CEO.CA sat down with James Cross, CEO of E-Power Resources to discuss their graphite exploration program. You can learn more about E-Power at e-powerresources.com. They are also active on CEO at the EPR channel, and at the @e-power account. The following is a record of the AMA session, originally held at ceo.ca/~eprama.
What is the proximity of your property to the Mason/Nouveau Monde property?
Part of our mineral property borders the Mason/NM property. From their graphite deposit, we are only about 3 km away.
We know how important infrastructure is for exploration - What are the services like roads and power like in the area?
Our property is about 3 1/2 hours driving from the Port of Baie-Comeau. We drive up Highway 389, which is a very modern and well-maintained highway, until we reach the Manic-5 Dam. From there, we take Class 1 logging roads to access the property for about the last 50 km. The logging roads are unpaved, but engineered to handle large logging trucks, There is a hotel and service station where we leave the highway.
There is a lot of hydroelectric power in the area. I am told this area supplies New York City with its power.
How much more drilling do you expect to do and what are the timelines?
We want to do our next drill program in March. In order to drill out a world-class graphite resource, we estimate we need to do another 20,000 -25,000 metres. We want to raise money for drilling at better share prices than we have now, in order to limit dilution. The 20-25k metres could cost $7m. However, if share prices remain low, we might aim drill a smaller resource first. This could mean 5000m of drilling to get a resource and then build it from there.
How involved is your management and board, and what experience do they bring to the table?
Jamie Lavigne, our VP of Exploration, who is also a board member and co-founder of the company has about 35 years of exploration geology experience. He has worked in many parts of the world and has a lot of experience in Quebec. I have been working with exploration companies for about 13 years and have always had an interest in critical materials. Our board is comprised of investors who invested in the company while we were still private. One is from the auto industry and Jamie brings geological experience. As we raised nearly all our capital privately from Europe, before going public, 3 of our 4 board members are based in Europe.
What are the plans for the Turgeon Property? It seems on hold for its graphite potential but what about its gold potential?
For Turgeon, we are looking for a partner. We would like to either option it to someone, or outright sell it. It has some graphite, but does not appear to host a world-class graphite deposit. It is extremely prospective for base metals and gold. It borders the property of the Detour Gold Mine and sits only about 10 km from Hecla's Casa Berardi Mine. Also active in the area are Probe Minerals and Wallbridge. We intend to use any proceeds from optioning or selling the Turgeon to fund further exploration at Tetepisca, our graphite flagship.
You announced an agreement with Volt Carbon earlier this year - have any mineral samples been processed and is the goal to produce cash flow here?
We will make sure we do enough work on Turgeon to hold onto it until we can monetise it.....For now, we are good for another year......OK, about Volt Carbon, we have not yet sent them any material to process, but will do shortly. The agreement with Volt is for 1 tonne of material to process. The intent is to produce samples separated by flake size that can be shown to manufacturers of battery anode material. It is a way to get our product in front of them even before we have a 43-101 resource. The investment community likes 43-101s, but the consumers (manufacturers) do not care much. We do not expect any cash flow from this. Just product samples.
You are raising money at the moment - can you break down how the money will be spent? What do your drilling costs look like?
The money we are raising now is not intended for drilling. We will have to raise more in order to drill. One thing we want to do is get a Frankfurt listing, as some of our European shareholders and followers find themselves unable to buy the shares because their banks do not enable trading on the CSE. If we raise enough money here, getting a US symbol so Americans can more easily buy the stock is also something we want to do. Other than the basics, like lawyers, auditors, accountants, Exchange fees, etc, the bulk of the capital will go toward promoting the stock, so that we can raise capital for drilling with less dilution. We are starting next week with some marketing in Montreal.
It is tragic when someone wants to buy our stock, but is unable to get their bank or broker to do it. This is ultimately the bank or broker's shortcoming, but we want do everything we can to make it easy for them.
How many more drill campaigns are you planning?
First, one more in March with the intent to get a 43-101 resource. Unless it is the full 20-25k metres, we will have to do another after that to build a larger resource.
The answer I gave above about drilling previously will also help to answer this question.
Could you walk us through the economics of the deposit at current graphite prices? And what is your outlook for Canadian graphite?
As we do not yet have a 43-101 resource, it is a bit too early to answer this one for Tetepisca. However, it clearly, with the naked eye, can be seen that there is a lot of large flake graphite. Flake commands a higher price than the finer amorphous graphite. ......Outlook for Canadian graphite looks very strong, even though share prices are extremely low. There is so much manufacturing (batteries) capacity being erected in North America and Europe. The graphite will have to come from somewhere. North America alone probably needs at least 35 new, world-class graphite mines in the next 10 years. There are only about 8 significant resources and only one, small producing mine. For us, the arithmetic looks perfect.
By 2035, it is estimated graphite demand will be 6.5x what it was in 2022. We are already seeing demand exceed supply.
It is often overlooked even though it is the largest material component of batteries.