Leading Edge Materials (TSX-V: LEM) CEO Filip Kozlowski on Sale of Bergby Lithium Project & Focus on Norra Karr and Woxna
Gerardo Del Real: This is Gerardo Del Real with Resource Stock Digest. Joining me today is the CEO of Leading Edge Materials, Mr. Filip Kozlowski. Filip, how are you today?
Filip Kozlowski: Hi, Gerardo, good afternoon. Doing very well, thanks.
Gerardo Del Real: It's been a few weeks since we chatted. I think November the 20th was the last time you and I spoke, and your stock has nearly doubled in share price since then. With that being said, I still feel there's a pretty compelling opportunity, given the assets. You had some news yesterday that I wanted to chat about. You signed a non-binding LOI to sell 100% of the Bergby Lithium Project. Bergby is of course, a project in the portfolio that Leading Edge had done some early stage work on and had drilled successfully, and apparently it caught the interest of several potential suitors.
Filip Kozlowski: Yeah. It's well summarized, and I think important to stress that it's a non-binding LOI and it's subject to due diligence and the definite agreement. But Bergby's always been one of these projects that we have in our portfolio. It's interesting. We haven't been able to focus and spend the effort and the money on that. Considering our two main projects, the Woxna Graphite and the Norra Karr rare earth project, but we've been sitting on that and extending our exploration licenses. We have done a lot of sampling. We had a good drilling program, which identified high-grade lithium mineralizations, and we've been recently starting to look at what can we do more to explore that project, to extend the discovery.
At that point, there was a reach out to us from Michael, the CEO of United Lithium Corporation. He'd identified the lithium, the Bergby Lithium Project as one of the most interesting ones to do exploration in Europe, and we started talking, and based on them being a dedicated lithium explorer, having experience from Ontario, which Michael saw similarities between the type of lithium deposit you find there and the Bergby one.
Being willing to commit to exploration work and an exploration budget as part of the deal, I think that was a good match, which for us gives us the opportunity to completely focus in Sweden on our two main projects, receive some cash, more than we spent on the project, and on top of that, shares in United Lithium Corporation, combined with the committed exploration budgets and a net smelter royalty that gave us an opportunity to hand that project over to good hands, get some return on the investment and potentially a good upside in the project as they explore the project further.
So that made a lot of strategic sense to us, and I'm very pleased to look after that going forward and finalizing that too.
Gerardo Del Real: You mentioned that it is a non-binding LOI, but assuming that the transaction closes, you also mentioned that the sale will allow the company to focus on Woxna and Norra Karr. There's pending studies, I believe, on each of those projects, and I know that there is a lot of interest right now in quality graphite, quality rare earth projects, frankly, quality lithium projects. Walk me through and provide some context, Filip, where Sweden is on its understanding of the critical metal supply chain and the raw materials opportunity that Leading Edge Materials can help advance, because it's a significant opportunity for shareholders of Leading Edge, but it's also a significant opportunity for Sweden if it does this correctly, right?
Filip Kozlowski: Yeah. I think that that's framed in a very new initiative that came out of the Swedish governmental agency called Fossil Free Sweden. They had an announcement last week essentially presenting a strategy to the government for how Sweden can build out the sustainable battery value chain within its borders. And part of that strategy was recommending the government to incentivize extraction of these innovation critical materials, as they call it in Sweden. So it's definitely an increasing awareness of the need and the urgency to solve sustainable sourcing of the raw materials for everything that is going on in Europe. And Sweden is becoming more relevant in that context, and us with our two projects, we're very much high on that list.
So seeing more interest regionally in Europe and definitely on a national level as well, where we've seen a huge interest in our shares lately in Sweden, because we have a dual listing, remember, Toronto Venture and NASDAQ stock on First North. So yeah, we've been trading more volume in Sweden over the last two weeks than we've done in North America.
So that's coming from a very low level, but we see that we're expanding our shareholder base in Sweden, which is a very good thing because it's always good to have Swedish investors invested in Swedish projects, and those investors will become advocates of our projects, both on the local and national level, so that's very positive for us.
Gerardo Del Real: Aligning interest is important as you advance the projects. How are the studies coming along?
Filip Kozlowski: Good. I mean, we're coming up to Christmas, and I think last time we spoke, we're still targeting January, February for both of those studies. So yeah, not much more new. Very much into that. We're coming towards the end of that, but to get them finalized, it will take some time. But still end of January, beginning of February, that's the target.
Gerardo Del Real: Excellent. Filip, great catching up as always. Anything else that you'd like to add?
Filip Kozlowski: No, it's good. It took a long time before our last call, and we're now more frequent, so let's hope that's for the next time as well.
Gerardo Del Real: Absolutely. Thank you for coming on. I appreciate it.
Filip Kozlowski: Thanks, Gerardo. You take care.
Gerardo Del Real: You as well. Bye now.
Filip Kozlowski: Bye-bye.