Far Resources Provides Corporate Update: A Positive Message from the CEO
As the newly appointed President and CEO of Far Resources, I would like to share with you my thoughts on the current junior lithium market and the prospects for our company. My focus is on maximising returns over the full exploration cycle; however, we are being sorely tested as we attempt to steer through an increasingly distorted market, even while the fundamentals point to a very bright future.
Everyone is scared and prices are down — and for long-term investors, it’s a beautiful thing
read a National Post article in early February.
Here’s why I think that is correct and why Far is going to deliver.
After several of the best years seen for battery metals and related equities, driven mainly by the rising global demand for electric vehicles (“EVs”), the sector is facing its first real test. The bull market for battery metals and associated natural resource stocks spawned a plethora of new companies offering exposure to assets in every corner of the planet and in every battery commodity imaginable.
However, since the start of 2018, we have experienced a dramatic revaluation of shares of these companies, particularly in lithium. And this has had a significant negative impact on Far. But we are not alone: most of our peers in the lithium exploration space have also suffered.
This was influenced by two major factors. Firstly, the entire Canadian market — in particular energy and resource stocks — saw increased volatility leading to price dislocation and subsequent correction during Q1 2018. Canada’s resource-heavy S&P/TSX Composite Index trailed behind most other developed markets, falling by over 4% in the first three months of the year. Added to this we have rising interest rates and expanding government deficits in developed countries, both of which are stimuli used in times of recession.
Secondly, in February a report was disseminated by Morgan Stanley which — despite being refuted by economists, other banks and resource executives around the world — has been extremely damaging to junior lithium stocks. The report painted a very negative picture of supply and demand for lithium going forward, which hit lithium explorers hard, despite the boom in electric vehicles and grid storage solutions, and continued commitment of most nations to support a greener future.
As a result, the global appetite for junior lithium stocks like Far appears to have waned fast, putting negative pressure on share prices and management teams alike.
Then Far suffered a third significant setback in March with the untimely death of its founder, Keith Anderson. But Keith, a visionary in the early days of the lithium exploration rush, set up the company to succeed.
Despite these difficult times, Far has continued to implement a focused program of exploration and acquisition, regularly meeting milestones, delivering excellent results and continuing to execute our strategic vision.
This effort will, in short order, generate a maiden NI 43-101 resource on Dyke 1 at our Zoro Lithium Project in Manitoba; we will have completed the first comprehensive drilling, mapping and sampling program ever undertaken on the Hidden Lake Lithium Project in Northwest Territories; and, with additional programs planned for the summer of 2018, expand our knowledge and potential of both Zoro and Hidden Lake.
Either of these projects has the potential to transform the company. Success at both combined could bring significant shareholder returns.
At Zoro, our four drilling programs and extensive soil sampling have verified the historic high grade survey results and added significantly to the known mineralization. In addition, we expanded our land package on not one but two separate occasions and completed blind drill testing of a soil geochemical anomaly that led to the discovery of the widest intercept and the highest grade lithium yet to be found on the Project at Dyke 8.
Exploration has outlined eight lithium-bearing dykes in a relatively small area. We feel there is excellent potential for more discoveries on our extensive land holdings. At each phase of drilling we have accomplished our objectives: to confirm historical drilling at Dyke 1; to extend known mineralisation; to show continuity of mineralisation at Dyke 1 to depth; to test sub-surface mineralisation at Dykes 2 to 7; and to test the validity of our geochemical sample results by successfully drilling a lithium soil anomaly to make the first ever blind discovery on the property.
We anticipate that the upcoming maiden NI 43-101 compliant resource for Dyke 1, due shortly, will give Far an even stronger basis for marketing both the Company and the Project, and for attracting major investment.
The upcoming summer program at Zoro is slated to start in late June and will help guide the Phase 5 drilling program, which will commence later in the year. Current plans for the summer include a large expansion of the mobile metal ion (“MMI”) soil geochemical program, which was used very successfully to identify the blind Dyke 8, as well as other currently untested lithium and tantalum anomalies. The high grade intersections of up to 1.8 Li2O at Dyke 8 indicate that more discoveries of a grade and size to equal or surpass those at Dyke 1 are likely. The MMI results will be used in conjunction with the recently completed aeromagnetic survey results, flown by drone earlier this year.
Meanwhile, we announced earlier this week that we have retained SGS to complete metallurgical test work on Dyke 1 material. This work is key to further de-risking the project and attracting downstream investment.
In March 2018 we announced the option to acquire the Hidden Lake Lithium Project near Yellowknife in the NWT. We have recently initiated an inaugural drilling program at Hidden Lake to test multiple dykes with surface sampling results similar or better than those found at Zoro. This leads us to believe that there could be some exciting results to come from this project. Early metallurgical work completed for the Hidden Lake pegmatites has shown overall lithium extraction of 97%, indicating that industry standard lithium extraction techniques should be applicable at Hidden Lake.
We have accomplished all this work while closely monitoring our treasury to maximize value for expenditure. We started the year with our treasury at just over $3 million. Going forward, we will continue to focus our efforts on Manitoba and NWT. We continue to evaluate a growing list of opportunities as junior explorers confront liquidity issues as alternative sources of financing dry up. While the market conditions are difficult for all smaller companies, it is disastrous for the companies falling outside a financial safety net.
Our strong balance sheet makes it easier to sleep at night. As a company we are stronger every day in respect to our peer group when looking at our team and our projects. And further opportunities are being presented frequently to your management team. Potential deal flow will increase if the market continues to sell off. The company can afford to be very selective and will only consider transactions that would be significantly accretive to our valuation.
Far is an exploration company; we are well-funded and have a highly qualified team of professionals engaged in the search for resources that will increase the value of your shares. We are concerned with the current share price but we are also comfortable that the market will recover. Far's goal is to discover and develop lithium projects that can significantly add value to our company. We have set realistic targets for each of the projects under development and will make decisions to advance the properties based entirely on the results generated and the perceived risks and expense of going to the next phase.
The future is about energy, how we generate electricity and how we store and utilise electricity will be primary themes for the company going forward.
Lastly, I would like to point out that we have the opportunity to participate in the future growth of Sequoia with the previously announced spinout of the Company’s gold/silver assets in New Mexico, USA. Sequoia will be developing its Bonanza-grade assets in New Mexico, USA, prior to a spinout as announced previously. We continue to work on this process, and anticipate a dividend to shareholders to be clearly very attractive.
I want to thank you all for your continuing support and encouragement in difficult times. We have managed our company well; we have kept our powder dry and developed our programs at reasonable costs. We expect to have a steady flow of positive news to the market over the rest of the year and would hope to see our share price respond accordingly.
President and CEO
Far Resources Ltd.