Battery Mineral Resources Corp. (TSX.V: BMR) (OTCQB: BTRMF) is a battery minerals company providing shareholders exposure to the global mega-trend of electrification while being focused on growth through cash-flow, exploration and acquisitions in favorable mining jurisdictions.
The company’s mission is the discovery, acquisition and development of battery metals (namely copper, cobalt, lithium, and graphite) in North America, South America and South Korea. It aims to become a leading low-cost producer of high quality, ethically sourced battery metals from high-grade, low impact mines in stable jurisdictions that are close to major consumer industries.
BMR is headquartered in Vancouver, British Columbia, with a portfolio of projects spanning Canada, the U.S., Chile and South Korea.
BMR’s current focus is the restart of its Punitaqui copper mine in Chile, as well as the exploration and development of its cobalt, lithium and graphite assets in North America and South Korea. The company also continues to identify and evaluate new project opportunities in its operating jurisdictions.
Its current portfolio includes:
Chile – Copper
BMR’s 100%-owned Punitaqui copper mine, acquired in March 2021, has the potential to generate an annual EBITDA of up to $50 million at or above a copper price of $4.25/lb. The company’s flagship project, the Punitaqui mine has been the subject of numerous milestones in recent months, including:
- BMR funded and completed a successful 32,526m resource drill program in 2022. Metallurgical testwork has confirmed the ability to produce excellent copper concentrates from each of the five zones tested, including recoveries ranging from 81% on the low end at Cinabrio Norte up to 96.5% at the Dalmacia deposit.
- The company in August 2022 reported the results of its first ever NI 43-101-compliant resource estimate for the underground deposits at its Punitaqui copper mining complex of 6.2 million tonnes grading 1.14% Cu in indicated category, along with 3.1 million tonnes grading 0.93% Cu in the inferred category. This resource estimate greatly exceeded management goals.
- In September 2022, BMR announced the approval by the Chilean Environment Assessment Service for the Environmental Impact Declaration (“DIA”) pertaining to mining at the company’s Cinabrio mine and San Andres deposit. The approval of the DIA allows BMR to move forward with starting mining operations in 2023 and restarting the mill at its Punitaqui copper mining complex soon after.
- BMR is focused on securing the final funding for the restart of mining and resumption of copper concentrate production at Punitaqui. Once this funding is received, BMR aims to complete mine rehabilitation and development in four to six months, with the ramp up from first production to the full production rate of 20-25 million pounds of copper in concentrate per annum to require a further four to six months.
“From exploration, engineering, community and permitting successes to realizing several non-dilutive means of funding to allow BMR to advance the project, our team looks forward to taking advantage of the renewed positive market sentiment for near term copper pricing and placing ourselves in a strong position to participate in a robust copper sector in 2023,” CEO Martin Kostuik stated in a news release.
Canada – Cobalt/Silver
Between 2016 and April 2018, BMR acquired through claim staking, option, joint venture and direct purchase the largest regional land holding in the historic home of high-grade cobalt-silver veins in Canada known locally as the Cobalt Embayment.
As of February 2023, BMR controlled a land package totaling 9 properties with 4,086 tenements that encompass an area of 84,003.39Ha. The key projects within the land package include McAra, Gowganda, Elk Lake, Fabre and Wilder. From 2017-2022, a total of 412 holes/51,452.34m were drilled on eight projects/20 targets. In addition, a total of 26,709 Line-Km of airborne geophysical surveys & 1,324.84sqkm of LiDAR topography was flown. Follow-up ground geophysical surveys resulted in a total of 37 surveys (514.64 Line-Km) being completed.
Initial NI 43-101 compliant resource defined at McAra (M&I Resource of 1,124,000lbs Co) was detailed in a Technical Report on Cobalt Exploration Assets in Canada dated as of February 5, 2021, with an effective date of October 31, 2020, prepared by SRK Consulting – G Cole PGeo (APGO#1416).
Idaho – Cobalt
BMR holds the Bonanza and East Fork properties located in the historic cobalt-copper-gold Blackbird mining district (Blackbird Mine from 1902-1963 produced 17Mt grading 0.7% Co, 1.4% Cu, and 1 g/t Au) located about 30 kilometers west of Salmon, Idaho. The Bonanza project is immediately adjacent to Jervois Global’s Idaho Cobalt Operations, the United States’ only operating primary cobalt mine. At Bonanza, there are seven mineralized sites within an area over three kilometers wide that extends along a gabbro dyke striking continuously for over six kilometers northward from Noranda’s historic Blackbird Cobalt/Copper mine. The showings on the project are Bonanza Copper Tunnels, Tinker’s Pride, Bonanza Copper #25, Indian Creek, Gray Copper, Blackrock #4 and Papoose #’s 1-4.
From 2018-2021, BMR’s Bonanza Exploration included 550 line-km of airborne magnetics and radiometrics followed up by surface exploration that included rock sampling, soil sampling, channel sampling of historic workings and 3.6km of time domain induced polarization geophysics.
The two properties cover 12 significant cobalt-copper prospects within the known mineralized zone. Both of the BMR Idaho cobalt belt properties host excellent high-grade discovery potential.
South Korea – Graphite
BMR has 100% ownership of the Guemam and Taehwa graphite exploration projects containing high-purity flake graphite deposits. Both assets are past-producing mines with existing local infrastructure and near-term production potential.
Nevada – Lithium
The company’s Amargosa lithium project is in the southern Basin & Range province and central Mojave Desert of Nevada. It is an early-stage exploration opportunity in a favorable region that hosts numerous lithium occurrences, including the Clayton Valley lithium deposit owned by Cypress Development Corp., as well as a major nearby lithium brine mine currently in production called the Silver Peak mine held by Albermarle Corp., one of the world’s largest lithium producers.
Near-term forecasts for the copper sector are extremely bullish, with stalwart Wall Street firms such as Goldman Sachs and Bank of America projecting record highs in the coming months. A combination of short-term supply deficits and long-term energy transition demand are expected to buck the downward pressures that have impacted copper prices in recent years.
Goldman in December 2022 forecast a 178K metric ton deficit in the copper market in 2023, causing the firm to raise its 12-month target to $11K/ton and its average price for calendar 2023 to $9,750/ton.
With China likely to continue accelerating efforts to restock depleted inventories in the wake of its COVID-19 reopening and a sustained push toward electrification around the globe placing a strain on supply, BMR is uniquely positioned to capitalize through the anticipated restart of operations at its Punitaqui copper mine.
Martin Kostuik is CEO and a Director of BMR. He brings to the company nearly three decades of diversified experience in the mining industry as a mining engineer and senior executive. Prior to joining BMR, Mr. Kostuik served as president and director of Arizona Gold Corporation and as CEO and director of Rupert Resources Limited. He built a broad base of experience in operations, engineering, exploration and capital projects with various companies including Luna Gold (Equinox), Barrick Gold Corporation, Taseko Mines Limited and DMC Mining Services. Mr. Kostuik earned his B.S. in Mining Engineering from Queen’s University and his M.B.A. from the University of Tennessee.
Max Satel is the company’s CFO. He has over 18 years of experience as a successful natural resources-focused executive, most recently serving as EVP Corporate Development & Investor Relations for Arrow Exploration Corp., a TSX Venture- and AIM-listed oil & gas company with operations in Colombia and Canada. Prior to joining Arrow, Mr. Satel was principal and co-founder of Bordeaux Capital Inc., a Toronto-based advisory firm focused on the capital needs of companies across the natural resources sector, where he led and executed project financing advisory mandates involving global financial institutions and private equity funds. He earned a Bachelor of Commerce in Finance and Economics from the University of Toronto.
Jacob Willoughby is VP Corporate Development & Strategy for BMR. He brings to the company nearly 17 years of diversified experience in mining capital markets, including over eight years as a mining analyst covering exploration and development companies globally in both precious and base metals. Mr. Willoughby was most recently Vice President of Research and Analyst at Red Cloud Securities in Toronto. He spent two years as President and Director of Aldridge Minerals, a former Canadian based public exploration and development company with assets in Turkey and Papua New Guinea. Mr. Willoughby earned both a B.S. in Geology and a Masters in Business Administration from the University of Windsor.
- Battery Mineral Resources is focused on the discovery, acquisition and development of battery metal projects in North America, South America and South Korea.
- The company’s flagship Punitaqui mine has the potential to generate an annual EBITDA of up to $50 million at or above a copper price of $4.25/lb. with production targeted for H2 of this year.
- BMR is working to secure final funding for the restart of mining and resumption of copper concentrate production from its Punitaqui complex; it in advanced discussions with several parties and has the goal of closing a funding agreement in the coming months.
- In the second half of 2022, BMI made significant progress toward increasing and improving its human and financial resources, as well as permitting, metallurgy and ESG initiatives.
- The company is strategically positioning itself to take advantage of renewed positive market sentiment for near term copper pricing.