There are a lot of different ways for a company to make money in the junior mining space, for Peter Clausi, CEO of CBLT, it all comes down to acquiring prospective assets at good prices. So it was no surprise that CBLT announced February 8, 2021 that it was buying ground at Shatford Lake, located in the Winnipeg River-Cat Lake pegmatite field in eastern Manitoba near the Ontario border.
The headline mineral at Shatford Lake is hard rock lithium. However, in many ways the story focuses on a producing mine five kilometers away. The Tanco mine was discovered, more or less by accident, back in the 1920s. Apparently people were drilling in hopes of finding tin when they discovered “The richly mineralized Tanco deposit. Tanco produced irregularly with continuous production starting in 1969. Tanco is an LCT-type pegmatite, producing cesium and tantalum. Lithium, beryllium and rubidium have previously been produced.” The fact was that there was no “outcrop” for the Tanco deposit so it was discovered blind.
Clausi is hoping that Shatford Lake will host a similar pegmatite deposit. However, unlike Tanco, there is outcropping at Shatford Lake.
“We’ll start by ground truthing the property,” said Clausi. “Our Director Jessica Daniel is a lithium expert and she’ll be leading the geological effort. We’re hoping to have boots on the ground in June or July. There is a lot of outcrop to examine.”
Clausi hopes that there will be high grade lithium on the property but finding it will be a matter of mapping and rock hammers. “Arial surveys are not much help with a pegmatite deposit,” said Clausi. “Samples should be taken and analysed for lithium, in addition to other elements of interest such as cesium, tantalum, and rubidium.”
In the Shatford Lake press release, Clausi describes the property as “an overlooked gem” and the question CBLT hopes to answer this summer is whether that gem is similar to the prolific Tanco deposit. If it is then CBLT will have managed to acquire a valuable asset for all of $25,000. And, as Clausi is happy to point out, the combination of his legal background and CFO Brian Crawford’s accounting expertise, the transaction cost for the acquisition was exactly zero.
The strategy of acquiring, exploring, drilling and developing mining assets has been CBLT’s strength for a number of years. “In 2018 we bought four gold assets for one million dollars. Gold was out of favour,” said Clausi. “We recently sold one of those assets, Northshore, to a company which is now trading as Ready Set Gold. We have 1.8 million shares.” RDY.C has been trading between $0.35 and $0.45 which suggests that CBLT is already in the money on its 2018 asset purchase with three assets left to develop.
In fact, as Clausi points out, CBLT has eleven mining assets on its books. “We’re always looking for assets,” said Clausi. “M&A is a part of the company.”
For 2021 Clausi sees continuing M&A activity as well as exploration and development of the CBLT assets. “We’re entertaining offers,” said Clausi. “We could be sellers.”
“We have the capital to explore,” said Clausi. In a press release announcing a flow through financing the company stated, “Other assets in CBLT’s broad portfolio will also be advanced, with at least one drill program contemplated for the summer/fall of 2021. The board is still to decide whether that program will be at Big Duck Lake (gold in Hemlo) or Chilton Cobalt (cobalt, nickel, copper, chromium, in Quebec).”
Clausi sees the “green” minerals, lithium, cobalt, copper as ready for growth. “You see cobalt up 50% so far in 2021. There are supply chain issues. With silver we are seeing a physical shortage.”
While CBLT’s focus is on mining assets, Clausi has Board and shareholder approval to look into other business areas. While Clausi would not comment on what those other areas might be he is certainly on the look out for opportunities. “We’re open to participating in other sectors,” said Clausi. “The only real limit is management bandwidth and we have very high bandwidth.”
They will need it. “When the Shatford Lake press release hit the wires the phones rang off the hook,” said Clausi. The market is beginning to realize the truth of Clausi’s belief that you can make as much money with the pen as with the drill.