Patriot Battery Metals (TSX-V: PMET)(OTC: PMETF) CEO Blair Way on Achieving 79% Recovery in Dense Media Separation Test Work on the CV5 Pegmatite, Corvette Property, Quebec
Gerardo Del Real: This is Gerardo del Real with Resource Stock Digest. Joining me today is the president and CEO of Patriot Battery Metals, Mr. Blair Way. Blair, great to have you back on. How are you?
Blair Way: Great, Gerardo. It's always great to be back on, having a chat.
Gerardo Del Real: Well, let's get right into it. I had hoped for a $20 Canadian price on Patriot by year end. The short sellers have been absolutely hammering the heck out of the stock the past few days in anticipation of what I have to speculate is the belief that the private placement shares that were escrowed for a year, including millions of shares that our group took down, are all of a sudden all going to hit the market here in the next day or two. And I can just tell you on our end of it, nothing could be further from the truth. Actually, I added some today. Not a lot, but I added a little bit today and will continue to do so at these prices.
But with that being said, share price aside, you had some news yesterday that I thought, though technical in nature, was incredibly important for de-risking the project and for advancing it to the point where you can make a production decision and/or a major can come in and really look at this in a new light. And so the headline read, "Patriot achieved 79% recovery in Dense Media Separation test work on the CV5 pegmatite at the Corvette property." I would love for you to give me a non-geologist, non-technical person explanation of why that's so important and so bullish here moving forward, with the disclaimer that obviously it's still early in the process. But so far so good on the met work and we've seen how met can absolutely derail a project that otherwise looks amazing.
Blair Way: For sure, Gerardo. I've had a few good chats with people and as you say, it sometimes helps to have that layman interpretation, so, happy to provide it. Probably one of the easiest ways to describe it to people is the DMS circuit is essentially a simplified process. People who are familiar with the gold processing, if you think about the gravity circuit in a gold mine or in a gold processing plant, DMS is a little bit like that. Many or most hard rock projects will have a DMS circuit of beginning to pull some of the easy grabs off and then they have to go into flotation. Flotation is much more complicated, harder to commission, and also involves more reagents in the chemicals that are needed in order for the flotation circuit to work.
Whereas, as in a gold circuit, the gravity circuit is really very mechanical. It doesn't use a great deal of energy. It doesn't use a great deal of anything more than about water in effect. Whereas DMS is essentially a freshwater circuit that draws out the spodumene concentrate. And we targeted the high 5 percents, and people also were asking is 6% the right number, is 5.5, is 5.0? And to be honest, it's pretty much within the right range of between five and 6%. Right now, if you can produce a con at 5%, you'll sell it to the market, no problem. The most recent sale by Pilbara was a 5.5% con. So that sold, I think for $7,000 US and a gross to a 6% benchmark number of somewhere, I think around $8,000 a tonne.
So what we're seeing is DMS is essentially a simplified circuit that takes the simple grind, so your simple crush, no grinding, and we take that through a mechanical circuit, which basically just uses a bit of water and an additive that is actually recovered, but it's a bit like a flocculent, but works the opposite to a flocculent and helps with the density of the water to help with the flow, with the separation of the spodumene.
And then once we go through that process, that material is recovered, the freshwater can be recovered and be reused. So it's a very simple process and we're fortunate that that simple process is giving us 79% recovery. So it's excellent news from a CapEx point of view, from an OpEx point of view and from an environmental point of view in the sense that it's a very simple process and doesn't involve a lot of chemicals, means our tails are cleaner or clean, and these are huge positives when we start looking down the track, as we've discussed before, heading down the path of detailing out that processing plan, working through the project description and starting into the permitting process.
Gerardo Del Real: And that was going to be my next question. Why is that so important as it relates to the permitting process moving forward? And you kind of answered the question. It definitely streamlines it in the sense that it's more environmentally friendly. And we've seen Canada recently, and specifically Quebec, really take charge and be very vocal about how supportive they want to be for the battery metals industry there. Have you had consultations or meetings with government officials about the project and advancing it?
Blair Way: For sure. We continue to have discussions with the Quebec government and Quebec funds and the Canadian governments. So the interest levels are there. As we've seen in the news, both the federal and provincial governments are very supportive of the battery materials and therefore a project such as this. To then be able to talk through the process in order to extract the spodumene concentrate being a relatively inert and simple and cost effective process. It just further increases or improves the fundamentals that we already have a very strong belief in for the Corvette Project.
So we've got a sizable deposit that we're drilling out here. We also have a preliminary processing, which is indicating a very positive outcome, simple, easily achieved result for producing a spodumene concentrate. And then we have a very supportive jurisdiction both at the provincial and federal level.
So we do need to continue those discussions well into the new year, including our First Nation, Quebec government, Canadian government, even US government as well, because there's interest and support available from that. So these are all ramping up. In the new year I'll be back in Canada, first couple of weeks of January for that purpose, and we're having meetings in order to progress these things. But it truly is a great project, which is certainly getting great interest and we believe great support down the track as we move forward on both the drill program and now as we discussed in the last call we had, the development cycle working towards the pre-feasibility level study.
Gerardo Del Real: With CV5, in my opinion, we clearly have easily, easily, a triple digit tonnage maiden resource that we'll see here in 2023. Obviously that's going to be important and it wouldn't surprise me if it pushed towards 200 million tonnes closer to that than the hundred million tonne mark. But let's be conservative. Let's say you're closer to 100 than 200, you also have CV13, which I'm excited for assays on. At what point, or have you already started initiating met work on CV13 to see if it's similar? Because I believe in a recent release you referenced that thus far, at least visually, it looks to be very similar rock.
Blair Way: We haven't started the met work on CV13. We're still waiting on assays. Certainly that will be part of the process. But as you can imagine, you have only a certain amount of physical resources available both internally and externally in labs and the like, so we are focused on CV5. CV13 certainly indicates to us, something's there. We just need the time to work through it. If you imagine where we were with CV5 about this time last year, we're a little further advanced, so we just have to do the time, do the drilling, get enough material so we can start that test work. But we will be doing it. But CV5 is our focus as we move it forward. And obviously this winter drill program, we have a ton more drilling to do. It's still open in both directions, so we need to continue to tease out that extension.
As much as getting a maiden resource out is good, we also need to make sure it's reflective of what we think we have there, and also feeds into whatever design we come up for pits and processing facility and capacity. And I certainly now, especially with our ASX and TSX listing, I have to be very careful about how I characterize any sort of scale of what we have until we have our technical reports out. So I'll probably dodge a few more questions than I used to, simply because the rule book is just that much more tougher when we've got two jurisdictions that we're being held to task to. But certainly CV5 has a big drill program planned and we'll be talking more about that in news releases and the like and then as we enter into the new year. But yeah, CV13 just needs some more time. As I said, where we are with CV 13 is where we were with CV5 this time last year. So, it just takes time. We've got to do the work.
Gerardo Del Real: You mentioned where we were this time last year. It's been an absolutely spectacular 12 months. Again, I was fortunate enough to help participate in the 16 cent financing. I participated in the subsequent one where we locked up our shares voluntarily for 12 months and we didn't get the $20 price target that I was hoping by year end yet. I'll caution yet. A short squeeze isn't out of the realm of possibility, but it's been a phenomenal year and frankly, whether we get 20 bucks this month or we get 20 bucks next month, it's really not consequential on my end. Those shares aren't going anywhere.
Blair, great work this year. Anything else to add to that?
Blair Way: Well, just reinforcing what you were saying about the shareholders that participated in the various financings, and I know in the greater market, people are fearful of a bunch of shares coming free trading, but I know pretty much all of them on a personal level or a great deal of them and they're all on board for the fundamentals. Nothing has changed. We've had a few people or a number of companies or what have you, playing and shorting with the stock in anticipation of this big blowout. Time will tell. We could have possibly extended it, but we decided we've just got to get through this and then people will see that all shareholders are in this for the fundamentals as we move this forward.
Yeah, I again, don't have any fear of these free trading shares and neither should others. It's a natural progression. Instead of a four month hold, it's a 12 month hold, but people are still holding onto the shares, and yes, they've had some great returns, but there's still more down the track in their opinion, so they’re staying with us and that's great.
And I guess lastly, we're only a few days away from Santa Claus' visit. I'd like to thank all shareholders for their support throughout the year. We've had an amazing year to come from where we were again, this time last year. I think we were probably in double digit share prices. And now we've had a fantastic year. We've had some really fantastic results. Couldn't have been happier with the way the drill program and the whole process of defining what we have at the Corvette project has gone. And just wish everyone all the best for the holiday season and into the new year and look forward to an equally exciting 2023.
Gerardo Del Real: From double digit cents to double digit dollars and then back a little bit. Not a bad 12 months. Can't wait for 2023. Blair, thanks so much for the time. I appreciate it.
Blair Way: Thanks, Gerardo. Always great to catch up, and have a great holiday season.
Gerardo Del Real: Same your way.Click here to see more from Patriot Battery Metals Inc.