This week, the Stock Day Podcast welcomed Avalon Advanced Materials Inc. (AVLNF) (AVL.TO), a Canadian mineral development company specializing in niche market metals and minerals with growing demand in new technology. President and CEO, Don Bubar, joined Stock Day host Everett Jolly to discuss Avalon’s approach to creating a sustainable North American supply chain of the materials critical to national defense, clean technology, and all modern electronics.
Bubar notes for the last fifteen years, Avalon has focused on non-traditional commodities such as the rare earth elements and lithium, which are experiencing growing demand in a variety of industries. “Rare earth elements are the group at the bottom of the periodic table that is sometimes referred to as the lanthanides.” He adds, “These tend to occur together in nature and are widely dispersed, not often concentrated in any one spot. This makes them hard to extract economically, and also challenging to separate.”
When Jolly asked about the supply and demand of these elements, Bubar explains that the demand is extensive, with more than 80% of the supply coming from China.
Avalon has been developing its Nechalacho Rare Earth Elements property in the Northwest Territories, Canada, for over ten years. In June 2019, the company completed a deal with an Australian-based private company in which Avalon maintains ownership of the heavy rare earth-rich Basal Zone, while Cheetah Resources will develop neodymium-praseodymium and dysprosium resources in the T-Zone and Tardiff Zones of the property.
Avalon is also currently looking at other rare earth element resource opportunities across North America.
Jolly followed by inquiring about Avalon’s lithium project in northwestern Ontario. The Separation Rapids Lithium Project contains the lithium mineral petalite. While the use of lithium chemicals in batteries is well-publicized by the media, lithium minerals are also a critical ingredient for high-strength glass and ceramic products. “There’s now a shortage in supply of lithium for those markets,” explains Bubar. “So, there’s a real opportunity now for us now to develop an operation to serve the glass-ceramics market.”