Written By: James McClelland
The future of clean energy is upon us. According to UxC, an internationally renowned nuclear industry consultancy firm, we can expect a more than a ten-fold increase in uncovered uranium demand by 2020 to power this new era of EVs, micro-reactors and smart grids. Alex Klenman, Azincourt Energy CEO, added, “And it’s not just uranium, as battery manufacturers and auto manufacturers work to secure lithium and cobalt supply chains, they will have to look further upstream than ever before and that will provide energy mineral suppliers ample opportunity to capitalize on the situation.”
With the global electricity demand anticipated to grow 76% and lithium demand estimated to more than triple by 2030, Azincourt Energy (TSX: V.AAZ, AZURF, Forum) has positioned itself to take full advantage of this remarkable trend by developing a diverse portfolio of lithium and uranium projects in Manitoba and Saskatchewan. We spoke with Mr. Klenman to get the full story on the company and its assets.
TSX Media: Would you please briefly describe Azincourt Energy and its portfolio?
Alex Klenman: Azincourt is an early-stage clean energy company. We started as a uranium company and have expanded our focus to add complimentary projects in the clean fuel space. We believe that both alternative energy and fuel technologies are exciting spaces and we are eager to part of this critical movement.
For lithium we have a great land package in Manitoba’s Winnipeg River Pegmatite Field, which is rapidly gaining recognition as a lithium-rich district. On this project we have partnered with New Age Metals. Their geologist, Carey Galeschuk, is the resident expert, having spent two decades working in the area. His knowledge of the geology and systems is second to none. We are very happy to have him on board working as the lead for the project.
Our uranium interests are currently in the Athabasca Basin, in Saskatchewan, which is widely regarded as the world’s best locations for high-grade uranium. We have established JVs with great companies including Skyharbour Resources (TSXV:SYH) and Clean Commodities Corp. (TSXV:CLE) on the East Preston project, and with Fission 3.0 (TSXV:FUU) on the Patterson Lake North project. East Preston is highly prospective, and every bit of work done to date has advanced the project in a positive way. We’re on to something there and excited to advance development.
TM: Azincourt just signed a property agreement with New Age Metals (TSXV:PFN) for five lithium properties in Manitoba. How will this add to shareholder value?
AK: Our project includes five properties covering 6,000 hectares, featuring abundant pegmatites. This is lithium-rich ground, and we have a solid foothold in the region, with the very real potential to add more ground in the near term.
We are working with excellent historical data, including a historical resource estimate of 545,000 tonnes* grading 1.4 percent lithium oxide at the Lithium 2 project. Lithium 2’s Eagle Pegmatite is 1,100 meters long, 12 meters wide and open to depth with samples done in 2016 of up to 4.33 percent lithium oxide. Meanwhile, historical samples at the Lithium 1 project, which features the Silverleaf Pegmatite zone, run as high as 8.20 percent lithium oxide. This project is adjacent to Quantum Minerals (TSXV:QMC) Cat Lake project.
We feel that these targets provide a very compelling lithium story, and we are spending a minimum of $500,000 over the next six months to develop them. We have planned a comprehensive mapping and sampling program, to be followed by approximately 3,000 meters of drilling this summer. We have flexibility and can increase our workload whenever and wherever we want.
Read February 1, 2018 news release – Outline of Upcoming Manitoba Lithium Work Programs http://azincourtenergy.com/azincourt-energy-outlines-upcoming-manitoba-lithium-work-programs/
TM: Manitoba’s history with energy minerals, despite its depth, isn’t widely known. What’s it like to be an explorer there?
AK: Manitoba is becoming a hotspot for lithium and has attracted companies like Quantum Minerals, Mustang Minerals (TSXV:MUM) and Far Resources (CSE:FAT), to name a few. The Tanco Mine has been in operation since the 1960s, producing cesium, spodumene (a major lithium-bearing material) and tantalum. Two of our properties border Tanco land and represent excellent exploration opportunities. From what we know, the ground is a uniquely rich mineralized environment and we have only just scratched the surface at this point.
TM: So, how will Azincourt occupy itself in the next 12 months and how will that advance the company’s long-term mandate?
AK: We are developing a portfolio of clean energy and clean fuel projects. This includes uranium, lithium and potentially cobalt, alongside other relevant materials associated with the space. At any given time, we will be active on multiple projects and may even bank a couple of properties for future work initiatives.
We appreciate a diversified approach, as long as it is within the same space. We feel that this provides investors with multiple paths for market growth, while also providing some leverage against specific sector fluctuations. We have our eggs in more than one basket, so to speak, and in an overall sector that is projected for exponential growth in the near and long term. We think our timing is excellent.
TM: Portfolios are important, but it’s strong leadership that breeds success. Who are some of the key players at Azincourt pushing the company forward?
AK: Ian Stalker is the chairman of Azincourt, and he has a remarkable resume in this business. He has put numerous mines into production and has been involved with some mega deals. In 2007 he was CEO of UraMin, a uranium company that was acquired by Areva for $2.5 billion. He is currently CEO of LSC Lithium (TSXV:LSC) and Chairman of Plateau Uranium (TSXV:PLU), with both companies sporting healthy market caps. Ian is experienced and knowledgeable and has ‘been there, done that’ a few times over. His guidance as the company grows is invaluable.
*Azincourt was recently in the news when they signed an LOI agreement to acquire the Macusani-Cuzco Lithium-Uranium Project in Peru