Atco Mining (CSE: ATCM)(OTC: ATMGF) Interim CEO Etienne Moshevich on Establishing a First-Mover Advantage in the Emerging Green Hydrogen Storage Arena in Newfoundland, Canada
Gerardo Del Real: This is Gerardo Del Real with Resource Stock Digest. Joining me today is the newly-appointed CEO of Atco Mining — a personal holding of mine — Mr. Etienne Moshevich. Etienne, great to have you on. How are you today, sir?
Etienne Moshevich: I am doing great, Gerardo. Thank you so much for taking the time today. Thank you.
Gerardo Del Real: Listen, this is an important update not just for readers and shareholders and yourself and the company but for me as a shareholder. You and I have had several private conversations about the potential that we feel the hydrogen storage space has as an industry and as a sector.
And Newfoundland, specifically, is being very, very aggressive in developing that infrastructure. And Atco Mining has quietly gone out and put together one of the most comprehensive land packages in Newfoundland.
And frankly, when I look at the peers and the peer comps and some of the peer comps that are about to go to market, and I look at Atco Mining's market cap, I get excited because I wrote a check recently. And if the re-rating is accurate, and if those peer comps are accurate, then I'm expecting a pretty healthy return once people start paying attention to Atco.
So with all of that being said, let me congratulate you on the appointment to take over Atco as the new interim CEO. I want to give you an opportunity to provide a bit of background and why you're so passionate about the company, as I know you are.
Etienne Moshevich: Totally. Well, first off, again, thank you very much for taking the time today. And obviously, you and I have chatted many times before, privately, so it's very, very good to get on the record and come on and take over Atco as its newly-appointed CEO.
I just thought it would make sense. This is my largest shareholding out of anything that I have. I am the single largest shareholder of the company. I'm over 10%. I'm a founder of the company. It just made sense.
And I have a lot of my friends and family that are investors in this company, and in one way or another, I have to make this thing work. So if you want to get something done… I'm young enough… I want to take the reins and make this a massive success for myself, my family, my friends, and all of our shareholders. So that's the plan. And I think we're in an incredible position to do so. I mean, right now, we're sitting at around a US$3.5 million market cap.
Gerardo Del Real: Yeah, I laugh because it's laughable.
Etienne Moshevich: It's laughable… we were always talking about comparing us to Atlas Salt. Atlas Salt, obviously, has a much higher market cap than us. Atlas, right now, is trading at close to a C$120 million market cap.
They have their Great Atlantic deposit, which is a salt deposit. But they're spinning out Triple Point Resources, and that's still private. They're still in the works to take that thing public. So everybody, including us, are waiting for an update on that.
But the market caps that have been rumored and that we're talking about… in terms of that going public… are obviously much, much, much higher than us. And we are one of the largest landholders in the area.
Another company that we're kind of looking at comparing ourselves to is Vortex Energy. VRTX is their symbol on the CSE. And they're trading at like a C$55 million market cap, trading at over a buck of share. And they are basically in the exact same position that we are, except we're trading at a ~US$3 million dollar market cap.
What I can see from their website, they have about 17,000 hectares. We have 21,000 hectares. And they’ve got a great team and so do we. They just appointed a new advisor to their team. But we're in the exact same position landwise in southwest Newfoundland in the South St. Georges Bay Basin.
We have more acreage than they do. They’re trading at close to 20 times our market cap. And the biggest thing for us, I feel, is that nobody really knows our story. And it’s my job to get out there and explain to everybody our value-add proposition and what we want to do.
It’s simple. We have seven projects. I'll take you through the timeline of how everything started. First, we knew we wanted to get into the hydrogen storage space. And the reason for that is because in August of last year… I don't know if all of your readers know about this… but Olaf Scholz signed a clean energy bill with our Canadian Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, in August of last year.
And they signed it specifically promoting clean energy and clean hydrogen. And the reason they wanted to do that was because — and they signed that bill actually in Stephenville, Newfoundland, which is where all of our projects are in that area — and they signed it there because that area is one of the windiest corridors in the world.
And the whole plan is — and we'll get into that a little bit later on — is to put up wind turbines over there. And you can use electrolysis to separate the oxygen from the hydrogen. You can store the hydrogen, hopefully, in our salt domes. And then, you can ship the hydrogen over to Germany, and they can create ammonia gas out of it, which hopefully will get themselves off of their dependence on Russian gas.
So it's a new energy source for Germany. So that's why they signed it there. And after that, we always knew we wanted to be in that area because that was a massive feather in our cap, which kind of pushed us to invest more resources in the area.
And so we acquired seven different projects in the area. Two to the north very close to Atlas Salt and another five down south near Triple Point Resources. And so we did all of the geological work, and we flew an airborne survey, which came out with two to three salt dome targets, which is exactly what you need to take it to the next step. And that's exactly what we confirmed.
We acquired those projects because we went through a lot of historical data, which confirmed that there's a potential of salt dome targets there. So we flew our own airborne and confirmed that, which is amazing.
Then, there was an opportunity to acquire another piece of land called the Flat Bay that we announced about a month ago — the Flat Bay Project. And that already had a historical gravity low on it. So what we've done is we've engaged GroundTruth Exploration to go through all of the historical data to make sure because it suggests the presence of a salt dome at depth.
So we want to go through all of that data and confirm it on our own, and then we'll be able to go through our next steps. And there's plenty more historical information that we're getting from the Newfoundland government right now, especially even seismic data that we're going to be in the process here to go through and which will give us a better idea of exactly where our targets are and how deep they potentially are.
So it's a step-by-step process to go through it. But the whole macro trend is really heating up because another thing that we spoke about in our last news release on June 6th is the amount of wind turbine proposals that have been submitted to the Newfoundland government.
And I believe there were about 19 companies that submitted bids to the government to build wind energy projects in the area. And so they're, according to the government and from what I've seen from reading, are in the process of reviewing all of those proposals. And then, everybody's waiting for an update. But World Energy GH2, which I hope all of your listeners and readers are able to do some research on, announced on May 17th, which is important, that they cut a deal with SK ecoplant where they're going to invest US$50 million in a US$4.2 billion wind hydrogen project for a 20% stake in the GH2 project, which would include 164 wind turbines.
And this wasn't even massive news. I had to actually really dig in and find it. And so the area is just starting to heat up, and we're obviously at a ~US$3 million market cap. And we want to be a small player in a space where I believe it can be like where lithium was five or six years ago where you could have a lithium story and nobody really looked at you because nobody cared about lithium.
Then, all of a sudden, EV vehicles with Tesla and everything started blowing up, and these micro cap exploration lithium companies started heating up like crazy. And the first movers were the ones that were able to raise fifty to a hundred million and take themselves to the next level. And I truly believe we're at the forefront in that, and we want to position ourselves to take advantage of that.
Gerardo Del Real: That's excellent context that sets the table well. And look, I pride myself as a contrarian investor, and a part of being a contrarian investor is writing checks and looking at first movers in sectors that are underappreciated or not well understood.
And I think that's exactly the case right now with hydrogen storage with this particular part of the world. And again, this isn't a matter of if the infrastructure is going to get built. There were 19 bids. It's a matter of who is going to build it, right?
And so I think it's important for people to realize that the first-mover advantage that Atco and some of the other more advanced companies that you mentioned is going to be critical when it comes to the re-rating that's going to come, even for those companies that are trading at much higher market caps, once people realize how profitable this sector is going to be and how much money can be made from it on all sides of it, right?
So I think that sets the table well, Etienne. Can you just provide us real quickly what comes next?
Etienne Moshevich: Totally. And before we do that, I just want to say one thing which I think is very, very interesting to note. When I’m speaking to different investors and to different brokers, I still have to explain to them and educate them a lot of times on what hydrogen storage is and why it's important and go through the whole historical area as to the nineteen companies that have submitted bids and the whole wind energy projects that are being built in the area.
And I think that's amazing because that's how I know that we're so early in that. And that reminds me of when I had to speak to brokers and everything about electric vehicles and Tesla before lithium went crazy because nobody really cared about it.
It’s not as easy as, ‘Hey, I'm drilling for gold. If we hit, we could have a potential mine.’ This is different. And that's what gets me so excited because I know we're early. Yes, we are early but we're at the forefront of what, in my opinion, is inevitably going to be a multi-billion dollar sector.
So to answer your next question in terms of what's next, we're going through the historical data on Flat Bay, which is extremely important for us. And we're also going through some more historical data from the Newfoundland government on several of our other projects.
Once we get that data, we're going to have a better sense as to what our targets are. And then, we'll have a full exploration plan as to what the next steps are. So that's kind of the most important thing for us right now and what I'm waiting on. And we're not long away from that at all.
So that should be coming out imminently. And then, we will have a full corporate update with an exploration plan for investors to show them exactly what the next steps are.
Gerardo Del Real: Well, I'm looking forward to having you back on to get more details on those exploration plans.
I want to thank you for taking the time to provide that thorough overview of the company and the excitement around the region because, again, I think it's a very, very potentially lucrative opportunity for people that are early to the space and have the patience and the wherewithal and the vision to see what's coming this way.
And as the great Wayne Gretzky would say, right, he used to say, ‘I skate to the puck where it's going, not where it's at.’ And that's how you make money in the resource space. It's a risky enough sector as it is. I love skating to where the puck's going and not to where the puck is. And I think it's headed in that direction.
Etienne, anything to add to that?
Etienne Moshevich: You know what, I totally agree with you. I wanted to thank you for letting me come on your show. And look, this is something I'm extremely passionate about. I wrote checks every step of the way, especially in the last financing at C$0.16 a share, which is obviously higher than where we're trading at right now.
So I have every incentive to make this thing work for myself and for all of the investors. So hopefully everybody sees the opportunity here and comes along for the ride with us.
Gerardo Del Real: Looking forward to chatting again and looking forward to that exploration update and more developments from the region. Thank you again, sir.
Etienne Moshevich: Thanks a lot. Expect a lot more news to come, so please stay tuned, Gerardo.Click here to see more from Atco Mining