Leading Edge Materials (TSX-V: LEM) Advances Its Graphite & Lithium Assets to Position as Strategic Supplier of Lithium-Ion Battery Materials

January 13, 2017

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Gerardo Del Real: This is Gerardo Del Real with Resource Stock Digest. Joining me today is President and CEO of Leading Edge Materials (TSX-V: LEM)(OTC: LEMIF), Mr. Blair Way. Blair, thank you for joining me today.

Blair Way: Hi, Gerardo. How are you doing today?

Gerardo Del Real: I'm doing fantastic. I wanted to have you on because it's been a busy start to the new year for you. You've had a couple of news releases and I was hoping we could speak to those a little bit.

Blair Way: For sure. We've had a good start to the year. Some of the news that we've been anticipating has come through, and I'm happy to have a chat about it.

Gerardo Del Real: Fantastic. Well, back on January the 9th you announced that Leading Edge, of course, had secured another 25 years exploitation lease for the flagship Woxna Graphite mine in Sweden. Can you talk a little bit about that and share the details and what that means for the company?

Blair Way: That just gives the company 25 years of security. We already had an existing permit in place and that was just a normal exploitation lease. It had a life expectancy, and then it was due for renewal last year. We went through the process as we press released earlier in the year. We've gone through that exploitation renewal and we've received confirmation that it was actually laid at the end of the year, but by the time we were able to announce it was the first week of January, so we came out of the gate.

It's fantastic news. It just reinforces the fact we have our mine and processing facility, and we've got a 25 year extension, which, of course, can be renewed, an ongoing basis. But 25 years is a nice big chunk to work with. That just gives us that broad scope to work within the license conditions we have now, and also it opens the door for our expected expansion down the track and that will just be part of a further permitting process. Yeah, it's great news. We were very happy to receive it.

Gerardo Del Real: Excellent. Well, I know the security, obviously, is important, and I know behind the scenes there's a lot of important steps that you're taking right now. Can you talk and share details about any of those steps behind the scenes and what's going on with Woxna and the graphite there?

Blair Way: Well, with Woxna as a graphite, as we mentioned before, it's a mine and processing facility so we're able to produce a flotation concentrate. A project that we're working on now is taking the flotation concentrate, spherizing and purifying it so it's suitable for lithium-ion batteries. We're making some great steps there, which over the period of the coming months we'll update investors as we're able to through the various reporting processes that we have to follow. Certainly what we're seeing and what our potential customers are seeing is all lining up, and we're again, very happy with the results that we’ve seen today. We provided some reports late last year, and we'll be providing more as the year grows, as this new year grows.

Gerardo Del Real: Excellent. Well, I mentioned that you got the new year started with a busy round of news, and sure enough, two days later you announce that you had submitted a drill permit application for the Bergby Lithium project, which isn't too far from the Woxna graphite facility there. Can you share the details there? I understand that you petitioned to drill up to 40 diamond drill holes. Is that correct?

Blair Way: That's correct. We submitted the application for up to 40 holes. There's no indications that there would be any issues with that, but it's a process that you have to go through. We announced the Bergby Project not that long ago. Really within almost six months we've gone from initial discovery just from surface work, and we're already addressing or entering into a drill program for first/second quarter of this year depending on the timing and the weather a little bit in north Sweden, central Sweden. Again, it's something that we believe in. We believe the Bergby Lithium project warrants this de-risking and some drill holes to better understand what we have. We look forward to again being able to release some results from the drill program once we get on the ground.

Gerardo Del Real: Excellent. Well, I've often described Leading Edge as a company that's positioning itself to become a one stop shop for critical metal, specifically in Europe. I know that you have now the flagship Woxna, of course, you have lithium and cobalt properties as well. What can we expect in 2017 moving forward, Blair?

Blair Way: 2017 you're going to see the focus will still remain on our graphite. However, the work that we're doing with our graphite and the customers that we're working with for graphite are the lithium-ion energy storage market, and they're also looking for other specialty materials. We, as we had indicated, had been seeking out other assets in order to accumulate them in anticipation of demand for them as well, but certainly our graphite is our primary focus because we've got the mine and processing facility. We need to to just make the connection with our production to a customer that actually has meaningful demand. There is some demand for smaller cell producers right now, but we really don't want to focus on the smaller targets.

It's interesting and helpful, but it's the larger ones that people are seeing both in North America and Europe, and we want to align ourselves with those larger markets, so we can demonstrate a truly viable enterprise with production and demand aligning up. Not having too much production and having decent pricing as well. Certainly, what we're seeing is with this energy, the energy market growth that's being predicted and a large amount of that energy being used for storage, both stationary and mobile. Whether it's consumer electronics, automobile, or off-grid energy storage, there's going to be a huge demand for lithium ion batteries and those lithium ion batteries whether they're manufactured in Europe, in North America, or even China, are going to be demanding a sustainable raw material. Currently, what we have at our Woxna facility is really the only sustainable source of graphite for these lithium ion batteries, so we believe we're well positioned.

Gerardo Del Real: Well, it sounds like it's going to be a busy 2017 for Leading Edge. I'd love to have you back on as you check off those milestones there, Blair.

Blair Way: Absolutely, Gerardo. It's always great to have the opportunity to have a bit of a chat and give investors an update and tell them how we're going.

Gerardo Del Real: Excellent. Thank you again for your time, Blair. We'll have you back on soon.

Blair Way: Thanks, Gerardo. I appreciate it. 

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