Tag Archives: Canadian Securities Exchange Magazine

Spotlight on Darcy Krohman

Your education and experience are at a unique intersection of finance and mining. What made you decide to pursue this career trajectory?

During my undergrad, I completed several business courses which set me on a path to pursue the Chartered Accountant program, articling with KPMG. My intent was always to integrate finance and mining, as, from my perspective, the subject matter and information derived from these two disciplines provide the “nuts and bolts” of the operations of any mining or mineral exploration company.

Where did your career in mining start?

My first jobs in the mining space were with the UBC working for a PhD student and mapping a large region near the Mascot Gold Mine in the Similkameen Valley of southern BC, followed by summers working for BHP-Utah Mines in the Coastal Mountains of BC and on Vancouver Island at their Island Copper Mine.

What’s the most important thing you’ve learned during your time at the CSE?

The importance of patience and flexibility while working with issuers to achieve their objectives. Many junior companies do not have the in-house expertise or resources to address many of the complex issues to get their companies and mineral projects past the exchange listing “finish line.” EThe services the CSE provides for listing and ongoing continuous disclosure processes are integral to obtaining a positive outcome for the company, investors and the CSE.

What is the most important thing mining companies need to consider when going public?

The single most important aspect of any company, public or private, is having the right people doing the right functions. The mining industry is littered with examples of good projects significantly impaired by management with the wrong skill sets. Mining companies, like all companies who decide to go public, must also realize that the rules of the game change once you decide to go public. The assets of the company are no longer solely for the benefit of the directors, officers, management and insiders, and there is an ongoing obligation to account for those assets.

From your perspective, what are some challenges that public mining companies are currently facing?

In a complex industry like mining, there are numerous challenges faced by public companies. Some of these include identifying resources, dealing with longer lead times, developing new technology, finding qualified labour, working in remote and complicated jurisdictions, and complying with corporate social responsibility to stakeholders, Indigenous peoples, and the environment.

What are some misconceptions about mining you think people should know?

Probably the amount of environmental damage a mine will have if developed responsibly. To maintain our current standard of living, metals have to be produced, and environmental impact and surface disturbance will, unfortunately, occur. However, that impact can be mitigated by using evolving technologies, completing a cost-benefit analysis at each stage, and complying with professional and industry standards. Canada has high environmental standards, and I believe the export of these standards will help improve the acceptance of mining as a sustainable industry worldwide.

This story was featured in the Canadian Securities Exchange magazine.

Québec Nickel: High grade at the core of a business plan to supply vital metals to the clean energy sector

Experienced executive David Patterson wanted to be ahead of the nickel curve when he formed a new Québec-focused company in September 2020, foreseeing growing demand for metal in the clean energy sector.

Patterson moved quickly, approaching Glenn Mullan, Chief Executive Officer of Val-d’Or Mining, ultimately leading to then-private Québec Nickel buying what is now the company’s 15,000-plus hectare Ducros nickel, copper and PGE project from Val-d’Or Mining for 3,589,341 special warrants.

In July 2021, Québec Nickel (CSE:QNI) listed its shares on the Canadian Securities Exchange, and in November of the same year raised approximately $7.5 million. 

At Ducros, the company is embarking on an extensive exploration program pursuing high-grade mineralization. Currently underway are airborne and ground surveys as well as an aggressive 20,000 metre, multi-phase drill program encompassing the 2022 exploration season. 

Canadian Securities Exchange Magazine caught up with Patterson, Québec Nickel’s Chief Executive Officer, recently to learn more about the company’s plans.

Québec Nickel is exploring for high-grade nickel in the Abitibi, yet the area is better known for its many gold and VMS deposits, with only low-grade nickel occurrences. Talk to us more about your vision.

We believe that our Ducros property has all the necessary features to produce a high-grade nickel deposit. On our property we see geologic structures in an area with high volumes of mafic and ultramafic rocks. This unique combination of geological setting and geology give the Ducros the potential to host an economic nickel ore body. 

In a broader sense, what’s the difference between higher and lower grades in nickel?

All things being equal, a high-grade deposit will have a smaller ecological footprint and can better withstand volatile metal prices. A low-grade deposit may be economic at the current metal price, but could not sustain an operation if prices drop significantly.

How is your current drilling and exploration program going? What have you discovered so far, and what do you hope to achieve?

The COVID variant Omicron slowed our exploration activity at the start of 2022. However, in early February we were able to begin both our airborne VTEM survey as well as Phase I drilling on the Ducros. Our most recent press release has a detailed description of the rock types we have encountered. We will need to wait for assays for the current holes, and we anticipate having them in the next month or so.

Can you tell me more about the Ducros project and why you are excited by it?

We believe we have a large project area that has seen very limited exploration activity. Previous work by other independent operators on small portions of the property has provided our technical team with evidence that the area has a significant volume of mafic and ultramafic rocks. This is a similar geological setting for most of the magmatic sulphide nickel discoveries in the last 100 years.  

In addition, limited drill programs conducted in 1987 and 2008 show that there are nickel occurrences in these rock types. Our 2020-2021 exploration program of geological mapping, geochemical sampling and geophysical surveys has given us confidence that we are in the right geological setting. Our 43-101 Technical Report from 2021 discloses channel and grab samples from the Fortin showing outcrops that contain over 2% copper and 0.5% nickel with elevated platinum and palladium values.

Can you say more about your executive team, their background, and what you bring to the company as CEO? 

On our board of directors, we have people with tremendous nickel exploration experience as well as expertise in finance and accounting.

Our technical team has considerable experience in nickel exploration, with both brownfield and greenfield discoveries that have gone into production.  

As for me, I have helped finance large nickel exploration projects in Canada over the last 25 years. I believe the team that we have brought to Québec Nickel can find an economic ore body and has the experience to be able to develop the project through to production. 

How would you sum up the company’s opportunity to a potential investor?

I believe that we are in the early stages of a metal super cycle, that we have chosen the right metal given this super cycle and we have the right people to guide the successful development of the company.

This story was featured in the Canadian Securities Exchange magazine.

Learn more about Québec Nickel at https://quebecnickel.com/.

International Battery Metals: Technology to support clean, consistent lithium supply takes a big leap forward

Technological breakthroughs are where the big money is often made in the stock market, and International Battery Metals (CSE:IBAT) is a perfect example. As it entered the fourth quarter of 2020, the company’s shares could be picked up for around $0.10. More recently, those same shares have changed hands as high as $7.40.

It is a success story based on solutions in an industry crying out for them, one where inefficiency is clashing with a generational shift in consumption to create high prices and serious concerns about future supply shortages. Given the move toward greener economies, not to mention regional resource security, it might not come as a surprise that lithium is the prized product we are talking about.

International Battery Metals Chief Executive Officer Dr. John Burba can truly be described as a technology pioneer in the lithium extraction industry. Now at the helm of his own company, the pace of his achievements is only picking up momentum.

Dr. Burba spoke with Canadian Securities Exchange Magazine in late March about the company’s technology and how he sees it contributing to a better macro climate for the lithium industry, and the global environment, in the years ahead.

We will explore your technology and the company’s success in a moment, but can you begin with your view on the state of lithium supply and demand and how it shapes your strategy?

I’ll start off by saying that I think the lithium industry today is where the oil and gas industry was in about 1910. There are strong analogies.

If you go back to what was happening in the early 20th century, people did not really know much about how to get oil and gas out of the ground successfully. The process was very dirty. Pollution was ignored. It was just a nasty process. Of course, that has improved in the decades since.

The lithium industry is not that different. There are two major supplies of lithium today. There is hard rock mining, which is spodumene. Basically, companies are mining this in a variety of places and sending it to China for processing.

Then there is lithium extraction from brines, and you either have solar evaporation, which is very damaging, or you have FMC’s process, which I invented when I worked for FMC. That approach is better but still has drawbacks.

The industry has old processes that are not as efficient as they need to be, and significant issues on top of that with environmental damage. That is the backdrop to where we are. We have a tremendous shortage looming over us, and that is why prices are so high for lithium right now.

If the world continues producing lithium the way it does, the shortages are going to get worse. It will negatively impact the number of vehicles that can be produced and the number of batteries that can be produced. People will start using less efficient batteries and that is not going to be good for the transition we hope to see.

Can you quantify industry efficiency for us?

To give you a few examples, recovery rates for these processes are not very high. If you look at solar evaporation in Chile, they only recover about 20% to 30% of the lithium and the rest is wasted on the desert floor. FMC’s process recovers around 40% to 45% of the lithium.

Lithium is the only industry I’m aware of that tolerates such abysmal recovery rates. Most industries would be going crazy if they were wasting over 50% of their desired product.

So, these are the burdens that this industry is bearing right now. And the answer is not going to come from big established companies. They are simply not capable of, or not interested in, radically changing the industry so that it becomes efficient and responsive to the needs of the world.

In a recent press release, Universidad de Santiago de Chile stated that your technology is the “only one capable of separating lithium without leaving a significant impact on the environment.” Walk us through what differentiates your approach.

When you look at lithium extraction, one hears a lot about direct lithium extraction (DLE), and many start-up companies preach that as if it’s some new thing. The DLE concept actually began at Dow Chemical in the late 1970s and the 1980s, so that idea has been around for a long time.

Basically, it is about having a technology that can selectively pull lithium from the brine and let everything else go by. We are using a proven form of direct lithium extraction that is based on an absorbent that a friend of mine and I invented back in the 1990s. We have improved it since then, but it was groundbreaking at the time.

This material will selectively recover lithium from a saturated brine. And the selectivity is astronomically high.

The reason that matters is because there is not that much lithium in even the best resources. In that Atacama brine that everybody loves, you have about 2,000 parts per million lithium. If you look at Alberta, you are talking about 50 to 80 parts per million.

The lithium concentrations are low and you have to have something that will pick up the lithium and leave behind everything else.

We have improved our process so that – and we still have to prove this – but we are expecting to see recovery rates substantially higher than 60%. And we are hoping for recovery rates in the range of 90% to 95%.

The second thing is we intend to inject the brine back into the formation rather than putting it onto the ground and letting it evaporate. The problem with letting it evaporate is that you create salt flats all over the place, and salt is very detrimental to ecology.

The third thing, and perhaps the most important for jurisdictions such as Chile, is that our technology enables us to recover vast amounts of water. We will be recycling about 98% of our process water. In the Atacama, for example, they don’t recycle any water with solar evaporation.

What about the equipment itself? Are there positive environmental aspects to your physical footprint at a project?

We have been able to shrink the size of the processing equipment and that has allowed us to modularize and develop a mobile plant concept. We can put modular equipment in place, assemble it, turn it on and begin processing lithium in a short period of time.

When we are done, we pick up the equipment and eventually you won’t be able to tell that we were ever there. We can build one of these plants in months, rather than years.  

I will add that our omnibus patent for this mobile and modular process has been issued.

What is the status in terms of commercialization? And what is the commercialization plan?

I’m glad you brought that up, because if we can’t make money, we can’t do a good job on the environment. We have two contracts with a company called Scorcia Minerals. They have substantial resources and we have a contract with them in Chile and Argentina providing exclusive rights to use our equipment there.

Our arrangement sees us receive a royalty on final sale of the product. They buy the equipment from us on a cost-plus basis, we operate on a cost-plus basis, and we own 10% of each project.

We are focused on North America right now and I would say that in the next two years we intend to have one of our units extracting lithium in the United States. We also intend to build a lithium carbonate hydroxide facility in the United States so that we have a North American base for significant lithium production.

Once we are established in North America, we are also open to Africa, Europe and other places where they have good resources.

Give us a look at your future and where the industry is going. How big do you think you can get and how does your company maintain a leadership position?

We have passed a tipping point from the standpoint of transportation and electrification. In the first question, I made the analogy to the oil industry a hundred years ago. I think lithium is going to see a lot of the same drive that oil did.

Some people will ask why not sodium, or why not potassium? It comes down to basic chemistry. Lithium is the best. Its transport numbers are the fastest, which means it will zip across a cell very rapidly, and go into crystals very rapidly, and it has a very high half-cell potential. So, when you look at this, all of it bodes well for powerful, high-capacity batteries. It is not likely we are going to find a battery chemistry that works better than lithium.

And then how do we remain relevant? We have to do every one of our projects in a credible and honest way and we have to be successful in everything that we say. We are not into predicting. We want to do it and then explain what we’ve done. Our accomplishments need to be real and measurable. That is the kind of thing that serious investors like.

Anything we have missed?

Right now, the biggest driver of success in the industry is time to market. We have exceedingly high prices. If I can start today and have a plant operating in 18 months, as opposed to six years, I have already won the game. That is where the mobile and modular extraction comes into play. We can get in rapidly, and we can expand a facility rapidly. It is like LEGO – you just plug it in.

I’d also point out that high recovery rates and things of that nature flow through to low operating costs. And something we have not talked about is that capital costs for our modular system are substantially lower than for traditional plants. We don’t have to put in foundations or construct big buildings. We don’t have a cast of thousands to support 24 hours a day. This makes it much easier to finance a plant and that makes it easier for us to expand. These are the reasons I am very optimistic about our future.

This story was featured in the Canadian Securities Exchange magazine.

Learn more about International Battery Metals at https://www.ibatterymetals.com/.

Element79 Gold

Mineral exploration companies rarely talk about the potential for generating cash flow because it simply is not part of the vision. For Element79 Gold (CSE:ELEM), however, it is a key aspect of the path to success, and the company is currently putting the finishing touches on a portfolio designed to achieve it in the near term.

Element79’s flagship is the Maverick Springs Project in Nevada and it has a number of other properties along the state’s Battle Mountain trend as well. It also has projects in British Columbia and Ontario, and recently moved to acquire two high-grade Peruvian gold projects. 

Upon completing the Peruvian acquisitions, Element79 Gold will have a diversified portfolio of assets including greenfield, advanced 43-101 inferred resource stage, and historic high-grade past-producing mines that have the potential to become producers again.

Canadian Securities Exchange Magazine sat down with Element79 Gold Chief Executive Officer James Tworek in late March to find out more.

Element79 recently completed a 43-101-compliant, pit-constrained mineral resource estimate for the Maverick Springs project in Nevada. What did it tell you?

It gave us an opportunity to gather all the data that had been amassed from previous owners of this property and to take the historical resource and bring it up to modern standards. In doing that, we were able to incorporate an additional 59 drill holes of data, which had been completed after the historical reports.

It also gave us the opportunity to refresh our perspective on the project. As it was previously conceived only as a prospective underground mine, arguably there was a lot that was being missed. By looking at it from the perspective of a pit-constrained model, we can now look at the strip ratio of all of the strata above the hard rock and begin to incorporate those economics.     

Right now, the strip ratio is about 5:1, and going forward our plans include doing some infill drilling to prove up value and to enhance our understanding of the project’s metallurgy, with the intent of getting better yields from higher strata and enhancing overall project economics.

Aside from Maverick Springs, Element79 has a portfolio of 15 properties in Nevada which you are assessing for further exploration, potential sale or spin-out. Which is most likely? 

Because it is such a diverse portfolio, we have stratified them into what we’ll call the “best hits” in terms of what we will likely keep ourselves and focus on to unlock value. I would argue that Element79’s market capitalization is very much weighted on the value provided by our 3.71 million ounces of gold equivalent and the potential of developing Maverick Springs. Little of the rest of the portfolio is being accounted for today.

Some of these are well-explored properties, with 160-plus drill holes on them, but they don’t have any form of modern report. So, this is a great opportunity for us to revisit data, put in some work on the properties and generate modern reports on them with the intent of unlocking the value of the resources onto our balance sheet.

In addition to raising capital for the projects, we have been speaking with potential partners that might want minority joint ventures on specific properties. We are looking at all these aspects, and now that we’ve reached our current strategic M&A plateau we’re confident in where we’re going with developing our portfolio.

Beyond Nevada, you are in the process of acquiring the Snowbird project in British Columbia and have an option on another project in the famous Timmins mining camp in Ontario. What can you tell us about these? 

The Timmins project, called the Dale Property, has proximity to IAMGold’s Cote gold mine, where production is expected by mid-2023. Being on the same greenstone belt, about 60 kilometres away, there is a great opportunity to show there’s something worth pursuing.

That said, Dale is at a very early stage, so we have to balance that exploration requirement with developing our other more advanced projects at the same time.  

With the Snowbird project, where we have already funded about 3,000 metres of drilling, we intend to close the purchase shortly. The catch to the transaction was that the exploration permit ended on December 31, 2021, and the vendors, Plutus Gold, had a contractual commitment to invest $1 million in exploration by June 30, 2022.

Exploration permits are currently taking six months or more to obtain, so having to wait for it could have jeopardized the acquisition in the immediate term. We’ve been told that Plutus is just getting assays trickling in, and a 43-101 report on the project is underway. We should have that information in the first part of the second quarter.

Element79 recently signed a Letter of Intent to acquire some past-producing gold mines in Peru. What do these offer? 

We have an LOI signed and we’re going through a 90-day due diligence process prior to closing. These assets were previously producing but were shuttered due to low prices in the early 2000s. But there was prolific production out of them. The Lucero asset was producing in the range of 19 grams per ton gold equivalent.

The beauty of working in Peru is that mining is deeply rooted in the culture and it’s a cornerstone of the economy. Also, the permitting process is streamlined compared to many jurisdictions.

There are existing permits in place to extract 350 tons per day of ore. And with the Lucero asset, where the two permits are in place, there is regional infrastructure. The closest mill is only running at about 60% capacity and around 20 days a month, so there’s potential for us to start generating cash flow in the near term.

The company has said its portfolio offers a pathway to revenue. What do you think is the timeline?

Post-acquisition of the Peruvian portfolio, which should be closing at the latest by mid-June of this year, we plan to take the time to make sure that we have adequate basic exploration, including an initial 43-101 resource for both former mines to get them operating again. We feel quite confident that within 18 months we should be in production at Lucero.

That can help offset our day-to-day operating costs, and even fund some exploratory work. If we want to move by leaps and bounds, we are speaking to different financing parties, with debt financing a topic. With cash flow, we can justify borrowing to develop both the Peruvian assets as well as our flagship and Nevada portfolio that much faster.  

What should investors in Element79 expect in the medium term? 

We’re ratcheting up very quickly from a lean start-up to a fully functioning operational mining company on a global basis. We’ve just brought on another world-class teammate, Mr. Kim Kirkland as our VP of Global Exploration and are engaging further consultancies and country managers for specific assets.

The pending newsreel includes updates as we close on Snowbird and eventually on the Peruvian assets. We’re also actively raising capital, as well as progressing long-term sustainability initiatives while developing our portfolio. 

Bringing on cash flow is a key driver of our corporate strategy. There are a lot of junior miners that aren’t able to achieve this goal based on their assets or strategy. We intend to be doing that within 18 months of acquiring the Peruvian portfolio.  

My personal goal was to ensure that this company would have access to cash flow within 24 months of our IPO. We seem to be on that trajectory right now, with an amazing team of people and key assets to get us there.

This story was featured in the Canadian Securities Exchange magazine.

Learn more about Element79 Gold at https://www.element79.gold/.

Spotlight on Theresa Nyabeze

Canadian Institute of Mining, Metallurgy and Petroleum (CIM) Diversity and Inclusion Advisory Committee Co-Chair Theresa Nyabeze talks about advocating for diversity and inclusion (D&I) in the mining industry and beyond.

What initially drew you to STEM?

A curiosity about how things worked. I grew up with very curious siblings who were always experimenting with multiple endeavours growing up, like raising silkworms, beekeeping and so on.

How did your career in mining begin?

By accident! In school, I learned that while I enjoyed math and sciences, I hated biology. I needed a program free from human anatomy, and as a younger-than-usual first-year student, I was hesitant to leave my home of Sudbury, Ontario where I lived since I was 12 – so, the mining program at Laurentian University it was! 

Speaking personally, why do you believe diversity and inclusion are important?

I just think it’s the absolute most common-sense lever in everything I do. When I have volunteered in groups or worked in teams, the more people felt understood and included, the more creative they became and the more they seemed to thrive within and outside my engagement with them. From that point of view, I think it’s critical.

As Diversity and Inclusion Advisory Committe Co-Chair at CIM, what are some of the challenges you’ve seen or encountered when it comes to D&I in the mining industry?

I think connecting our stories and learning, growing and collaborating continues to be a challenge. I see so many well-intentioned initiatives and driven individuals. We need to break out of tackling challenges in silos.

In your opinion, what is the current state of diversity and inclusion in mining? How does it differ from when you began your career?

The mining industry is on an impressive growth curve, and we are making large strides in embracing D&I. Why I say that is because we are leaders in safety; taking care of the whole ecosystem is something that comes naturally. As we harness this similarity, we are making progress. Look around at mining companies: You will see a major effort to really embrace the learnings from society. There are signs and symbols that progress is underway to diversify workforces, as well as increased training and awareness-raising of key topics.

What efforts can people make to better foster inclusivity?

Investy time in the concept of “unlearning,” and become curious about your teammates and what belonging means to them. This is at a personal, team, and company level.

What do you feel is most important for people to know about diversity and inclusion?

We all need it – regardless of our appearance. Think about your experiences when you were in school until this day; we all thrive when we have a friendship group or people who “get” us. The same sense of belonging you need is what everyone else seeks. There is room for everyone to participate in this movement. Consider this your invitation if you need one! 

What is your greatest accomplishment?

Living out my values and being recognized for my radical authenticity.

This story was featured in the Canadian Securities Exchange magazine.

Ameriwest Lithium: Unlocking value in a world shifting toward lithium-based energy solutions

Nevada is a hot spot for lithium exploration: Clayton Valley in particular is a mature, well-known, lithium-rich area that includes the only production in the United States, at Albemarle’s Silver Peak lithium mine.

Throughout the state, major players are scouting for the sought-after metal as demand soars due to the shift to green energy solutions powered by lithium-based batteries. The US government has also announced measures to increase domestic production of the metals and minerals that are used in advanced technologies, in order to reduce reliance on foreign suppliers.   

Ameriwest Lithium (CSE:AWLI) is a new, up-and-coming player in the lithium space in Nevada.  It has put together three highly promising early-stage lithium properties in that state and a fourth one in Arizona.  And they are in handy locations as well.  Railroad Valley is the most advanced property and is located about 260 kilometres east-northeast of Clayton Valley.  Edwards Creek Valley is located 225 kilometres west of Reno.  Deer Musk East is in Clayton Valley.  Thompson Valley is 190 kilometres north of Phoenix.

“We made the decision to move into the lithium space in March of 2021, so it’s been just more than a year since we made the transition,” says Watkinson. “Certainly, we see lithium as being one of the hottest metals to look for from an exploration point of view and to generate investor interest. Demand is increasing as we move to electric vehicles, and then there is the need for battery storage as we move to solar and wind energy. So, lithium is going to be something that increases in value over time. It’s a great opportunity for us as a company and for investors to get involved in the lithium area.”

With a number of other explorers also looking for the next big lithium find in Nevada, Watkinson says the technical team that Ameriwest has put together is an important factor, allowing it to grow and acquire what it believes are very good quality assets. The combined technical team has over 170 years of experience in the mining industry.

“There is certainly risk in an exploration company because, especially with a brine target, you can do surface sampling, but that doesn’t really help you to identify a brine target that might be 2,000 feet below surface,” he adds. “Our exploration strategy, using geophysics the way we have, helps set us apart. I don’t see other junior mining companies necessarily taking the same technical approach to define targets. The geologists we have put together and the management team has the ability to go out and find high-quality projects and also to understand and develop the resources on those projects.” 

Once the company has a clearly defined resource, Watkinson says it will augment the technical team with other specialists like metallurgists. However, he adds that it is probably up to two years before it gets to that point.

Ameriwest chose Nevada as its starting point of the focus on lithium, acquiring a series of properties, all of which contain lithium brine targets.  Railroad Valley, Ameriwest’s most advanced project, has brine targets identified by geophysics in preparation for drilling.  

In neighbouring Arizona, Ameriwest’s latest acquisition, Thompson Valley, is a prospective lithium sedimentary deposit with surface or near-surface exposure of lithium-bearing clays that were sampled in the early 1960s.  Geologic mapping is complete, which will be followed by permitting to allow surface sampling and drilling.

“We are trying to get a mix of brine, sedimentary, and, if we can find a hard rock deposit, we would look at that too,” Watkinson says. “While there are technical and environmental challenges when it comes to processing and recovering lithium from various deposit types, the lithium industry is really developing. The technology for processing is being developed almost on a month-by-month basis to handle different types of deposits.”

While the Ameriwest portfolio is shaping up nicely, Watkinson hastens to point out that the projects are all early in nature.  While Albemarle and its predecessor companies have been operating Silver Peak in Clayton Valley since the 1960s, exploration for new lithium properties in the US is essentially a recent phenomenon. With the movement to electric vehicles and alternative energy sources, there is a race to develop new operating mines. 

“Exploration success at any one of these properties could change the fate of the company if we’re successful in discovering significant lithium targets,” says Watkinson. 

Ameriwest’s approach to exploration for lithium brine has been to use geophysics. It typically undertakes a gravity geophysics survey that identifies targets in arid valleys where brine may have accumulated and become concentrated over millions of years. Magnetotelluric geophysics looks at the resistivity (or conversely the conductivity) of the subsurface, which helps indicate the potential for a concentrated brine.

Further seismic analysis helps identify structures such as faults, horsts and grabens that might be subsurface.  This data is then modelled and used to locate drill holes to target conductive brine targets that might host a lithium-bearing reservoir.  The modelling is also used to help target drilling to avoid structures like faults below the surface that might be encountered.

Geophysics also helps in perfecting the claim package staked or acquired by the company. Following acquisition, a gravity survey at Railroad Valley was completed and the claim boundaries have been expanded based on the results. Additional claims were also acquired from American Battery Technology Company to the north, resulting in 780 contiguous claims over 15,300 acres.  A similar targeting approach was used at Edwards Creek Valley where the company has 829 claims totalling about 22,200 acres.

Potential brine targets have already been identified at Railroad Valley and after analysing the geophysical data it has collected, the company plans to drill its first hole later this year targeting a reservoir that potentially hosts lithium brine.  The timing for drilling will be subject to permitting and availability of drilling equipment.

“The geophysics shows us the target, but the drill hole will be proof of concept that it’s there,” Watkinson says. “There’s permitting that will be done for the initial drilling; that’s relatively simple but when we get to developing resources, the permitting becomes more complicated. In the United States, there’s certainly a movement by the government to push the development of critical metals like lithium, but the challenge is moving through the permitting process, and it takes time. So, it’ll take several years to develop our deposit.”

It also takes capital, and Watkinson says Ameriwest has sufficient funds for the initial steps it is taking to identify potential brine targets. Once it reaches the development stages, it will have to raise additional funds or find joint venture partners with deeper pockets, such as one or more of the mining majors.

“We’ll evaluate all those different opportunities,” he says. “Certainly, we have the ability to push the project through and develop it into production if we decide to go that route. But we also would like to take advantage of relationships with senior partners on advanced projects and have them come in and develop. They typically have a lot more expertise in processing and can fund larger capital projects.”

While Albemarle has extracted lithium at its Silver Peak mine by pumping brine and using evaporation ponds to concentrate the lithium before processing, Watkinson says that method is falling out of favour from an environmental perspective due to the amount of water it uses.  New technologies being developed are aimed at pumping fluid back into the aquifer after the lithium has been removed.

Ameriwest is not getting ahead of itself, says Watkinson. For now, the goal is to develop resources. Once those are established, the company will make a decision on the direction it takes as either a lithium producer, a project generator, or to seek out major companies to form joint ventures with.  

“As we develop resources there will be a transition the company goes through,” he says. “Our goal right now is to delineate resources on our properties and try to add value by doing that in the short term.  We have put together a high-quality technical team, acquired what we believe are high quality properties, and are minimizing exploration risk by developing multiple assets.  We have laid the foundation for long-term success with the goal of becoming a major lithium exploration and development company.”

This story was featured in the Canadian Securities Exchange magazine.

Learn more about Ameriwest Lithium at https://ameriwestlithium.com/.

American Pacific Mining: High-grade projects in premier US jurisdictions position this explorer to make the most of gold’s newfound momentum

For American Pacific Mining (CSE:USGD) Chief Executive Officer Warwick Smith, forming a close partnership with the world’s second-largest mining company speaks volumes about the junior explorer’s growth and investment potential.

Smith’s team completed a transaction in 2020 that can in every way be described as a company-maker, when it acquired the past-producing Madison Copper Gold project in Montana. Madison is being explored under a joint venture with Kennecott Exploration, which is part of the Rio Tinto Group. 

“It’s huge validation for the project,” Smith says. “The majors these days are using the juniors as their exploration arms. They’re not funding their own exploration. They’re looking to the American Pacifics of the world, going, ‘Hey, these guys are onto something. Let’s fund them.’”

Through an earn-in agreement already in place at the time of acquisition, Rio Tinto can spend up to US$30 million for 70% of Madison. That’s something that Smith and President Eric Saderholm, a boots-on-the-ground geologist and veteran mining executive, never imagined would happen on their first attempt to purchase the project.

“We went to look at Madison in 2016. We really liked it and wanted to buy it,” Smith says, noting that between 2008 and 2012 the project produced 2.7 million pounds of copper and 7,570 ounces of gold at high grades.

“But before we got a chance to negotiate on it, another group bought the asset. They did a great job. They came in and drilled into the porphyry, which was a big deal and that got Rio Tinto excited,” he explains.

In 2021, Kennecott completed US$2.7 million in exploration, which included 10 diamond drill holes totaling 3,598 metres, targeting extensions to the project’s skarns and jasperoids. The drilling identified new zones of skarn-hosted massive sulphides, underscoring the potential for bonanza-style gold mineralization.

Highlights from the drill program include one hole which returned 14.44 grams per ton gold and 0.11% copper over 6.53 metres, including 39.57 grams per ton gold and 0.28% copper over 2.35 metres. The next step for Kennecott is to create a comprehensive 3D model of Madison’s skarn environment to direct the next drilling phase.

But what makes the deal, which cost American Pacific C$2.4 million, even sweeter is that it has been highlighted by S&P Global Platts, the leading independent provider of information and benchmark prices for the commodities and energy markets.

American Pacific was selected for 2021 as one of four finalists in the S&P Global Platts Global Metals Awards program in the Deal of the Year category. Even though his company lost out to winner Cleveland-Cliffs, Smith said American Pacific could not have asked for better recognition than being put in the spotlight with some of the biggest and most successful companies in the world.

“It was a significant nod of approval on what we think can be a world-class asset with world-class service in a smaller company,” he says.

Smith notes that the value of the company has grown significantly, making it one of the top percentage gainers among gold mining stocks on the Canadian Securities Exchange in 2021.

The CSE has helped us get to that point and it is the right exchange for us to list on and it’s been the right exchange to grow on,” Smith explains. “It’s been great for the company and has been great for shareholders as well.”

American Pacific’s profile is further bolstered by the presence of former hedge fund manager Michael Gentile. He is the company’s largest shareholder, with a 19.9% stake.

Also in the company’s project portfolio are two highly prospective high-grade assets: the Tuscarora gold project and the Gooseberry gold and silver project, both located in Nevada, a famously mining-friendly state.

American Pacific has two other assets in Nevada as well: South Florida and Red Hill. Smith says the company plans to partner up via joint ventures to further the projects.

At Tuscarora, near the town of Elko, Smith says the company is spending C$5 million on a 70-hole drill program. The 4,272 acre project consists of numerous high-grade gold vein targets, including the Grand Prize Target, from which the company reported high-grade samples of 21,032 grams per ton gold and 38,820 grams per ton silver in 2021.

“We’re the first company to ever own it all, which is a big deal. We’re focused there,” Smith says. “We think it’s got the opportunity to be big.”

As for Gooseberry, the company is planning sampling programs and eventual drilling of parallel vein targets within a low sulphidation, epithermal vein system. The mine sits close to the historic Comstock Mining District outside Reno, where discovered lodes and veins led to the production of 8.6 million ounces of gold and 192 million ounces of silver.

“The mine hasn’t been touched since 1991 when it was last in production. We staked it. It was available and cost us C$20,000 to pick it up,” Smith says. “We spent about a million and a half dollars there. We’re up there working again doing the sampling.”

However, Smith explains that it may be time for American Pacific to move beyond acquiring exploration targets as he, Saderholm and the rest of the management team mull growing the company by taking advantage of merger and acquisition opportunities.

“It gives us a chance to think big. I’m not interested in purchasing another exploration project,” he says. “If I were to do something on the M&A side, I’d want to double the size of the company overnight. That’s the type of M&A that we’re looking to do.”

Looking ahead to the rest of 2022, Smith says the company is focusing its energy, and decidedly healthy treasury, on developing Madison, Tuscarora and Gooseberry.

“All three of those have the opportunity to be large multi-million-ounce deposits that we feel that we can grow to meet the desire of majors,” says Smith.

This story was featured in the Canadian Securities Exchange magazine.

Learn more about American Pacific Mining at https://americanpacific.ca/.

Fathom Nickel: Past-producing property containing several of today’s highly sought-after metals is attracting attention for good reason

Fathom Nickel (CSE:FNI) is, first and foremost, a high-grade story.  There is a reason that the company managed to raise $11.5 million last year before going public on the Canadian Securities Exchange in May 2021. That reason is the historic Rottenstone nickel deposit. 

Nestled in northern Saskatchewan, Fathom’s Albert Lake project is home to the formerly producing Rottenstone mine, which yielded eye-popping nickel grades of over 3% during the 1960s. 

Fathom acquired the property in 2015 during the bottom of the nickel cycle and has since expanded its holdings in the area. Today, Albert Lake consists of over 90,100 hectares, of which more than 80,000 remain virtually unexplored. The company plans to apply modern exploration methods on the property in a bid to prove that those historic grades were no fluke.

Chief Executive Officer Brad Van Den Bussche and Vice President Exploration Ian Fraser founded the company in 2015 with the goal of acquiring highly prospective battery metals projects in favourable jurisdictions. They spent time in the US early on, going from conference to conference in the battery technology space to get a feel for which metals were going to be needed as technology advanced. It was nickel that won the day.

“Ian and I both had some experience with Albert Lake and Rottenstone from years ago, so we knew the asset had had very high-grade nickel, copper, PGE’s (platinum group elements)  and cobalt,” Van Den Bussche explains. “And we were able to get it at the bottom of the nickel market for a very good price. Basically, we picked up the core property for some shares and a royalty that we recently bought back.”

According to Van Den Bussche, it was indeed the grades that first attracted them to the project.

“It was a combination of the grades and the mineralogy – the type of minerals that were in the mix. There’s a built-in hedge having nickel, copper, platinum/palladium and cobalt in there,” the CEO says. “It’s one of the highest grade nickel deposits mined in Canada.” 

Globally, there is a handful of very high-grade nickel deposits, such as Norilsk in Russia. Closer to home, the Raglan mine in Quebec and Voisey’s Bay in Newfoundland both stand out. The Rottenstone grade was essentially as good – or even higher – than some of the biggest economic deposits currently in operation. Fathom’s team believes that Albert Lake’s geological setting  supports the thesis that the Rottenstone is one of several variable size, high-grade nickel deposits similar to the multiple deposits that make up the Raglan nickel camp.

Not all nickel deposits are created equally, of course. There are essentially three types of nickel sources: limonite ore, saprolite ore and nickel sulphide ore. Currently, nickel sulphide is the preferred source to develop high purity Class 1 nickel which goes into creating nickel sulphate required for battery production. The pathway to creating Class 1 nickel from limonite and saprolite ores is more costly and typically creates a much larger environmental footprint.

It should come as no surprise that Albert Lake is a sulphide deposit. From the outset, sulphide opportunities were the focus for Fathom’s team.

“From Day One, we were focused on sulphide deposits,” Van Den Bussche says. “Our mandate is to look for electric vehicle battery minerals that are high in grade, particularly nickel. Nickel sulphide deposits are basically the main pathway to Class 1 nickel, which is necessary in the production of stainless steel and the EV/battery components.”

The mineralization of the historic Rottenstone deposit is unique and contains several notable associated metals. Initial sample metallurgy indicates metal recoveries of greater than 90% nickel, copper and cobalt are possible – all essential ingredients for the green economy. Furthermore, initial studies indicate recovery in excess of 80% can be expected from palladium and platinum.

Things look encouraging at the historic Rottenstone deposit, but with 80,000 hectares left to explore, the challenge for Fathom is to find out whether those grades extend throughout the property. The original deposit itself was small, which doesn’t faze Van Den Bussche, but he knows that the team must prove there is more there than just Rottenstone.

“We need to focus on understanding the system,” Van Den Bussche says. “Those kinds of high grades have to come from a very large system. There’s just no way in the geological model concept that you can have those kinds of grades without a large melting pot. The Rottenstone mine has to be one deposit within a much larger system.”

To that end, Fathom is planning an airborne electro magnetic survey and follow-up ground geophysics to zero in on prospective drill targets this year. A key part of its exploration activity is utilizing a portable Vanta XRF Analyzer (pXRF) to provide real-time litho-geochemical, multi-element data on core from current drill holes, and on historical drill core left by previous operators.

The pXRF results confirm the presence of nickel and copper in present and historic drill cores, and assay results will also test for the presence of platinum group elements, a significant component of the historic Rottenstone deposit that is not detectable via the pXRF. 

Saskatchewan may not seem like the first place a company would visit to explore for nickel, but the province is quickly emerging as a leading global mineral jurisdiction. The Fraser Institute’s annual investment attractiveness survey ranked Saskatchewan in third place in 2020, with a particular spotlight on the province’s mineral potential. The prolific Trans-Hudson Corridor runs directly through the province then veers east to cover northern Manitoba, northern Quebec, northern Labrador and across to Greenland. 

What has held Saskatchewan back from developing its own world-class base metal deposits has historically been, in part, the political situation. But that has changed completely in the last 20-plus years, according to Van Den Bussche. 

“During much of the 1970s and 1980s, a Saskatchewan Crown Corporation (SMDC) had the rights to become up to a 50% partner in exploration projects in the province. While a lot of exploration and development was occurring next door in Manitoba, many exploration companies chose not to take on a government partner and explore in Saskatchewan during this period,” Van Den Bussche explains.

“But that has completely changed and now Saskatchewan is a great jurisdiction to work in. There is a lot of opportunity, and it’s getting a lot of interest from many companies, including the majors. Rio Tinto is a major explorer in the province, and BHP is starting to look as well – they already know Saskatchewan because they’re a big player in the potash industry. Saskatchewan is in the right place in the system, and it’s got the potential to have continuations of some of the Manitoba base metal opportunities, including nickel.”

Fathom is operating during a wild time in the nickel industry. The silvery-gray metal is an essential component in electric vehicle batteries, and manufacturers are scrambling to secure safe supplies. As the green energy economy ramps up, so too does nickel demand – so much so that in early 2022, trading was suspended on the London Metals Exchange after nickel prices breached the $100,000 per tonne mark.

For Van Den Bussche, the dynamics of the current nickel market point to the necessity of developing a safe, stable supply of the metal within North America.

“There is definite urgency to try to lock up some supply of nickel from mines that are currently producing, but also to feed the supply chain two, three, four or five years out. Good projects in good jurisdictions that have a pathway to growing a resource and getting into production are essential. I think there’s going to be a huge move to gain control of the raw materials needed for these strategic businesses.”

This story was featured in the Canadian Securities Exchange magazine.

Learn more about Fathom Nickel at https://fathomnickel.com/.

Zoglo’s Incredible Food: Exclusive technology and decades of experience create a foundation for success

The food industry is in the midst of a major shift toward plant-based alternatives, and consumers who already make plant-based foods part of their diet know that their flavour and texture has improved remarkably in the last few years. Some even taste just like meat.

Ontario-based Zoglo’s Incredible Food (CSE:ZOG) pioneered the art of producing plant-based meat substitutes and knows the ins and outs of this fast-growing sector as well as any corporate team, having been in business for nearly 35 years.

The company’s secret to producing top-shelf, plant-based proteins lies in its disruptive technology, which consists of a new extrusion process that builds fibres in vegetable proteins. The technology enables a texture that Zoglo’s Chief Executive Officer Anthony Morello calls “the closest thing to traditional meats that we’ve ever seen.”

Meanwhile, societal trends go hand in hand with Zoglo’s vision to become a global entity.

Studies show that a vegan, vegetarian or flexitarian diet not only has health and environmental benefits, but also a noteworthy impact on lowering food costs. An Oxford University study revealed that a vegan diet can cost some 29% less than a meat diet, while the flexitarian diet was the next cheapest.

In an early December interview with Canadian Securities Exchange Magazine, Morello explained how Zoglo’s leverages decades of experience to distinguish itself in an increasingly crowded marketplace.

Zoglo’s has been in business for much longer than most of its competitors. What makes the company unique in the plant-based food market?

When Zoglo’s first began, we didn’t refer to these products as being plant-based, but rather we called them vegetarian. A lot of products were good, but frankly not great, because of the technology available at that time. Over the last five years, there’s been a real technology shift allowing for plant-based products to come closer to the taste and texture of real meat.

What makes Zoglo’s different is our technology. A lot of our technology does not exist in North America yet. We have a distinct advantage over our competitors in the products that we’re making, which allows us to create a much wider assortment of options.

What do you make of the growing attention around the plant-based industry? Do you think it’s a fad or is it here to stay?

This is not a trend or a fad. Through the course of my career, I’ve seen a lot of trends in the food industry, whether it be sugar-free or gluten-free, but this is a complete food shift. It doesn’t hapepn very often. We’re on the cusp of seeing something that is going to change the way people eat. 

There are three distinct groups of people that are looking towards plant-based as a solution for their dietary needs. Younger people, or Gen Z, are looking at it as a need to help the environment, or animal welfare. Older people, like myself, are hearing our doctors tell us that we have to eat less red meat.

In Canada, cultural reasons also play a part: so many people come from different facets of the world, where vegetarianism and veganism are a part of the diet. These three dynamics are making for a perfect storm of food development.

Zoglo’s recently acquired plant-based food producer Monday Swiss UK. What was behind the decision?

We wanted to have its specialized extrusion process at our fingertips. It allows for the production of pea protein or soy protein in a way that will give you a similar experience to meat from a mouthfeel and texture perspective. This is a really distinct advantage because it opens up the category to a much broader audience and attracts flexitarian consumers.

How are you planning to grow the business? Is it going to be organic growth or M&A?

There are going to be a lot of mergers and acquisitions in this space in North America over the next five to 10 years, but I think our growth will be a combination of both. Of all the different competitors we have in our space in North America, there’s a lot of small players that will likely not last. Other large players are going to get into it in a bigger way, and already Kellogg’s is dabbling with Morningstar, and Conagra with Gardein.

They’re all going to need some form of plant-based option within their portfolios. Also, plant-based options are going to appear more in the food service industry with restaurants. There’s great room here for growth and expansion, and certainly for M&A. We want to be the best that we can be in this space and carve out Zoglo’s as a brand that’s recognized globally.

What are the industry trends you’re noticing in the plant-based food market, and how are you attempting to utilize them to the fullest?

Trends are developed by the consumer at the end of the day, and wider acceptance of products is how the trends evolve. There is so much news, attention and awareness around plant-based lifestyles, not only from a food perspective but also from environmental and health perspectives. People are curious, and they’re continuing to evolve and develop their interests.

Our position is a little different than most of our competitors because of the variety that we’re bringing to the market. We’re offering the consumer more options to incorporate plant-based foods into their meals and diets.

Food is more expensive in grocery stores now. Have you found that inflationary pressures have affected your business?

If anything, plant-based food is going to become a more economical way to purchase food. The reality is the resources required to farm animals are getting more expensive. Again, the effect that it has on our climate and our soil is a challenge that we need to deal with.

There is so much more stability in the cost of raw materials with plant-based ingredients. Because plant-based products have a stable pricing structure, consumers can know exactly what they’re going to pay week in and week out for groceries.

Have you had trouble with supply chain disruption, and if so how are you tackling that?

No, we haven’t experienced anything as of yet, which is quite remarkable because we’re currently bringing all of our products from Europe. We’re manufacturing all the products in Europe at Monday Swiss.

Our plan is to open a production facility in North America by the end of 2022, take the technology that we have in Europe and essentially cut and paste it in North America.

That will do two things: it will ease the pressure of capacity in Europe so that we’ve got the capacity to continue to grow there, and it will give us more capacity in North America as we grow our brand and our product SKUs.

With the acquisition of Monday Swiss, we have access to a facility in the northeast US. It’s the right size and the right footprint for what we need. We’re looking at the new facility as a potential location for us, and if not there then somewhere in southeastern Canada.

Finally, are there any misconceptions about plant-based foods among people that you’d like to clear up?

The biggest misconception is that all plant-based food is created equal. We are a perfect example of that. We’ve been in the business for over 30 years. Our green box lineup was made with a different technology than the black box items we recently launched.

If you taste and prepare those products like meals, the food experience is vastly different. It is important to read the ingredient decks, look at the cooking instructions, and make sure that you’re getting what you think you’re getting. There are a lot of counterfeit products out there.

As time evolves, technology has allowed these products to get a lot better. Three years from now, it’s going to be much better again.

This story was featured in the Canadian Securities Exchange magazine.

Learn more about Zoglo’s Incredible Food at https://zoglos.com/.

The Yumy Candy Company: Healthy candy becomes a reality thanks to a team that does the right things for the right reasons

In today’s food and beverage marketplace, consumers demand healthy choices in all product segments. Candy is an item defined in many people’s minds by recipes laden with sugar, which is not exactly what one tends to associate with good health. But change is underway, and at the vanguard of this evolution is Erica Williams, Founder and Chief Executive Officer of The Yumy Candy Company (CSE:TYUM).

Vancouver-based Yumy Candy Company is a leader in better-for-you candy, not only because it is an emerging category ripe for new entrepreneurs, but also because it fits the kinds of goals that Williams and her team are committed to accomplishing.

In a wide-ranging interview with Canadian Securities Exchange Magazine in early December, Williams discussed her strategy for launching The Yumy Candy brand, the market it plays in, and why the company’s products are already segment leaders.

The better-for-you category is self-explanatory on the surface. But how big is this segment of the food and beverage industry and what drives a successful product and brand?

The better-for-you confectionary market is just getting started. It is not a trend. I think that is the number one thing I am asked. We are the first and only vegan and better-for-you confectionary company to go public, which is a huge accomplishment, and it gives investors and opportunity to invest in the future of the confectionary sector.

I think we will see more and more better-for-you candy companies IPO, as this is a growing space and still has lots of upside potential.

The better-for-you space has been growing substantially over the last five years. I’ve seen it with the shift from high-sugar products to low-sugar alternatives, and then it was from meat and dairy to vegan options, with initially the plant-based meat, and now the plant-based dairy industry taking off. I believe the vegan confectionery sector is just at the beginning of its growth.

In 2020, the global health and wellness food market was valued at US$733 billion and projected to increase to $1 trillion by 2026. In 2019, the sugar-free market in the US alone was a $1.88 billion industry. Over 60% of consumers say that working toward a more plant-based diet is the trend they are looking for.

What drives a successful brand is a winning product and a winning team, and I think we have both. At the end of the day, it comes down to what the consumer wants, and listening to what they are looking for. Innovation is key and that’s exactly what we’re doing here at The Yumy Candy Company.

Candy is a large and competitive market segment. What advantages do Yumy Candy products have? How did you decide on these and then develop products based on that insight?

I’ve been in the health and wellness space for a long time and have my finger on the pulse of what people are looking for, and that is essential to give your brand that edge.

One of the biggest competitive advantages is that we are really focused on taste and texture. Not only are Yumy Bears the best tasting, but they are also much softer and don’t get stuck in your teeth like other candies. You no longer have to sacrifice taste and satisfaction when choosing a better-for-you candy.

Going into our launch, we did extensive market research in the confectionery space and it showed that consumers are looking for new vegan and environmentally sustainable options that are better for human health and animal welfare. We realized there was a significant gap on the shelves. Being one of the first better-for-you alternatives in the aisle has given us a huge competitive advantage. Companies like Hershey’s and Haribo are slowly starting to make adaptations to come into the space, but hopefully by that time we have claimed the unclaimed market share.

The second competitive advantage of our products is that we are up to 92% less sugar than traditional candy. There is a huge trend toward low-sugar items. Most people are aware of how overconsumption of high-sugar products has negative impacts on overall health, especially for children.

And the third competitive advantage we identified is the movement away from sugar alcohols and artificial sweeteners, because they have been shown to influence blood sugar levels. We cater to the demand for great tasting, naturally sweetened products without using any sugar alcohols or artificial sweeteners. And then over the last two years, immunity and health has been at the top of people’s minds. Consumers are becoming more conscious of what they are putting into their body and that is another reason we are seeing people gravitate toward healthier confectionery options.

The distributors you utilize supply many of the largest food and pharmacy retailers in Canada. How extensive do you see distribution of your products becoming in terms of store numbers and over what period?

We wanted to make sure we partnered with distributors that have strong retail partners. We recently partnered with a couple of Canada’s largest distributors of quality health and confectionary products. That will bring us significant growth in sales and increase market share. Working with distributors with all of the major retailers in Canada, such as Whole Foods, Loblaws, Sobeys – they have distribution to over 7,000 vendor locations – we expect to be in thousands of locations in the next 12 months.

One of our distributors has been the main factor in establishing and distributing many great bands and companies in the confectionary space, one of which was recently acquired for US$360 million in our direct better-for-you space. Star Marketing, our other main distributor, has won awards for their relationships with retail chains such as London Drugs. We are excited that The Yumy Candy Company is well on its way to gaining tremendous market share in a relatively short period of time.

Walk us through sales to date and your marketing strategy. How important is brick-and-mortar retail compared to online sales?

Our sales strategy was to go directly to consumers. We wanted to get into the hands of consumers, let them taste the product and then let them decide. We conducted in-store product tastings, attended trade shows, went to local markets – every community event possible to get in front of our target customers. The feedback was overwhelmingly positive and we knew we had a winning product.

Our sales strategy was to establish a strong retail presence in a short amount of time and that was really to start with brick-and-mortar retail, and that allowed us to grow across Canada and establish that strong retail presence.

We also launched our e-commerce. Given recent events, people have stayed home and are looking to shop online, so we did them in tandem. We recently scaled into a large nationwide distributor, which allows us access to the large retailers in the country, as well as the largest volume of brick-and-mortar businesses. That has brought us double-digit percentage growth each quarter and we expect to see that well into 2022 and beyond.

Being a young female founder, I knew it was important to be omnipresent throughout our marketing strategy. We engaged in multiple layers of strategy, from influencer marketing with both macro influencers, or people with over a million followers, and micro influencers with more intimate but loyal followings. And we drove traffic through social media advertisements.

We also leveraged tried and true methods such as traditional product tasting teams across the country, in-store print advertising, billboards, and physical guerilla marketing like vehicle wraps. We see both brick-and-mortar and online sales as important, with an obvious trend toward online shopping, which is why we are currently scaling to different online platforms using traditional and new technological methods such as obtaining a large Instagram and Facebook footprint, SEO, online PPC and geotagging. But our product is a convenient grab-and-go snack and will always excel in the grocery, pharmacy, convenience and retail channels which we will continue to expand throughout the leading national retailers.

It would be great to hear some of the feedback from retailers and consumers.

We’ve got a lot of positive feedback, which is amazing. One of our main sources is product tastings on social media and strong relationships with our retail partners. Everyone enjoys the delicious fruity flavours we offer and the soft and squishy texture that does not get stuck in your teeth. People also love the variety of low-sugar candy and that we are 100% vegan. Overall, people love to have healthy treats that they can enjoy and feel good about eating, and that’s what we’re all about at Yumy Candy.

This story was featured in the Canadian Securities Exchange magazine.

Learn more about The Yumy Candy Company at https://yumybear.com/.