by geologists, our team identified a vast field of spodumene-bearing, lithium-rich pegmatites within a few short weeks. Following this, we initiated a drilling campaign, highlighting the speed at which the project is progressing. This expansive project, with multiple pegmatites spanning kilometers, underscores the potential of the lithium industry in the region. The rapid developments and discoveries, not only by Brunswick but also other companies, emphasize the importance of exploration. These findings pave the way for substantial investments in the industry. Furthermore, Brunswick boasts one of the most extensive portfolios in Quebec for grassroots lithium exploration, positioning us at the forefront for more discoveries.
How do you approach funding for such projects, and how has the market reacted to your recent findings?
Funding exploration projects can be challenging, but maintaining flexibility is crucial. Over the past 18 months, we've successfully raised significant capital, reflecting in our stock price which quadrupled during this period. We continually evaluate what's best for our stakeholders, whether that's through traditional capital raising methods, partnering, or selling secondary projects to fund primary ones. We aim to remain aggressive, ensuring we are well-backed to advance our discoveries. The need for lithium to meet global decarbonization objectives underscores the importance of our efforts. Additionally, our consolidated approach in exploration makes us an attractive prospect for potential acquisitions by major players.
Considering the stock's tripling in value over the past year, can this growth continue given the time required to develop these deposits?
Absolutely. Our current efforts aim at identifying potential areas of interest. As these areas advance, substantial value can be created. The immature lithium industry is now defining its future large-scale mines. Established lithium producers don't have the depth of asset pipelines that traditional mining companies possess. Thus, these major players will need to acquire projects to fulfill their growth promises. Brunswick's consolidated exploration approach positions us ideally for such discussions. Additionally, there's an influx of new potential buyers, from car manufacturers to battery producers, interested in securing lithium assets. This expanded pool of buyers, along with traditional ones, suggests immense value creation in the lithium sector. While our growth has been commendable, we believe we're still in the early phases, with much more potential ahead.
- Share on: