Monumental Minerals (TSX-V: MNRL)(OTCQB: MNMRF) CEO Dr. Jamil Sader on Discovery Drilling in the Lithium & Rare Earths Space
Gerardo Del Real: This is Gerardo Del Real with Resource Stock Digest. Joining me today is the CEO of Monumental Minerals, Dr. Jamil Sader. Jamil, I missed you in Vancouver, but it's great to have you on the phone. How are you today, sir?
Jamil Sader: I'm doing great Gerardo. How are you?
Gerardo Del Real: I'm well, I'm well. Listen, we know that the lithium sector, the critical metal sector, the rare earth sector is absolutely on fire. We're seeing major, major capital allocations now from not just mining companies, but we have automakers such as GM taking a $650 million stake in Lithium Americas to help them develop their project in Nevada. It's clear to me anyway that this is a trend that has a lot of runway and I'm speaking about lithium specifically right now, but the same could be said for rare earths, right? We have what has now been verified to be essentially a gigantic spy balloon floating all around the United States that China now says was an oops moment for them. They lost control of it if you can believe that.
And so, again, it's clear to me that the lithium sector, the rare earth sector, and the geopolitical tensions are all continuing to trend on the high side. And so with that said, you just had a release about exploration drilling on a project in the lithium triangle of Chile. That is but one piece of a lot of pieces that I know you've been in the process of setting up for 2023 for Monumental and I wanted to have you on just to touch on that a bit.
Jamil Sader: Yeah, yeah, of course. So thanks for asking about that. We are absolutely thrilled about this agreement that we now have with the Ayquina-Turi community. This agreement is to carry out our exploration drilling activities. We're very thankful for the community for granting us access to their ancestral lands and how professional they've been to work with. And this agreement is really important because this opens up drilling to this project for us and having this in place now, there is plans to have drills turning by the end of this month. We're already in final discussions with the drilling contractor and we're pretty much good to go.
Gerardo Del Real: This is a big deal. I want to really provide some context to listeners that may be new to this project or to the Monumental story. Can you tell us where this project is located because that is, and pardon the cheesy pun, that's critical to the potential success here and the potential upside, right?
Jamil Sader: Of course. The Salar de Turi project is approximately 60 kilometers northeast of the community or the city of Calama in northern Chile, so within the lithium triangle, and we have basically the entire salar. So we have 8,500 hectares and if it's not the entire salar, it's definitely the best parts of the salar. And I say that because we have geophysics that's been done by Lithium Chile and we know where the prospective brine units are and we know where we want to drill. So we have a very good project, very good location, very close to a sizeable community, and also good access. We have paved roads that are virtually right up to the drill site.
Gerardo Del Real: Now these salars are, again, to be absolutely clear, are salars that contain, correct me if I'm wrong, I think more than half of the world's lithium supply. Is that accurate? That's a whole heck of a lot.
Jamil Sader: Yes. There is over half the world's supply of lithium that would be contained in the lithium triangle and that would include Chile, Argentina, Bolivia. At this point, Bolivia is more or less off limits. They still have a ways to go in terms of working on their salars and getting those projects moving. But moreover, just in terms of global proven reserves, Chile is number one. Chile has twice as much proven lithium as the number two country, which is Australia and five times as much as the number three country, which is Argentina. So it's a really, really good place to be in terms of lithium, of salars, and just the lithium concentrations in brines some of the best in the world.
Gerardo Del Real: Now you have an option to acquire a 50.01% interest to this project, which is great deal making because it gives you the opportunity to test it and see if it's worth following up with. You also have the option to acquire a 75% interest entitled to the Laguna Blanca project, which is also in Chile. Can you speak to that project a bit?
Jamil Sader: That's a great project too. It's about 80 kilometers due east of the community of San Pedro Atacama. That project, we've done some work ourselves to compliment the work that Lithium Chile has done and that's also our plan this year is to drill that project. Right now, just because of the easy access to Salar de Turi, that's our number one focus. There's also a weather aspect that plays into Laguna Blanca as it is around 4,500 meters above sea level and as we get closer to winter, which would be getting into May, June, July, the conditions are a little bit more difficult, but the plan is to also get in there and drill that project this year.
Gerardo Del Real: It sounds like you have multiple shots at a significant discovery in a space, the lithium space, that is absolutely on fire. You of course also have a rare earth project that I know is very, very important. The earlier stage, very, very important. It's right near the Texas border located in Coahuila, Mexico. Can you speak to that project a bit before I let you go?
Jamil Sader: So the Jemi Project, wonderful project, moving along exactly the way that we want it to. It's very complex geologically. So we've had an excellent consulting group that's been out mapping, been collecting samples, been doing geophysics, and we're getting very close to the end of that program and the next stage now is to come up with drill targets based on all of that information that we've got. So we are looking at potentially having drill targets chosen and ready to go in a couple months, but I will say as well that we have excellent relationships with the local landholders, whether it's the local Ayquidos or with the ranchers and I think that's really important too. They've come to see us as a partner and it really makes it easy for us, when we decide that we want to move forward with the drilling aspect, to have them both helping us out and having them on side.
Gerardo Del Real: Drill baby drill. Lots of shots on goal. Looking forward to this tiny market cap being re-rated. If you hit on any one of those three projects, you'll be trading much, much higher. If you hit at a couple, you'll likely be trading in dollars, not cents. Jamil, anything to add to that?
Jamil Sader: Nothing more today, Gerardo. It's been a pleasure talking with you as always and I look forward to talking with you again when we've got those drills turning.
Gerardo Del Real: Love it. Can't wait. Jamil, thank you for your time as always.
Jamil Sader: All right. Thanks Gerardo.Click here to see more from Monumental Minerals