General Base Metals
ACME Lithium (CSE: ACME)(OTC: ACLHF) CEO Steven Hanson on Developing Domestic Lithium Resources to Feed Skyrocketing Demand as EVs Take Over
Gerardo Del Real: This is Gerardo Del Real with Resource Stock Digest. Joining me today is the president & CEO of ACME Lithium — Mr. Steven Hanson. Steven, how are you this morning?
Steven Hanson: Very well, Gerardo. Great to join you here this morning.
Gerardo Del Real: It's great to have you back on. It's been a bit since we chatted publicly. You are in the sweet-spot of lithium exploration in the United States. And I can't think of a better time, historically, with the bipartisan support… the shift towards the electrification-of-everything… and you having a land package dead smack in the middle of Nevada next to some of the biggest names in the industry.
I want to get into all of that. But before we do, I’ve got to ask, you've had, I believe, you're coming up on what… three decades of experience with financial and corporate development… is that accurate?
Steven Hanson: That's correct, Gerardo. I've been in this business for almost 30 years now, developing projects around the globe on four continents. And frankly, I've never been so excited about a project in my career.
We are in the early stages of, what I call, it’s a 10-year lithium megatrend. And it's estimated the world needs over 20 billion pounds of lithium, which is over 20 times the current output. I mean, this is unprecedented.
Already this year, we've seen lithium prices up over 88% this year alone. And as you mentioned, the IEA estimates that there'll be 125 million EVs on the road over the next decade.
And this could increase output for lithium and the requirement for lithium 70X. And under Joe Biden, the government, in June, put out a national blueprint on lithium. And basically, it stated the US is in desperate need to create a domestic supply. And this is where ACME Lithium comes in and is why I am so excited about this sector that we're in right now and why our projects are critical to meet the United States’ need for lithium.
We have two projects in Nevada. And our core project sits right next door to Albemarle who are a massive global developer and producer of lithium with a US$26 billion market cap on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE: ALB). Their stock alone is up over 129% in the last year.
So literally, when you're standing on our projects and you look over the border of our project, Albemarle and their ongoing development and production of lithium is literally right next door.
And they've been producing lithium in the Clayton Valley since 1966. And they are the only continuous producer of lithium in North America since 1966. And our core project in Clayton Valley is right next door. And this is why I am so excited… not only for the overall lithium space but about what we are doing at ACME Lithium.
Gerardo Del Real: Well, you're definitely in the right neighborhood. Lithium Americas just announced an expansion, a significant one, at its Thacker Pass Project, increasing its capacity. It's targeting, now, something along the lines of 40,000 TPA (Tonnes Per Annum) lithium carbonate. And so, clearly, you're in the right region; you're in the right area.
You've put together a team that has a history of developing and monetizing assets. I’ve got to ask — and this is kind of where I was going with the introduction and bringing up your experience — you didn't come back into the space and put together this team of professionals to run a company with a C$36, C$37, C$38 million market cap.
This is a multi-billion dollar opportunity with a clear trend. Walk me through what you see for ACME and what shareholders can expect here moving forward?
Steven Hanson: Well, I'm an investor first, and I put my money where my mouth is. And that's what I've done in multiple projects around the world. And, really, the key here is I recognized, over the last couple years, the requirement for lithium.
After doing great amounts of research, we scouted and searched for projects around the world. We looked on all four continents and ultimately narrowed it down to an opportunity in Clayton Valley. And this particular project was held close to a decade by a private owner. And we convinced them that we were the right partners to develop it.
And so because of my background, my team's background, and our ability to finance and develop projects over time and bring in strategic investors — we were able to secure this project. And, again, I'm very excited about it.
We are in the advanced stages of exploration. We've completed, now, two phases of geophysics. There's already indications of lithium from past work done onsite. And we have near-term drilling about to happen in the first quarter of 2022.
And what that leads us to are some key major milestones which, potentially, could rapidly increase the valuation of our company. And so we're going to be drilling our Clayton Valley project in the early part of 2022.
And again, if we have the lithium grades and economic values that we believe we will find, it will absolutely rapidly leapfrog our company in the way of development and attract global attention from not only other mining companies but technology companies and battery metals companies around the world.
I am getting, already, people knocking on my door wanting more information about our company from auto manufacturers to some of the largest technology companies in the world. They are in desperate need to secure supply. And we are one of the companies that's in the running here to, obviously, take advantage of that.
Gerardo Del Real: You mentioned that experienced management team and that deep network of contacts that led to you being able to acquire the flagship asset as it stands now. However, I also know that that deep network of contacts is likely to yield new projects. Are you looking to acquire accretive projects if the right opportunity presents itself?
Steven Hanson: Well, we have two core projects in Nevada right now. And again, there's no moss growing on us! I continue to evaluate projects on a regular basis. Again, we are looking at a number right now that could be accretive to our business. And again, the goal here, too, is to use my technical team and our finance background and, obviously, bring shareholder value in growing our business.
So we started this company about a year ago. Our goal here is to build a massive business over the next decade. And again, some key milestones we hope to achieve in 2022. And we're really excited, hopefully, in developing our shareholder base and bringing value to our early investors.
So this is an extremely exciting sector to be in. We've got a great company that we've already started, and we really want to continue to grow our business the way we have done in other situations in the past.
Gerardo Del Real: You mentioned automakers ringing your phone. I have to highlight that Tesla's Gigafactory is less than 200 miles northwest, I believe. How is the infrastructure, Steven?
Steven Hanson: Well, Nevada is considered to be one of the best mining jurisdictions in the world. It has a long history of alternative energy projects as well as mining projects that have developed there over many decades.
So what's great about working in the US, in the state of Nevada, is we have infrastructure nearby. Our team can access highways, can access power, can access water. And, most importantly, can access very, very, very smart people who understand lithium, understand process, and understand development of projects like these.
And as you say, in the US, we have a massive domestic need. And as a result, there are technology companies, auto manufacturers, and companies, even like Tesla, that are continuing to look for lithium supplies.
So we have the right address. Our project is contiguous to the largest developer of lithium in the world. And again, we're really excited to perform for our shareholders and, ultimately, deliver milestones over the next few quarters.
Gerardo Del Real: You also have a very clean share structure. I believe it's 36.2 [million] shares outstanding right now. Is that accurate?
Steven Hanson: That's correct.
Gerardo Del Real: You have the team… you have the trend… you're in the right neighborhood in Nevada next to a global producer and up-and-coming producers. You have a clean share structure.
I know the stock has pulled back just a tiny bit. It's why I reached out. I think there's a pretty compelling case to be made that, at the current market cap, anyone that missed that first initial run up… it’s probably early-days… and this is probably a good entry-point if you haven't already done so.
Steven, thank you so much for your time today. Anything else to add to that?
Steven Hanson: No, appreciate your time today, Gerardo. And again, I've never been so excited about a project in my career. I think we're in the right sector. We've got the right address and the right team to create some great value for our shareholders. Thanks again!
Gerardo Del Real: Thank you. Looking forward to an exciting Q4 and an exciting 2022. Thanks again!
Steven Hanson: Thanks, Gerardo.