Categories Energy, Interviews, LATEST

Foremost Lithium’s projects are strategically located to capitalize on growing EV appetite: CEO

In a conversation with AlphaStreet, Foremost Lithium's CEO Jason Barnard talks about the business and industry trends

Foremost Lithium Resource & Technology Ltd. (NASDAQ: FMST) (CSE: FAT) is a green energy technology company that aims to extract lithium oxide and subsequently play a key role in the production of battery-grade lithium hydroxide. The company’s focus is on fueling the ever-growing electric vehicle battery market.

In an exclusive interview with AlphaStreet, Foremost’s chief executive officer Jason Barnard provided insights into the company and its operations. Here’s the full interview:

Can you provide a brief overview of Foremost Lithium?

Foremost Lithium is a hard-rock exploration company strategically located to capitalize on the global “electrification revolution” and is committed to being a premier supplier of North America’s lithium feedstock.

As the world transitions towards decarbonization, we are focused on exploration and growth on our four strategically located core Lithium Lane Projects – over 43,000 acres in Snow Lake Manitoba – and a property in a known active lithium camp situated on over 11,400 acres in Quebec called Lac Simard South. All our projects are located at the tip of the NAFTA superhighway to capitalize on the world’s growing EV appetite, strongly positioning the company to become a premier supplier of North America’s lithium feedstock. We also have the Winston Gold/Silver Property in New Mexico.

As the world transitions towards decarbonization, our objective is the extraction of lithium oxide, and to subsequently play a role in the production of high-quality lithium hydroxide, to help power lithium-based batteries, critical in developing a clean-energy economy.

How significant is the Nasdaq uplisting, and what has changed since then?

We achieved a monumental milestone with our uplisting to the Nasdaq and the completion of a concurrent USD 4.0 million public offering – laying the foundation for long-term shareholder value creation on a globally recognized exchange. Being listed on the Nasdaq has increased corporate visibility, improved liquidity, and raised awareness of the company in the financial markets. It has also enabled us to present at a variety of investor conferences and host roadshows to introduce institutional investors and analysts to Foremost Lithium.

Since the IPO we have been rapidly moving forward with project timelines. In February we commenced drilling on our Zoro Lithium Property. Our maiden resource at our Dyke 1 remains our highest-priority target with the potential for significant resource expansion beyond its current estimates. Given the fact that we have received a multi-year permit, we have time on our side to build tonnage and resources. Our Zoro Property has 16 proven spodumene-bearing lithium pegmatite dykes. This is an ideal opportunity to get those drills turning and hit some great intersections to create new catalysts for our Company and shareholders, regardless of current market conditions. Most recently we submitted a $10 million application for the Government of Canada’s Critical Mineral Infrastructure Fund, a $1.5 billion fund supporting clean energy and transportation infrastructure projects necessary to enable the sustainable development and expansion of critical minerals in Canada. This will allow our company to move forward with our DSO (Direct Ship Ore) Strategy and fast-track a revenue stream for our company within the next 18 to 24 months.  

Who do you believe are your biggest competitors, and how does Foremost Lithium differ from them?

There are over 30 junior mining lithium companies with spodumene deposits in the Tier 1 mining jurisdictions of the U.S. and Canada. However, many of these companies are in the very early stages of exploration and have not yet started drilling programs. Our four distinct lithium projects each have great potential, each with future independently planned drilling and exploration programs, and we recently commenced drilling on our Zoro Lithium Property located in the Snow Lake region of Manitoba. Our property is ideally situated within known lithium-enriched trend lines and is located at the tip of the NAFTA “superhighway” with easy access to North American battery and EV manufacturing sites. Comparable hard-rock lithium exploration companies include Brunswick Exploration (TSXV: BRW), Atlas Lithium (NASDAQ: ATLX), Rock Tech Lithium (TSXV: RCK) and Patriot Battery Metals (OTCQX: PMETF).

What do you think are the main opportunities and challenges for the industry in the next 5 years?

As the global energy transition gains unprecedented scale and speed, lithium has become the defining element of our sustainable energy future. The mining sector market may transform away from iron ore and coal dominance as global decarbonization efforts drive unprecedented demand for electric vehicles (EVs) and the critical lithium and other minerals needed for the batteries that fuel them. The 88 million tonnes of lithium buried in reserves around the globe are key to enabling energy transition, particularly net-zero vehicle emissions. Vehicle electrification will require billions of lithium-ion batteries, which have become the standard used in EV battery pack designs today and will remain so for the foreseeable.

Challenges include that the lithium market is still relatively small, at around only one-and-a-half-million tons annually and is very young in comparison to iron ore at 3 billion tons or copper at 25 million tons. It is not traded actively in any great quantity on the commodity exchanges, which makes it challenging to assess inventories and thus prices accurately. Most sales of the commodity rely on term contracts which may not reflect current market demand/supply dynamics. Once the lithium market matures, it should stabilize, and then better pricing mechanisms can be placed.

Please give insights into your long-term vision and growth plans

Planned drill programs for 2024 include carefully selected targets to drill off further reserves and drill test new targets within geologically enriched trendlines on both the Zoro and Jean Lake Properties.

Drilling is currently underway at Zoro to seek to expand the existing resource on Dyke 1, which hosts an inferred resource from single high-grade lithium-bearing spodumene pegmatite of 1,074,567 tons at a grade of 0.91% Li2O, with a cut-off of 0.3% in accordance with the company’s SK-1300 Technical Report Summary (2023) and NI-43101 Technical Report (2018), as well as further investigate the spodumene-bearing pegmatites on Dyke 8 and Dyke 16.

Looking ahead, with a successful $10 million application under the Federal Critical Mineral Infrastructure Fund, we will build an enhanced transportation corridor enabling our company to build a 9.5KM road from our Jean Lake and Zoro Property to connect it to an existing roadway, as well as to make much-needed improvements to enhance current access routes. With the infrastructure in place, Foremost can move forward with its DSO (Direct Ship Ore) strategy.  The DSO strategy is where bulk ore is blasted from the ground and shipped directly to a mine, then transformed into concentrate prior to shipping, providing an opportunity to potentially fast-track a revenue stream pre-mine. The Company has started the preliminary planning, permitting, and engagement processes necessary to move toward its next phase – shovel-ready. With potential future government funding for the proposed project, Foremost anticipates it will then be able to start building the necessary infrastructure to facilitate extraction. 

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