Feb. 13, 2023
Atco Mining Inc. (CSE: ATCM), currently trading around C$0.22 per share, is focused on early-stage salt deposit/salt dome exploration opportunities — for use in underground hydrogen storage — in Newfoundland, Canada, plus early-stage green energy and precious and base metals opportunities throughout Canada.
While salt typically isn’t the first thing investors think of when seeking out early stage speculations in the junior mining space, Atco Mining’s outside the box strategy presents a potential first-mover advantage in the growing hydrogen storage arena as demand for the clean-burning fuel intensifies.
Recent studies confirm that green hydrogen — hydrogen produced by splitting water into hydrogen and oxygen using renewables — could supply up to 25% of the world’s energy needs by 2050.
Yet, increased green hydrogen demand also means there’s going to be a need for increased storage capacity in the coming years and decades. To that end, underground hydrogen storage in giant salt caverns is emerging as a viable solution that Atco Mining intends to capitalize on to the benefit of ATCM shareholders.
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Early-stage exploration is currently underway across Atco’s impressive portfolio of seven 100%-owned salt prospects strategically located in southwestern Newfoundland, an area that hosts the Great Atlantic Salt Deposit and the Fischell’s Brook Salt Dome — among others.
In terms of the process, once a viable salt dome or cavern is discovered, next steps involve drilling into the salt and then injecting water into the salt to dissolve it. The resulting brine is then extracted, leaving room for a large, tight cavern where hydrogen can be stored under pressure until needed.
It’s a proven methodology. In fact, the first hydrogen storage salt dome was constructed in the UK way back in 1972 and is still in active operation today.
Getting back to exploration, last month, Atco announced the completion of its previously announced airborne gravity survey on its portfolio of 100%-owned salt projects, which are located within the St. George’s Bay Basin in southwestern Newfoundland — one of the most resource-friendly jurisdictions in the world.
A large 816 line-km survey was flown over Atco’s prospects, with a focus on the highest-ranking targets, with results due soon.
The data should go a long way in allowing Atco to assess the district-scale potential of the area along with the prospectivity for its properties to host various styles of salt accumulations (for potential use in industry, road salt, et al), including the potential for the delineation of large salt dome structures.
Atco Mining director Neil McCallum — whom you’re about to hear from directly in our exclusive interview — commented via press release:
“The district is seeing a revitalized effort to find new salt dome structures to complement the proposed large-scale hydrogen production hub. The modern survey will help to confirm and prioritize the historical exploration, much of which was done over four decades ago. That historical information has gravity low features within our project area, and thus suggests the presence of salt dome targets. I am keenly awaiting the results of this survey in the next couple of weeks so that we can incorporate it into our exploration model.”
Additionally, Atco is advancing the early-stage May Lake gold-copper prospect in Saskatchewan, Canada.
The project encompasses 5,487 hectares within the northern portion of the underexplored LaRonge Greenstone Belt, which lays host to numerous high-grade gold deposits (as detailed in the above map).
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Historical boulder samples taken at May Lake have returned values up to 1.15 grams per tonne gold and 4.14% copper and 1.30 g/t Au and 7.51% Cu. Historical drilling has returned values up to 6.82 g/t Au and 2.10% Cu over 4.96 meters and 4.31 g/t Ag, 0.54% Cu, 0.53% Zn over 6.79 meters.
With the primary focus being on the company’s salt prospects, our own Gerardo Del Real of Junior Resource Monthly took the opportunity to sit down with Atco Mining director Neil McCallum to go over the plans and process for advancing the projects through the various stages of exploration.
You may recognize the name as Neil is very well-known in the North American mining space having been involved in numerous early-stage lithium projects over the last several years. In 2016, he identified and staked the Corvette lithium exploration property for then 92 Resources — predecessor to Patriot Battery Metals (TSX-V: PMET)(OTC: PMETF). Since that time, Patriot has grown to a C$1.4B market cap company with one of the top-tier lithium pegmatite projects in Canada.
We hope you’ll enjoy the conversation.
Also, for more information on Vancouver-based Atco Mining, be sure to call Etienne Moshevich at the company’s IR department at 604-512-5624 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Editor, Resource Stock Digest