Source: Streetwise Reports
August 15, 2023 (Investorideas.com Newswire) Graduate students from two universities are helping this tellurium company map and sample at its flagship project in British Columbia.
Students from the University of British Columbia and the University of St. Andrews (Scotland) will work under the direction of First Tellurium consultant and Qualified Person Dr. Lee Groat.
"This is an extensive survey that will investigate a large amount of untested ground," First Tellurium President and Chief Executive Officer Tyrone Docherty said. "Previous exploration, both by FTEL and former property holders, was confined largely to the Deer Horn vein system, recent copper porphyry discoveries, and known showings of tungsten and molybdenum. We are also testing a significant amount of new ground that in the past was covered by glaciers."
The mapping and sampling program will be added to the exploration conducted by Deer Horn in 2012, which discovered several significant mineralized zones.
The company is conducting geophysics work at Deer Horn this summer to help develop targets for a drilling campaign.
Deer Horn is known to have the only positive preliminary economic assessment (PEA) for a tellurium (Te) project in North America and was named a world-class project by solar panel maker First Solar Inc. (FSLR:NYSE)
The company said it engaged Dias Geophysical of Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, to conduct the induced polarization (IP) geophysical testing, which is following up on rock sampling, channel sampling, and prospecting done in 2022 that identified a possible 1.1-kilometer extension of a 2.4-kilometer gold-silver-tellurium vein system.
"There is obvious porphyry and abundant associated sulfide mineralization on surface at Deer Horn," Groat said. "The geophysical data from IP is needed to obtain subsurface information, such as the location of bodies of sulfide mineralization. This will help us direct the summer drill campaign and determine locations, directions, angles, and depths of drill holes."
The Catalyst: Lessening Reliance on Foreign Sources
Tellurium is one of the least common elements on Earth, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. Most rocks contain an average of about three parts per billion, making them eight times less abundant than gold.
Its use as a semiconductor in solar photovoltaic (solar PV) panels has increased. It is also used in thermoelectric applications, lithium batteries, vulcanizing rubber, tinting glass, and manufacturing rewritable CDs and DVDs.
Both the U.S. and Canada are trying to reduce dependence on China for such critical metals. U.S. President Joe Biden has banned solar panels coming from a Chinese company that uses forced labor.
First Tellurium Chairman Tony Fogarassy attended OECD's 2023 Forum on Responsible Mineral Supply Chains in Paris as part of First Tellurium's outreach on critical minerals.
"We know there's a looming, massive shortage of critical minerals needed for batteries, electric vehicles, solar power - any technology related to climate change and carbon reduction," Fogarassy said. "Canada is seen as a prime future supplier of critical minerals due to its stable political and economic structure, and also its world-leading knowledge about exploration and mining."
Melting Glaciers Reveal More Ground
The soil sampling and mapping program is possible because a significant amount of ground is now open that was once covered in glaciers, First Tellurium said.
Deer Horn's PEA was calculated on 450 meters of the original 2.4-kilometer gold-silver-tellurium vein system.
The project "also contains significant showings of silver and copper, both essential green metals, along with the critical metals bismuth and tungsten," Docherty has said.
In addition, the company's Klondike Tellurium Project in Colorado is considered America's top tellurium exploration project and was previously owned by First Solar as a potential source of raw tellurium for its solar panels, Docherty said.
'A Huge 2023'
FTEL could "have a huge 2023" with support for tellurium mining by the United States, wrote asset manager Chen Lin, author of the What's Chen Buying? What's Chen Selling? newsletter, who has made the stock a quarterly pick several times in the last year.
The U.S. military is providing US$250 million for critical metals projects, including tellurium, and Canada's federal 2023 budget earmarked CA$1.5 billion for a critical minerals infrastructure fund.
"There's a very decent chance tellurium will breakout this year because First Solar is using 60% to 70% of worldwide production to make a solar panel," Chen wrote. "Their production has grown rapidly." [OWNERSHIP_CHART-10739]
First Solar plans to double its solar panel manufacturing capacity and spend US$1.36 billion to lessen China's dominance of the market, according to S&P Global.
Ownership and Share Structure
According to the company, 11% of First Tellurium is owned by management and insiders.
Docherty owns 10.6% or 7.7 million shares, Director Josef Anthony Steve Fogarassy has 1.38% or 1 million shares, and Director Lyle Allen Schwabe has 0.73% or 0.53 million shares. There are no institutional investors, and the rest is retail.
The company has a market cap of CA$9.4 million, with about 73 million shares outstanding and 63.4 million free-floating. It trades in a 52-week range of CA$0.25 and CA$0.085.
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