Winsome makes waves in North AmericaOctober 21, 2021
Q & A with Chris EvansNovember 22, 2021
In the latest edition of Australia’s Paydirt magazine, Winsome’s Managing Director Chris Evans shares insights into his recent trip to our project sites in Quebec.
As the newly appointed managing director of upcoming float Winsome Resources Ltd, Chris Evans was already excited about getting on the ground to check out the lithium projects his company would soon be taking to market.
A seasoned lithium campaigner recognised for his previous work with Altura Mining Ltd and Mali Lithium (now Firefinch Ltd), Evans had seen pictures of the “impressive” pegmatite crystals sticking out of the ground at his new company’s Cancet project in Quebec, Canada.
However, upon walking the ground for the first time in September, Evans was taken aback by the actual size of the opportunity standing in front of him.
“The crystals are huge, the biggest I’ve ever seen,” Evans told Paydirt after a two week stint in quarantine upon returning to Perth.
“I’ve been on half a dozen hard rock mines around the world and what I saw was just so impressive. I was already excited before I went over there, but just spending time on the ground, seeing these crystals and where the drilling has occurred, it’s obvious there’s huge potential.”
Winsome lodged its prospectus last month and is now seeking to raise $12-18 million for an IPO which Evans was expecting to be oversubscribed given the current heat in the lithium market. All going to plan, the company is set to debut on the ASX later this month.
Dedicated battery materials royalties and streaming company Lithium Royalty Corp will subscribe $3 million to the float, while a subsidiary of Zhenshi Holding Group Co Ltd – second largest shareholder of $15 billion fibreglass manufacturer China Jushi Co – is investing $2.7 million.
Winsome is a spin-out of ASX-listed MetalsTech Ltd which also floated on the same projects – Cancet, Adina and Sirmac-Clapier – back in early 2017. However, with the lithium market subsequently tailing off, the parent company diversified into Slovakian gold and parked the Canadian assets, until now.
With lithium prices picking up through the first half of this year, MetalsTech jumped at the chance to revive the projects via an IPO. Evans, who had worked with MetalsTech director and revered lithium wheeler-and-dealer Qingtao Zeng during his Altura days, was then brought into the fold to run the process.
“We pegged the value of the assets at $9 million about six months ago…now it seems if we were valuing them today, we should be putting it much higher than $9 million given the heat in the market,” Evans said.
“We think [the IPO] will be on the maximum side, given the unprecedented demand we’re seeing.”
Cancet is the most advanced of the three projects, all of which are located within the James Bay region of Quebec. It has seen some 5,500m of diamond drilling, with grades of up to 3.7% lithium oxide returned from surface, although
most of the coverage has been limited to where the outcropping pegmatite occurs.
Once the IPO money is in the bank, extensional drilling followed by some infill work is first on the agenda for
Cancet, with the Winsome team keen to establish a maiden resource within 12-18 months. An exploration target of 15-25mt @ 1-2% lithium oxide has previously been declared for the project.
“If you look at where the drilling has been done, with a bit more infill drilling there’s probably a few million tonnes in terms of a resource,” Evans said.
At Cancet, we have 39 claims in total, all contiguous with one another, and we’ve drilled only three or four at the moment, so there’s a huge area to find the rest of the pegmatite.”
MetalsTech previously completed metallurgical testing on Cancet which suggested the spodumene crystals were amenable to heavy liquid separation which is typically a very good indicator for a low capex DMS. A 6% spodumene concentrate was also produced from this work with relative ease.
About 1,700m of diamond drilling has been completed over Adina, mostly on visible outcrops and intersecting grades in the realm of 2.6% lithium oxide. Evans said further survey work was required to identify new targets before the proposed next round of drilling.
Sirmac-Clapier is the least advanced opportunity in the portfolio but has the luxury of sitting adjacent to an established resource held by Nemaska Lithium Inc.
For Evans, early-stage exploration in Canada marks a significant change from his previous roles which saw him oversee the build of a new mine in Western Australia before taking another project in Mali to the brink of a DFS.
And while his first goal is listing Winsome on the Australian bourse, Evans did not rule out the possibility of the company joining the Canadian exchange at some point in the future.
“Given the way that the ASX and Australian investors value lithium stocks at the moment, it makes sense for us to list on the ASX, but I think it’s a target for when our next lick of money is needed, say within 24 months, to list on the TSX,” he said.
“It would make sense, particularly with Canadian investors becoming more enthusiastic…for lithium and battery materials. So, if that comes about, a listing on the TSX in two years will make complete sense to us.”
Credit to Paydirt Magazine