General Base Metals
Monumental Minerals (TSX-V: MNRL)(OTC: MNMRF) Director Dr. Jamil Sader on Next Exploration Steps at Blue-Sky Potential Jemi Heavy Rare Earths Project, Mexico
Gerardo Del Real: This is Gerardo Del Real with Resource Stock Digest. Joining me today is the brand new director of Monumental Minerals — ‘doctor,’ I should say — Jamil Sader. Jamil, how are you today?
Dr. Jamil Sader: Gerardo, thanks for having me on today. It's good… things are going well.
Gerardo Del Real: I hear it's a break in the rain in Vancouver today. You've got a sunny one there?
Dr. Jamil Sader: Yeah, it’s wonderful to see the sun again. It's been so rainy and so wet. And yeah, it's really nice to see… so a good day.
Gerardo Del Real: Well, I sense you're going to be seeing more sun, obviously, given your addition to the board of directors to assist with the Jemi heavy rare earth project in Coahuila, Mexico. I think it's likely that you'll get a little bit more sunshine when you're onsite.
I'm actually looking forward to visiting the project here soon, and I want to get into what attracted you to the project. But before we get into that, you have a pretty accomplished background. I would love for you to share a bit of that just to provide a bit of perspective and context to your experience and how I think it's going to be really critical, pun intended, for Monumental moving forward.
Dr. Jamil Sader: Sure, so I'm based out of Vancouver. And I do have a lot of experience in several different facets of the minerals industry, as you've seen there.
And I've spent a ton of time flying around in helicopters and dug a lot of holes in the ground but also spent a lot of time in global senior technical and business-focused positions; those positions with MMG Resources and Anglo American, mainly on the discovery side.
And then, also with a mining services provider, which is a minerals laboratory — Bureau Veritas Minerals. That was kind of an interesting one because you get to see a lot of projects and you get to see a lot of how people do things… how people do things differently. You get a really, really interesting cross-section of things.
Gerardo Del Real: You are also the president of MineScience Advisors, right? I know you were trying to be humble there and keep it brief, but again, no minor feat there.
So obviously, you've seen a lot of different projects. And I know that, given your experience, you're not one of these people that just gets on every board of directors just to be on there, right? So tell me a bit about the Jemi heavy rare earth project and what attracted you to it.
Dr. Jamil Sader: Well, first and foremost, I'd say that it was the team. And the team that Max has built at Monumental — they're just an extremely motivated, energetic group. And I really believe this company can make a difference in the North American rare earths space.
In terms of the technical aspect, I think that it's a really interesting early-stage rare earth project. It sits in a very highly-prospective belt that trends all the way from Mexico through to Canada and that hosts a range of alkaline intrusions and carbonatites.
But what really attracted me here is also the economics behind it in that it's located literally a stone's throw from the Texas border. It's about 30 miles away. And the grades that we've been seeing from the rock chip samples have been pretty impressive.
And it has a lot of similarities to other world-class deposits such as the Norra Kärr deposit in Sweden; Kipawa in Quebec; deposits in the Kola Peninsula in Russia; and Dublo in Australia, and so on.
So from a technical aspect, it was really, really interesting for me to get involved with.
Gerardo Del Real: It's interesting to me that you mentioned Norra Kärr because I couldn't help but notice that someone that I've known for over a decade now, Mark Saxon, was just proposed to be on the advisory board as a senior technical advisor.
Mark, of course, was CEO for some time of Leading Edge Materials and its predecessors, which, of course, is the company that the Norra Kärr deposit falls under. And so that's, I think, a phenomenal, phenomenal project as well. The comparison there is interesting to me because I happened to do very, very well with Norra Kärr. It was in a company called Tasman Metals back in 2010, 2011.
And if I recall correctly, that's a stock that went from C$0.15, C$0.20 to, I think, at its peak, over C$4. And as great as that was, I actually think the macro backdrop for the rare earths space is better now than it was then. You've seen the cycles. What's your take on the global situation as it relates to rare earths?
Dr. Jamil Sader: That's a really good question. And in the past, when we thought about rare earths, and when companies discussed rare earths, they discussed heavy and light rare earths together. But I really think that the goalposts have shifted somewhat; markets developed, evolved. And now the main focus is magnetic rare earths.
So that's the neodymium, praseodymium, terbium, dysprosium. And deposits are now going to be driven by the concentration of those metals in those deposits. And that's exactly what we're seeing at the Jemi project.
Gerardo Del Real: I was going to say, and so just to be clear, I call it Jemi, you call it Jemi, but just to be clear, the Jemi project, this is a project that potentially has an abundance of these high-value magnetic REEs, right; rare earths… the ones that are really, really being sought after and the ones that — if the Teslas and Volkswagens and Audis and General Motors of the world are going to be able to meet the production goals, that, the lofty ones, I should say, that they've laid out to shareholders here moving forward as it relates to electric vehicles — they're going to need a whole heck of a lot more than what's currently in the market, correct?
Dr. Jamil Sader: Absolutely. And it seems like the mineral that's hosting these is eudialyte. And once you look at some of the rock, it's pretty hard to miss. It's this beautiful pink mineral. But you're absolutely right that there’s going to be more and more need for these elements for magnets… and that's not going to change at all.
You're seeing companies like Lucid, like Rivian, General Motors, Tesla… and they're all ramping up the production of EVs. And they all need magnets, and they all need more of these heavy rare earths, or neodymium.
And that also brings up another interesting point about the location of this project in that, like I said, it's a stone's throw away from the Texas border. And Tesla is just finishing up the construction of the Texas Tesla Gigafactory in Austin.
And anything that potentially could come out of this project, and any production, could actually supply that factory. So there's the opportunity for these mines' metals to be used in fairly close proximity to the deposit itself.
Gerardo Del Real: I'm based here in Austin, and I drive by that Gigafactory every month — and it is absolutely massive. I mean, it's really hard to articulate just how gigantic the site is and the number of people that it's going to employ.
And Tesla just announced that it's officially moving its corporate headquarters here to Austin, Texas, so obviously good synergies there. It is early stage. I understand less than 5% of the project has even been evaluated for rare earths, correct?
Dr. Jamil Sader: That's correct; it's very early stage. So far, there has been some rock chip sampling done in some of the areas where there is rock that's cropping out. These are alkaline dykes that have intruded into cretaceous limestones and shales.
But I think one of the big upsides here is that a lot of the property is covered, and so there's still an opportunity to find something that's undercover. So there's a fair amount of work that needs to be done on this project and, really, it's boots-on-the-ground.
It needs some basic geological mapping. It needs some structural interpretation of these dykes. It needs some soil surveying done of the surrounding area, and it also could benefit from some geophysics.
So there's a lot of opportunity to do a lot more on this project because, like you said, it is very early stage.
Gerardo Del Real: I was going to ask you what the next steps are as it relates to exploration. It sounds like you just outlined them. I also understand there is a site visit to be had here soon. I referenced it earlier. Is that a site visit you plan to be at given all of the COVID restrictions and the fluid situation there?
Dr. Jamil Sader: Yeah, definitely COVID throws a wrench into things but I fully intend on being there for that site visit. I'm really looking forward to seeing some of those rocks and to get a better handle on what we can do going forward.
Gerardo Del Real: I am hoping to make that visit. It would be great to meet in person. Again, I suspect you'll get a bit more sunshine out of Mexico than you do Vancouver. I want to thank you so much for your time, Jamil. It's been absolutely great.
And I'm looking forward to following back up after the site visit and get your take on the property once you have a better opportunity to evaluate it. Thank you so much.
Dr. Jamil Sader: Well, thank you very much too. I really appreciate your time, Gerardo.
Gerardo Del Real: Alright, we'll chat soon.
Dr. Jamil Sader: Alright, thank you.Click here to see more from Monumental Minerals