Monumental Energy (TSX-V: MNRG)(OTC: MNMRF) Founder Max Sali on Option Agreement with Summit Nanotech on Turi Lithium Salar, Chile; Plus Major Investment in New Zealand Energy Corp.

 

Gerardo Del Real: This is Gerardo Del Real with Resource Stock Digest. Joining me today is the founder and largest shareholder, by the way, of Monumental Energy — Mr. Max Sali. Max, great to have you back on. It's been a bit. The stock is moving, and I thought I'd have you on to get an update on how things are coming along with the company.

Max Sali: Nice to be here, Gerardo. I think last time we spoke was around Christmas time, and we did the New Zealand Energy Corp. deal. So it's been a few months. But yes, I'm happy. The stock is the highest it's been since May at around C$0.125, which, still, I'm not happy with, and we'll get it going higher. But I will tell you, it’s a relief to see us where we are. 

Since the management change, I've been spending my time at the office trying to get things done and fix the company from a low of C$0.03 to where we are today. And so, I am very proud of where we are and very proud of what's happening with our assets.

Gerardo Del Real: Let's talk about the assets. For those who are not familiar with what Monumental and the team have been able to do here during a very tough resource space and lithium market — which I think is thawing and poised to head much higher — you are in a perfect position.

You've actually done a lot of work behind the scenes to put the company in that advantageous position. And you've diversified. Can you speak to the asset base and the focus here moving forward?

Max Sali: Yes, you saw the news release today on the sale of the Turi lithium project. We have two salars. Our main flagship asset is Laguna Blanca. We had a secondary salar, the Salar de Turi, which we acquired in August of 2022. And things just weren't moving forward at Turi and were slower than we expected. 

And so we were able to sell that salar to Summit Nanotech for a big chunk of cash; in fact, more than we’d spent. And then, also a 2% NSR, which is a fairly good size NSR for us for when they do their thing. They think they can move Turi forward, and we think we can use the cash for better things. 

Obviously, the market today for lithium, as you know, is near a bottom. Most lithium stocks are at lows and can't raise capital. We're fortunate enough to have capital, and have added capital, and I think one thing people forget is how valuable these salars will be when the lithium market comes back.

We've made a lot of progress at Laguna Blanca. We’ve brought on Mariana Cervetto [as vice president of Chile operations] who's based in Chile and who’s an absolute gem for us and works very hard. And we're very close to coming to terms with the community for Laguna Blanca. Chile is improving in general as a country, and they've announced they want to have more salars going into production. 

The other day, and which is probably one of the reasons why the stock is up, the government announced that 30% of their salars are protected. Both Laguna Blanca and Turi are not, which is good. It means we can exploit them. But there are a lot of juniors out there that, to politely say, got a swift kick in the nuts. And we're happy to not be on that list and to be able to work on our projects. 

In New Zealand, everything is falling into place [with us being the second-largest shareholder in New Zealand Energy Corporation]. The value they're getting for oil and gas is unbelievable and will be a cash cow revenue business for them, which will benefit us.

And honestly, I couldn't be happier talking today. Everything is working out really, really well, and I’m glad to provide the market with an update.

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Gerardo Del Real: I appreciate you coming on, and I think it's a timely update. I suspect there's going to be a flurry of news here in 2024. I think you finally have the right market to be able to be a little more nimble and a little more flexible with things moving forward. Anything to add to that, Max?

Max Sali: Well, you'll be seeing a lot of news flow, I would say, in the next three to six weeks. Lots of improvements with the company, and I know I've been working with you for years on this, and I appreciate your time. 

I think the market is going to be really happy with what they see happening with Monumental Energy over not just the next three to six weeks but also the next three to six months and for the remainder of 2024.

Gerardo Del Real: Well, listen, it’s funny you mentioned how long we've been working together. This isn't our first go-around with a lithium cycle bottoming and then turning back up. 

We did this with Advantage Lithium way back in 2016-18, which went from being down 60% to 70% to becoming a triple-digit-percent winner for myself, family, friends, and subscribers. So it’s good to be on this side of things again and looking forward to a similar outperformance. Thanks again, Max.

Max Sali: Sure, and just touching on that, obviously, Advantage got bought out for C$69M back in 2020. They were issued shares in Orocobre at around C$3 and the stock went to C$15. So anyone that actually held onto that transaction… well, that became worth ~C$400M at the peak. 

And so when you're trying to find a salar, especially with the same grade as Laguna Blanca, it’s something that could be an absolute monster for anyone getting in at this price. As you said, we've seen this market before… and it’s going to come back. And when it does, you’ll see Laguna Blanca bring a significant valuation to Monumental Energy.

Gerardo Del Real: Looking forward to it, Max. Thank you.

Max Sali: Thank you, Gerardo.

Gerardo Del Real: Alright, chat soon. Cheers.

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