Categories Industrials, Interviews

Wealth Minerals is a deep-value company with excellent assets: CEO Henk van Alphen

Wealth Minerals Ltd. is a mineral resource company focused on the acquisition and development of lithium projects in South America. It has interests in Chile, Canada, Mexico, and Peru. The company’s exploration and evaluation assets include the popular Valsequillo Silver Project.

In an email conversation with AlphaStreet, Wealth Minerals’ CEO Henk van Alphen discussed the various aspects of the business and new trends in the industry. Alphen has founded and operated several service-related companies early in his career. Here is the full interview:

Can you speak about Wealth Minerals’ mission and vision? 

Wealth’s vision is to unlock the significant potential value of its lithium assets in Chile using the skill set of its management team for the benefit of the Company’s shareholders. Our license position in Atacama has true world-class potential given its geological characteristics and neighboring operations. Additionally, Wealth’s Kuska project is a peer to other projects with valuations several multiples higher than where the Company currently trades. We view Wealth as a deep-value company with excellent assets and a management team with the know-how to move everything forward toward development.

Can you share your views on current trends in the lithium industry today and your outlook for the next few years?

The lithium industry garners a lot of media coverage as it is a general proxy for the shift towards electrification globally. However, the lithium business space is quite small in dollar terms. As such, it exhibits a lot of volatility. In 2022 there was massive exuberance followed the next year by a massive correction. Only now is the industry coming out of these swings and recovering to stability. However, the larger trend is still intact whereby the projected consumption of lithium far exceeds projected production. Persistent supply issues will ensure that lithium demand and pricing remain robust and growing well into the future. 

What do you think are the main near-term challenges and opportunities for Wealth Minerals? 

One of the issues facing any natural resource company is that amazing resource assets almost inevitably become politicized. Our Atacama asset has tier-one characteristics, i.e. the potential to singlehandedly change global supply-demand dynamics. Because of that, Wealth has taken particular care to be a good corporate citizen and maintain a strong “stakeholder” culture so that national and local governments are part of the development process, along with local indigenous people and other groups. This does make for a slow process, but it also ensures long-term value. Our conversations with future partners and collaborators have convinced us that our approach is best. However, being patient is certainly a challenge.

Also Read: An Interview with Femasys CEO Kathy Lee-Sepsick

Can you elaborate on the Company’s growth and development strategy? Do you have plans to evaluate projects in other markets outside of Chile? 

Wealth is focused on its lithium assets in Chile. And while we do have a battery metal project in BC, Canada that is early stage and does fit the general theme of Wealth’s exposure to the battery metal industry, management remains focused on Chile. The Company’s growth will come not from “extensive” M&A, but from “intensive” development of the existing asset base. 

How is Wealth Minerals seeking to embrace innovation in lithium mining to improve efficiency and lower environmental impact? 

Wealth Minerals is very proud to have been a first mover in embracing the environmentally friendly Direct Lithium Extraction (or “DLE”) technology. It was clear to us from the beginning that the environmental cost of solar evaporation for lithium recovery was very high. Additionally, the whole concept of solar evaporation is at odds with consumers of lithium trying to lower the industry’s environmental impact. Wealth has had past deals with both solvent extraction and sorption technology partners, and now with the enormous progress made with DLE technology, the Company is poised to adopt the best-in-industry sorption technology during its development of the Kuska project.

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