Defense Metals (TSX-V: DEFN)(OTC: DFMTF) CEO Craig Taylor on Bringing In Welsbach Holdings to Advance the Wicheeda Rare Earth Elements Project in British Columbia, Canada
Gerardo Del Real: This is Gerardo Del Real with Resource Stock Digest. Joining me today is the CEO of Defense Metals — Mr. Craig Taylor. Craig, how are you today?
Craig Taylor: Good, Gerardo. How are you?
Gerardo Del Real: I am well. It's great to have you back on. It has been a very, very busy start to the new year for Defense. I would love for you to bring everybody up to speed on the multiple initiatives that you've launched here recently.
And I have to note, of course, that the stock here is at a 52-week high. You're flirting with C$0.60 as we speak; up almost 30% today on very, very good volume… getting the attention of people out there, Craig.
Craig Taylor: Yeah, definitely. The news today was really well received as it should be. This Welsbach team, they're an international group of rare earth experts that will help us finance; they'll help us get MOUs for offtake agreements, and they have a global reach.
They have correspondents in Spain, in England, in Hong Kong, Singapore, Korea, Australia — and there may be more. So they've got really deep roots in the business. And they've identified us as a company that's done their work; come with the results. We've got upside. We've got a PEA upcoming, a new drill program upcoming… flotation pilot plant to look forward to that'll take us into pre-feasibility in the fall I'm hoping.
So we've come and done two years worth of work; some small releases of late with our LIDAR flyover to identify new targets. We’ve joined government teams to lobby for government funding in rare earth. And we did receive a little bit of government funding;
I'm hoping there's more to come.
So I think we're doing the right things and I think we're in the right space. And Welsbach is going to be a huge benefit for us going forward.
Gerardo Del Real: And let's be clear: The goal here bringing that group in is to secure, potentially, a strategic partner, right, to kind of help facilitate the commercial negotiations that you plan for.
Craig Taylor: Yeah, and they know everyone in the space as far as processing and smeltering and end users in the rare earth space. Now, [Carl Auer von] Welsbach was actually the scientist out of Austria that invented the science of separating neodymium and praseodymium. So if you look them up on Wikipedia, they specialize in neodymium and praseodymium — and that is our deposit.
Gerardo Del Real: Excellent. And for those not familiar with the deposit, because again, there is a lot of new eyes on not just Defense but on the sector as a whole — can you provide a brief overview of the project and why it's so important?
Craig Taylor: Yeah, I think one of our main benefits is our infrastructure is very close on the site. A lot of these rare earth companies, they're in the middle of nowhere. And once you get into the CapEx — it's going to be billions and billions of dollars to have access to the site.
So combined with the 17 million tonnes that we have at a 3% LREO [Light Rare Earth Elements] grade, we're accessible by road; there's water close by, electrical close by. So as we work into the PEA and then eventually pre-feas, that's really going to help us stand out from the rest of the companies in the field.
Gerardo Del Real: Fantastic! Craig, a lot to look forward to. Exciting times! Anything else you'd like to add?
Craig Taylor: No. Stay tuned; lots to come! We've been working hard. I'm really proud of our team and we've got lots more to share with you.
Gerardo Del Real: Fantastic! Good work. Thanks again.
Craig Taylor: Okay, take care. Bye-bye.