Medallion Resources (TSX-V: MDL) CEO Mark Saxon on Study of Rare-Earth Element Separation Technologies to Pair with Medallion's Extraction Process
Gerardo Del Real: This is Gerardo Del Real with Resource Stock Digest. Joining me today is the President and CEO of Medallion Resources (TSX-V: MDL)(OTC: MLLOF), Mr. Mark Saxon. Mark, good morning to you.
Mark Saxon: Good afternoon, Gerardo. I hope you've had a very good week despite the very choppy markets, I suppose.
Gerardo Del Real: Choppy markets, interesting week. I was able to add to several positions, so I am a bit thankful that we had a bit of a pullback. I think pullbacks are healthy overall. It should be an interesting Q4.
You just had some news out of Medallion that I think highlights why I really enjoy these interviews. The release was pretty technical in nature, and I think the interviews really allow for us to contextualize the main points, the important points, and there were a lot in it. I know I had several people reach out to me asking, "Well, what does this mean? How does this fit into the plan? What are the next steps?"
With that, let me read the headline, and then I'll let you provide some context. The headline reads, "Medallion Launches Comparative Study of Rare-Earth Element Separation Technologies," which can mean a whole heck of a lot of things, right? You want to provide some context, Mark?
Mark Saxon: Absolutely, Gerardo. As you read it back, obviously it sounds like a bit of a mouthful, but I'm going to give you some context on that. The rare-earth markets this week really haven't seen the same kind of volatility as gold, and I guess they shouldn't. The rare-earth cycles are much longer-term cycles, so you've got to take a much more pragmatic and calm approach to what you do in rare earths compared to gold or silver. Really, we're seeing in rare earths the long-term industrial cycles linked to the development of EVs, to the development of wind energy. So we're not going to see any kind of panic I think in the market, we're just going to see a gradual buildup as demand builds. That's a good thing. It's a nice place to be for investors seeking that longer-term side.
Before I leap into explaining exactly what the press release was all about then, we need to think about the different parts of the rare-earth supply chain. That's really core to what we're trying to do here in Medallion. If you think about all the different stages, first of all is the raw material stage, the access to raw materials. For most companies that's a mining stage, where you go and dig a hole and extract a certain range of rare earth minerals.
For Medallion, we're taking a path which is use of byproducts. To secure the byproduct, which for us is a mineral called monazite, we now have a partnership with Talaxis. Talaxis is a big trading company that trades the mineral monazite. So we're ticking the box on that.
Once you have your minerals or your ore, then companies all apply a certain process to extract the metals from the minerals. That's called extraction. Sometimes that's called crack and leach. This is where Medallion has been perfecting this technology, working very hard on that part, on how to get the metals out of the minerals.
The next step, and it's very much talked about in the rare-earth sector at the very least, is separation. Separation is where you take a mixture of metals and convert them into individual metal streams that are then market ready. So taking a whole blend of rare earths and making them individual sellable products. That's the separation process, and that's really what we're talking about today.
We have been working with two companies on that separation process quite extensively. They're both US private companies, and we're very happy with their work, and we understand their technology and understand their pathways. However, it's a really tough field. As you said in the introduction, it's not easy to understand really what that's all about. We've kind of taken a breath and we've said, we'd like to look a little bit deeper into all the different technologies that are available before we go ahead and jump in and partner with one.
Our intention is to find a partnership, whether that's an offtake contract, profit sharing, who knows. Whether we invest in that company or whether we use the consortium we're part of to invest, I can't elaborate on that yet. But we want to use really the best technology and find which way to head in the separation part.
Gerardo Del Real: Excellent. Obviously, the network of contacts through the partnerships and the alliance is really going to prove itself out, right? For Medallion and for shareholders?
Mark Saxon: Yeah, it really is. My experience in rare earths is long, and that's given me a knowledge of at least 10, maybe 15 of these companies that are doing really interesting science and doing really good things. They don't all compete with each other. Some are in parallel. So it's hard to understand that, but we can draw on the network of Talaxis as well, and the work that they've been doing in rare earths for 5 to 10 years, and we can really sort of build up a great understanding of that.
We've chosen a European chemist who is a long-term expert in rare-earth technologies. He's our leader on this. When we think about where we're heading, we're looking at, not just the best technology, but we're also wanting to understand where they are in a business case, and how far they are from execution and very importantly, we're wanting to understand their sustainability as well, and the chemicals they require, the effluent they produce, the physical footprint they require because certainly our customers are extremely engaged with that now and really want to know about where their materials come from and the impact of producing the materials in the factory in let's say Munich or in Detroit. To use the rare earths into an EV, they really want to know about the history of those materials and to know that there's no child labor and there's no toxic soils and there's no effluents that are unmanaged. That's really what we can give by pairing an extraction process through Medallion's monazite process with a very good separation process. We're in great shape to do them.
Gerardo Del Real: Well, I think your timing is excellent. Mark, what can shareholders expect from Medallion here in Q4?
Mark Saxon: Yeah, we're in good shape financially. We've raised some money recently, so we're sitting very healthy in that regard. We are now finishing off some small scale test work, which is the last few sort of ticks of a box before we go into an engineering study. That engineering study is something that we've been waiting for a long time, but that really will be the thing that guides us in the future. That captures both economically and technically all of the process, all of the costs, all of the inputs, all of the outputs of the Medallion process. Then that will help to guide us in choosing a location where we're going to start with the operations.
Our process is fully mobile. We can put it into the best location within let's say US or Canada at the moment are the places we're considering most deeply. We can be really quite flexible on siting. We're doing a siting study to choose that location and access to people, access to land, access to chemicals, the waste management options. All those things are factoring into that decision.
Gerardo Del Real: Excellent, busy time for Medallion. You're cashed up. The share price has done remarkably well this year. I think the space is getting more exciting by the week. We just had battery day with Tesla. I know that's just a small portion of what's going on globally, but you have to be excited to be in this space, Mark.
Mark Saxon: Absolutely, from a technical point of view, and also from a social impact point of view, and a financial point of view. All those things are aligning now. We saw exactly from that Tesla today that Elon Musk is a bigger thinker than most people. He was sort of ridiculed a little to start with, but he's being proven right. His vision has been grand, and he's leading the way. That's great to see. To have a US company out there at the front of environmental management and stewardship, I think he's excellent in that.
Teslas are big consumers of rare-earth magnets. So every vehicle that is sold will have extra demand on the rare-earth supply chain. At the moment, that supply chain almost entirely comes through China, so that needs to be disconnected at some point. Medallion is working on that as are other companies. It's essential to reduce the impact of these materials. There can be no other way, but disconnecting from China.
Gerardo Del Real: Well said. Important news and another piece towards the rare-earth puzzle. Mark, thank you so much.
Mark Saxon: Thanks a lot, Gerardo. Have a good weekend, and we'll talk soon. Appreciate it.