Jourdan Resources (TSX-V: JOR)(OTCQB: JORFF) VP Roger Lemaitre on a Transformational Year for Jourdan
Gerardo Del Real: This is Gerardo Del Real with Resource Stock Digest. Joining me today is the Vice President of Mining and Operations for Jourdan Resources, Mr. Roger Lemaitre. Roger, live from the field, as we were joking off-air. How are you doing today, sir?
Roger Lemaitre: I'm doing really well, thanks. It's been an exciting time for our company, so I'm getting really excited about things as we're getting forward to the spring and summer field programs.
Gerardo Del Real: Well, I want to talk Jourdan, I want to talk about those programs, but I also want to touch a bit on your background and experience. Because when I look at that background and experience, and some of the companies you've been involved with, and the market caps of those companies, and then I look at the market cap of Jourdan, I think it speaks to the confidence in the assets and the market. So if you don't mind, Roger, could we touch on your background a bit?
Roger Lemaitre: Sure. Just before I joined Jourdan, I was working for the previous nine years, CEO of a uranium junior company called UEX Corporation. That company was sold in August, so I got moved on from there. But at UEX, we were one of the larger junior resource stock companies in the space, focused on the Athabasca Basin. We made a few discoveries along the way at Christie Lake and a few other places, but that moved on. I did a couple of years running an AIM listed uranium and nickel company called URU Metals.
And prior to that, 11 years at Cameco in various roles from helping make discoveries at Eagle Point at the field jobs, to running the exploration operation group when I finished there, including time on the mergers and acquisitions group. Before that I worked in... I said my claim to fame is that every major company I've worked for, with the exception of Cameco no longer exist, it's the usual, the Placer Dome's and Norandas, the Falconbridges. But back and forth in junior sector, working in both the gold and the base metal.
Gerardo Del Real: So again, with that kind of background and experience, I got to believe that opportunities abound when you decide that you want to go ahead and work with a company. So when I look at Jourdan and I look at the market cap, what brought you over? What attracts you to the company and the assets? And then let's talk about those programs that you're so excited about and why.
Roger Lemaitre: I think anything to do with the EV space is exciting. When I was at UEX, we pioneered some cobalt discoveries in the Athabasca Basin, the first of its kind in the world. And so I started following the cobalt space and if you're following cobalt, then you're usually following lithium. And my goodness, when you look at the lithium space, you just have to be really excited about where the world is going with the energy transition. You have to look at... There's a lot of lithium companies out there and for investors, it's really hard to hear what's good from the bad with all the noise that's going on out there. But I'm kind of of the opinion that if you can build it, the car companies or the battery companies will come. And that's just because there's so little capacity out there, especially in North American market.
We're going to see a sixfold growth in battery demand and battery building capacity in North America over the next 12 years. And 88% of that material has to come from overseas. And so I think if you can build a North American lithium producer, there's a lot of opportunity because there's going to be quite a few people looking for, secure North American supply that's come through in the United States and the incentives you've seen the Canadian government put together, there's a lot of excitement about being able to become a domestic or North American producer.
Gerardo Del Real: I couldn't agree with you more and your company is clearly positioned very, very well. Let's talk about the upcoming work programs. Let's talk about how you're positioned and how you take advantage of a bull market that I think has years and years of runway before it simmers down a bit.
Roger Lemaitre: Well, I think for Jourdan, we have three main projects all in the Val-d'Or area of Quebec, just north of Val-d'Or. And I think probably the one that people should be the most excited about is our Vallee joint venture with Sayona. Sayona mining is an Australian based company, they have a billion and a half to 2 billion dollar market cap. And they just became Canada's largest and one of the two lithium producers in Canada by restarting the North American lithium operations. The Prime Minister was actually up there, in the last week, because it fits into their strategy for EVs. They're our partner. Their mine is back in production. Their pegmatites, it's a hard rock spodumene mine built with mix concentrate, the pegmatites that form that mine strike towards our property at Vallee.
We've done some work there over the last couple of years and we found extension of those pegmatites and they point back to their open pit. The Vallee project was put into a joint venture last year with Sayona, so they can earn up to 50% of our project by funding the next $10 million worth of work there. So we drilled about 60 holes there over the last two years to find pegmatites. They're open-ended and down-tip and they're open-ended along strike to the east. And Sayona said, "Come in there and help us define this, our resource." Because it naturally feeds into their mill, which is literally two kilometers away. So that's our most advanced project. We've announced a lot of drill hole intersections over the last two years.
We have sort of our next step project, which is the next most advanced one, which is still a relatively early stage product, is Baillargé, which is located along the highway between Amos and Val-d'Or. We did some trenching there last year and the results will come out here shortly. It's an area that's also pretty hot. It's about 15 kilometers away from Vallee, a straight line distance. And we're excited to tell of our... The best part about our company is that we're well financed and we can put our money into advancing the next projects, whereas Sayona will be adapting project to project for us.
And then we have a third project just north of that called Preissac-La Corne. And it has the extension of what I call the Vallee lithium trend that goes through Sayona’s mine through our Vallee project. And it's about 15 kilometers long. And a bunch of those showings were found back in the early '50s, '60s and '70s on the north end of our property there. And we haven't actually had the opportunity to do any work on it yet. We're in an interesting spot because being next door to and partnered with the mine operator I think the path to production at Vallee is much shorter timeframe. We already agree that our material's going to go through their... If it's mineable, it's going to go through their mill.
So we're on that very, very fast track towards production and we already have resources. We haven't put out a resource, but we already have several lithium bearing pegmatites on the property that are yet to be fully defined. So that that's our short term production. And then we have that growth potential at Baillargé and elsewhere. So I think that's what excites me about the portfolio of assets that we do have. We can actually do all these things along in a very easy process.
Gerardo Del Real: No, look, I have to commend the team on the deal with Sayona. I mean if you're able to get into production and still retain 50% of the project all the while having Sayona pony up, what equates to I think $10 million. It was $4 million initially and another $6 million coming up. I mean that is a very well-structured deal for shareholders of Jourdan, and frankly, a very well-structured deal for Sayona shareholders where one and one really does equal three and everybody wins if it works out the way everybody envisions it, right?
Roger Lemaitre: No, that's exactly the way we see it. That's exactly the way we see it. And so much so that Mr. Lynch, Brett Lynch, who's the CEO of Sayona, joined our board, he believes in what we're doing as well.
Gerardo Del Real: Excellent. So what comes next? Obviously, you have the drilling coming up here in the not too distant future. I believe you're waiting on some permits. I think those are imminent if I'm not mistaken.
Roger Lemaitre: We have some of the work that we had planned permitted from last year, but in order to do a program this magnitude, we announced a 20,000 plus meter drill program on the Vallee extension, which is literally the area of 500 meters from the property boundary with Sayona where pegmatites already exist. They need to be defined for the tighter drilling and some growth potential as well. So we're expecting that to get off the ground here in the next 30 days or so. And all of the work that's being done to prepare for that, the permitting processes in the works, we've gone through the process of our partner and showing it's not through the process of helping get the contractors we need to get the work done. So we expect that process to take another 30 or so days. We expect to be drilling here in May.
Gerardo Del Real: Fantastic. Roger, a lot of catalysts for a company with a tiny market cap, in the right sector, with a world-class partner, an excellent technical team. A lot to like. Anything else to add to that?
Roger Lemaitre: We're excited to deliver the market the results that we're expecting. We're hoping that the work that they do adjacent to our property boundary on their side is going to grow this into one very large deposit that we're going to own a good piece of. And I'm very excited about the growth potential on our other projects as well. Work hasn't been done on our Baillargé project other than the work we've done since the early '80s. And then drilling hasn't been done since 1955, '56. And yet, the historical work shows there's pretty interesting high grade spodumene bearing pegmatites on this project. So we're excited to bring those to light here over the next six or so months.
Gerardo Del Real: Sounds like a transformational year in 2023 for the company. Roger, it was a pleasure. Looking forward to having you back on again.
Roger Lemaitre: Well, thank you very much and look forward to talking to you again soon.
Gerardo Del Real: Cheers.
Roger Lemaitre: Cheers.