Atco Mining (CSE: ATCM)(OTC: ATMGF) Director Neil McCallum on Confirming Presence of Large Salt Dome Structures for Potential Hydrogen Storage at Flagship Project in Newfoundland, Canada


Gerardo Del Real: This is Gerardo Del Real with Resource Stock Digest. Joining me once again is the director of Atco Mining — Mr. Neil McCallum. Neil, I mentioned last time we spoke publicly that you had a hot hand, and doesn't seem to be cooling off anytime soon. How are you today?

Neil McCallum: Yeah, good things!

Gerardo Del Real: Listen, you just announced the final airborne results confirming the presence of large salt dome structures. And the plurality there is important, right; multiple structures. You also just obtained a US listing, which I know is something that the company was working on for a while behind the scenes. So congrats on both fronts. 

What does it mean to have the final interpretation of these two to three, is how the release describes it, two to three high-priority oval-shaped gravity anomaly targets. What does that mean for the company? I know it's a big deal. I know that you're happy about it. What does it mean for those that follow the space and are trying to gauge what the potential is here?

Neil McCallum: Absolutely. Yeah, that's a good question. So when we picked up these projects, we had some indication — based on historical information that goes way back to the 50s, 60s, 70s when folks were looking at this area for oil and gas potential — and part of that was with the search for salt domes as those end up being sometimes oil and gas traps. 

Well, lo and behold, those salt domes are actually worth something now in terms of the storage potential for the support of the large-scale hydrogen production that's thought of for the area. And with that historical data, it's old, it's outdated, and we needed to really confirm that with the airborne geophysics. And that's just what we've done. 

It's done a really good job of confirming it, and more, in terms of giving us a little bit better precision on the data. And we're able to do a lot more with it in terms of geophysics modeling using 3D techniques. It's really interesting to see how these play out.

Gerardo Del Real: Tell me about the different targets. You mentioned two to three, and it sounds like it's not clear whether it's three targets or two targets. Why the discrepancy there?

Neil McCallum: Yeah, absolutely. So when we look at them, there's one that's quite long, it's about 6 km long, and it might be sharing the same roots at depth. As you look through the depth slices as you come towards the surface, there might actually be two of them with the same root at the bottom. So that's why I'm saying two to three. And then, there's another completely distinct one… so that's why I'm saying two to three total.

Gerardo Del Real: Excellent. Now, moving forward, we talked maybe a week or so ago, and we discussed how, in traditional mining, you hire the drills, you get the contractors out there, you start vectoring towards your target, you wait on assays. 

And it can be years before you actually get to being able to prove the value that's in the ground. It's very different for what Atco is looking to do here. Can you explain that process a bit for those that may not be familiar?

Neil McCallum: Sure, what we're looking to do is the absolute test, which is the same for virtually any other project, which is drilling. So that's what the geophysics does… is it really gives us the admission to get to the next stage of drilling because, once we drill, the idea is to go right through the salt dome to confirm the presence, the depth, the thickness… that kind of stuff.

Gerardo Del Real: Excellent. As far as the business model goes, how long is it going to take to get a drill turning and to actually prove up what's either there or what's not there?

Neil McCallum: Yeah, it'll be done quickly. We can get out there as early as the summer. Once we've got financing in place and logistics set up and things like that, it's not going to take too long to get to that next step.

Gerardo Del Real: Excellent, so we'll know what we have. What's the potential as far as the hydrogen storage? I know that aspect of the story is a part that, I can tell you from my personal experience, is not as well understood. 

I've had subscribers write in asking about the potential. They're intrigued by it but I don't think it's as appreciated in this part of the world. And this part of the world where the projects are at is important because I think that's what really lays the groundwork for what Atco is looking to do.

Neil McCallum: Absolutely, and what Newfoundland is doing is they're positioning themselves as trying to be a leader in the space. They are going to be fast tracking the permitting process for, really, what ends up being a two-stage process. 

First, you need to generate the power, and they're going to do that completely through wind power. Next phase is getting the hydrogen production, which is planned to be there. There are companies that have applied for the permits for the wind power, as well as setting the stage for the funding for what will be a large-scale operation there. 

So all signals are go… it's just a matter of getting the wind rights from Newfoundland, who are going through that process right now, and then getting that funding towards the hydrogen production.

Gerardo Del Real: And ultimately, Atco, obviously, is positioning itself to play a large part on the storage side of it, correct?

Neil McCallum: Exactly, and that's just the point of it too… with the proposal for the hydrogen production, hands down, people have done this in other parts of the world. Hands down, the cheapest way to store that hydrogen — because you can't always ship it out as soon as you produce it — is to send it underground for underground storage. 

They're doing this in, I believe, Texas, Utah, for similar styles of industrial scale production of hydrogen on a large scale. It's way cheaper than compressing it, converting it — all that kind of stuff.

Gerardo Del Real: Well, I've said before, I love being early to stories. I know you and Dahrouge Consulting and the team at Atco love positioning ahead of the crowd and ahead of the herd. Again, with a C$5 million market cap, it's not going to take a lot for this to go much, much higher. And I'm really excited for the next couple of months, getting in position to put a drill out there and see what you turn up. What comes next, Neil?

Neil McCallum: Yeah, like I said, we're positioning ourselves towards drilling. And we're also working on a few other things in the background here that I can't quite talk about yet. But we're looking to build value, and we've got a young energetic group of people working on it. So look forward to more.

Gerardo Del Real: Awesome. Neil, thanks for the time. Appreciate it. Thank you so much.

Neil McCallum: Okay, take care. Bye.

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