"In 2023 we rebranded to Champion Electric to reflect our expansion into Québec and our focus on battery metals."
What was the impetus behind the company’s rebranding to Champion Electric Metals?
Champion Electric Metals is an exploration company focused on battery metals. We own four cobalt properties in Idaho, one of which includes the past producing Twin Peaks mine, and a lithium exploration project in Québec. Our company was established in 2016 under the name “Idaho Champion”, since initially we focused solely on Idaho-centric assets. However, in 2023 we rebranded to Champion Electric to reflect our expansion into Québec and our focus on battery metals. Both projects hold significant importance to our company and cobalt and lithium present an immense window of opportunity for our shareholders.
Could you elaborate on the company’s lithium project in Québec?
Since September 2022, we completed nine acquisitions, resulting in our control over an expansive area of 530 km2 in the James Bay region. Our property lies directly north and adjacent to Patriot Battery Metals’ Corvette project, and on our western flank we share the Greenstone Belt with Winsome Resources and its Cancet project. What sets our project apart is the advantage of existing infrastructure, such as the Trans-Taiga road, accessible throughout the year, enhancing our operational capabilities. Furthermore, we benefit from two power lines connected to the Hydro-Québec dam, supplying us with low-cost and environmentally friendly hydropower at C$3.60/kWh, making it one of the most economical and ESG-compliant power sources worldwide. We are diligently progressing with our field program, sampling and mapping exposed pegmatites, a crucial step ahead of our planned drilling in the fall of 2023 and winter of 2024.
What work have you been doing in your Idaho cobalt project?
The Twin Peaks project is a past producing mine during the 20s and 30s. Over the last 12 months, we have conducted two successful field programs, and a third is currently underway, involving sampling and mapping, with plans for drilling in the fall of 2023.
Adjacent to our Twin Peaks property lies Electra Battery Metals’ Iron Creek project. The geologic structure at Twin Peaks is perceived as an extension of the Iron Creek project. As a result, we hold high expectations for our upcoming drill program, anticipating similar levels of success that Iron Creek achieved. In addition to Twin Peaks, we own other properties, including Victory, Fairway, and Ulysses. Three of our properties are adjacent to Jervois Mining’s ICO project ready to go into production.
What makes Idaho an appealing jurisdiction for exploration?
While cobalt is typically found as a complementary metal accompanying nickel or copper, Idaho stands as one of the three locations globally, along with Finland and Morocco, where cobalt is the primary metal, making it a highly exceptional region regarding cobalt resources. However, copper and gold are among the metals coexisting, contributing to the economic viability of the projects. This combination creates a treasure trove of opportunities within the Idaho Cobalt Belt, making it a remarkable jurisdiction.
On the other hand, Idaho is an attractive destination for mining due to its well-established mining code, a strong foundation of the rule of law, and a supportive environment for the mining industry. Moreover, the state has not witnessed the same level of historical investment as neighboring states like Nevada. Consequently, there remains a regional opportunity for mining ventures, with vast geologic potential waiting to be tapped within the state.
Do you think that investors often misunderstand the role of cobalt?
Cobalt’s primary function in batteries is to stabilize nickel, which is inherently volatile, and the high demand for batteries still requires a significant volume of cobalt, albeit in smaller quantities per unit. Despite its importance, cobalt is often misunderstood by investors.
One of the significant challenges lies in the location of cobalt production, mainly in jurisdictions like Russia and Congo, which may not be as friendly to Western interests. Therefore, establishing a domestic cobalt supply becomes critical as we advance the electrification of the world. The geopolitical aspect is also a concern, as state control over cobalt supplies could become political. In times of disagreement between nations, there is a risk of supply disruptions affecting the industry and critical areas like defense, where cobalt is used in alloys and defense programs.