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Interview with Tim Fernback, CEO of LiCo Energy Metals

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Dr. Allen Alper of Metals News
0 Comments|September 26, 2017

We learned from Tim Fernback, President and CEO of LiCo Energy Metals Inc. (TSX-V: LIC, OTCQB: WCTXF) that they are a lithium and cobalt exploration company, with properties and operations in Chile, Ontario, Canada, and Nevada. The company's properties are all situated in strategic locations, with proven resources. The plan is to improve those properties by way of exploration, and then eventually partner with a larger company to take up the extraction of the metal. We learned from Mr. Fernback that LiCo Energy recently purchased a cobalt property in Ontario from Glencore that includes an off-take agreement at prevailing market prices. According to Mr. Fernback, LiCo Energy has the potential for explosive growth in terms of the enterprise value of the company, as they prove out their properties.


Dr. Allen Alper: This is Dr. Allen Alper, Editor-in-Chief of Metals News, interviewing Tim Fernback, President and CEO of LiCo Energy. Could you give our readers/investors an overview of your company, Tim?

Mr. Tim Fernback: Certainly. LiCo Energy Metals is a publicly traded company from Vancouver, Canada. We are traded on the TSX Venture Exchange under the symbol LIC, on the OTCQB Market under the symbol WCTXF, and on the Frankfurt Exchange under the trading symbol 43W1. We are a lithium and cobalt exploration company that has properties and operations in Chile, Ontario, Canada, and Nevada.

Dr. Allen Alper: Sounds great. Could you tell our readers/investors your strategy and goals for LiCo Energy Metals?

Mr. Tim Fernback: Our strategy is to focus on the key energy metals of lithium and cobalt. We are big believers in the market long-term for both of these commodities. Over the last couple of years, the price of both of these metals has dramatically increased and they're quite valuable. Our plan for our current properties is to improve them by way of exploration, and then eventually partner with a larger company to extract the metals.

Our Chilean property is in an area that is a very prolific brine area, Salar de Atacama. It produces roughly 37 percent of the world's lithium. We are one of three companies, active in the region. The other two are SQM and Albermarle, large multinational companies that focus on lithium production specifically, as some large revenue generators for both SQM and Albermarle.

We're in the process of completing exploration programs in Chile right now, and are currently going through a process involving the community. The Ontario properties we own, include the addition of another property we recently purchased from Glencore on which we have a claim contiguous with our property, in a very prolific and historic cobalt production area, and our existing 11 Teledyne claims. There have been 14 million pounds of cobalt historically taken from the Teledyne property, on which we currently have an option, and we are exploring right now.


So the grades of cobalt range significantly in this area from a half percent to over two percent. We're looking to improve on that information with a drilling program there in the fall and the early part of next year, with the idea of proving up the underground value of what we have there in terms of cobalt. It is a historic cobalt and silver area in Canada. So it's a good location.

The other properties that we have in Nevada are the Dixie Valley and Black Rock Desert Properties. They comprise fairly large areas in terms of the number of claims that we hold in each of them. They are lithium brine exploration properties, on which we've done some geophysics, showing some good results. The properties range in value, in terms of the PPM of lithium content from100 PPM to over 520 PPM. Very exciting projects! Our plan is to continue to improve upon the value underground there, and to define the resource in the area.

Dr. Allen Alper: That sounds excellent. Sounds like you have some very important properties in strategic locations that have had proven resources. I understand you not only purchased a property from Glencore, but you have some kind of off-take agreement that could take place when production goes forward. Is that correct?

Mr. Tim Fernback: That's correct. It's not just a simple purchase. Glencore is very interested in cobalt as a metal. I believe Glencore is the largest single producer of cobalt, largely as a byproduct of their copper mining. They recently announced another large transaction in the Democratic Republic of Congo, which as we all know holds about 60 percent of the world's cobalt and cobalt production.

We've purchased this property, one that they've been sitting on for a little while as they roll out their other global operations. But we have an off-take agreement with them so that any production that we have they're able to purchase at the prevailing market prices, which is good for us as well. There's a production royalty. So we're going to be involved with Glencore over the long term here. They also have a back-end option to purchase the property back at terms favorable to our company. If they would like to get that property back and eventually produce cobalt from it, we expect that that production only makes sense if they would add our adjoining Teledyne property as well. So the future might be very interesting for us in Ontario with these cobalt properties.


Dr. Allen Alper: That sounds excellent. Could you tell us a bit about your background, your team, and your board?

Mr. Tim Fernback: I am a former investment banker and venture capitalist. I've served on the boards of many different public mining companies. I came onto the LiCo board initially, and then was asked to take over the position of President and CEO of the company. I jumped at the chance! My background includes financing mining companies, natural resource exploration and production companies. Dwayne Melrose is a member of our board and the Technical Advisory Chair of the company. He has over 30 years’ experience in the mining industry. He's been very successful in his career and has brought three mining exploration projects into production.

His background was predominantly in the gold area. He is very excited about our future in both cobalt and lithium. Dwayne is in Chile right now on our Purickuta lithium project. We recently added Greg Reimer to our board. Greg is the former Vice President of BC Hydro's Transmission and Distribution Business Group. He's an accountant by profession and has held a number of senior leadership positions in the public sector. Greg is the former deputy minister in British Columbia in the mines area and has significant expertise in working with indigenous populations. Greg's executive leadership, his wide experience in areas related to what LiCo Energy is doing and his world of connections, specifically within the electric transmission field because, as we all know, BC Hydro is one of the largest power utilities in North America and at the same time, is very interested in the electric vehicle market and providing power distribution for the advent of electric vehicles on the road. Of course, lithium and cobalt are key elements in building the battery for electric vehicles.

So it's a great opportunity for us to work with such high caliber people like Dwayne and Greg on the board here.


Dr. Allen Alper: That sounds excellent. You have a very strong management team, board and advisers. That's very good. Could you review for our readers/investors why the lithium ion battery industry is so important and lithium and cobalt are so important in that industry?

Mr. Tim Fernback: They're important generally because of their position on the periodic table. It demonstrates why they have a unique position and why they fit perfectly within anything that is a rechargeable battery. So lithium and cobalt are key ingredients within the lithium ion battery. Lithium ion batteries are used with anything from rechargeable power drills to laptop computers to mobile phones and, of course, the electric vehicle.

Cobalt, by weight, is the largest metal found within a lithium ion battery. Lithium itself is a key metal within the lithium ion battery because it is a very light and highly conductive metal. Cobalt is used primarily for the storage of electricity within the battery. Lithium is used primarily for the explosive power needed to generate an electric current from the battery. That's why they go hand in hand in a lithium ion battery.

Dr. Allen Alper: Sounds very good. Could you tell us a little bit about your share structure?

Mr. Tim Fernback: We're a public company traded on three different markets in Canada, the US, and in Germany. We have currently about 120 million shares outstanding on the company and on a fully diluted basis including warrants and options, that's 173 million shares issued on a fully diluted basis. The company is actively traded on all three markets. There's quite a bit of liquidity on our stock generally. We are probably one of the few companies concentrating on both lithium and cobalt in production and exploration programs. In the US, we're blue skied. We have quite a few active shareholders and investors in the US as well.


Dr. Allen Alper: That sounds very good. What are the primary reasons our high-net-worth readers/investors should consider investing in LiCo Energy?

Mr. Tim Fernback: The primary reason is that we have properties both in lithium and in cobalt. So we're well diversified for an exploration company. We are in explorations so that we have the potential for explosive growth in terms of the enterprise value of the company as we prove out our properties. I think our properties are located in some of the best places in the world for both lithium and cobalt exploration and production, very safe and mining friendly jurisdictions, which is really important. 60 percent of cobalt production comes from the Democratic Republic of Congo. It's not necessarily the safest jurisdiction globally to do any exploration work.

Our project is in Ontario, Canada, a very mining friendly jurisdiction, very stable country, with excellent laws. Funding exists for a project such as ours. We have an historic resource, a pre-43101 resource on the property. So we're in really good shape in both the cobalt and lithium space.

Dr. Allen Alper: That sounds very good. Is there anything else you'd like to add, Tim?

Mr. Tim Fernback: First of all I want to thank you for the opportunity to talk with you about LiCo Energy Metals. If your readers/investors were to go to our website,, they would find a variety of information, not only on our company and our projects, but also on lithium and cobalt, and learn more about why these metals are strategic and why we are focused on them.

Dr. Allen Alper: That sounds excellent.

LiCo Energy Metals Inc.
1220-789 West Pender Street
Vancouver, BC, Canada, V6C 1H2

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