Welcome to the final installment of our five-part series on American Manganese Inc. (TSX.V: AMY; Pink Sheets: AMYZF; Frankfurt: 2AM). In this final article, Larry shares more background on battery technology, how he chooses his properties, and more about his own personal history in the business.Looking for the rest of this interview? Part One, Two, Three, and Four.
American Manganese Inc. is a diversified specialty and critical metal company focused on capitalizing on its patented intellectual property through low cost production or recovery of electrolytic manganese products throughout the world, and recycling of spent electric vehicle lithium ion rechargeable batteries.
Peter Bell: It is impressive to see a company come back to life like this one has, Larry. The combination of rising share price and substantial financings over the last couple years sends a clear signal to me that you guys are back in business.
Larry Reaugh: We went through a very tough time, Peter, but we are back. Dilution is the solution in the junior mining business. Now, we are talking with people who can quickly step up to the plate and take over the financial obligations to bring our battery recycling plant into fruition. There are a lot of things going on behind the scenes of this company that I can't talk about publicly. We have to do non-disclosure agreements with groups who want to know about our process and I can't even disclose who has signed those!
Peter Bell: Despite all the confidentiality, you guys do make a lot of noise in the public markets. The news release flow coming out of the company is just stupendous.
Larry Reaugh: Yes, we try to keep a constant news flow. Our own shareholders get even more than everybody else does. I do a podcast almost weekly, although I didn't do one last week because I was at the Bloomberg conference.
Peter Bell: The pace that you keep up there is impressive. I wonder how you keep it up? I guess that's just the territory of the junior mining business.
Larry Reaugh: It's an exciting arena. There’s always a lot to talk about and new people contacting us to explore the possibility to work together with our processes. If they want to pay, then we can try anything. If they don't want to pay, then we're not going to lose our focus on what we're doing. We want to get the pilot plant up and running. I'm 100% confident that it will come out the way Kemetco expects it to and it will show that we can get produce on a continuous basis. Then we will go on from there.
Peter Bell: And you really ended 2017 off very strongly. It seemed like there were a couple really material announcements there in the last week of December. You optioned off one of your properties, then announced a new IP development plan and the mini-pilot plant. Those seem to be really significant announcements.
Larry Reaugh: The biggest one was in November that we had met the deadline to file our final patent application in the US.
We made the application back in November 2016, then had to raise money to do the work to back it up with actual tests. We were able to do that and the patent application is in now. I don't see any problem with getting the patent through.
Peter Bell: Great. It’s encouraging to hear that this is a technology you're comfortable patenting. I've encountered a few groups that will say their technology is too secretive to patent.
Larry Reaugh: Sounds like a black box, Peter. You see that quite a bit in mining, especially with gold. If they don't want to talk about it, especially if they are a public company, then it’s questionable technology.
Peter Bell: There's clearly stuff that you can't talk about, but there's a whole bunch you can talk about and you're getting attention for it!
Larry Reaugh: Well, I've been there before with a producing company with the Samatosum discovery back in the 80s. We made the discovery in ‘87 and were in production by ’89, back before things got crazy with all the permits we have now. The mine was actually located in the headwaters for one of the most famous salmon runs in the world, but we successfully got permits.
Peter Bell: I saw mention of three gold discoveries in your bio, Larry.
Larry Reaugh: Yes, they eventually all went into production. The first discovery in Arizona we took on a joint venture partner that turned out to be very weak at the time. They earned an interest, but we were forced to carry them for two or three years and it wasn't cheap. We decided to drop this poject after we made the Samatosum discovery which later went into production with a mid tier joint venture miner. And the third we sold before it went into production. The tailings damn ultimately failed on that one, but that's another story and has nothing to do with me. Not many guys can say that they have made that many discoveries.
Peter Bell: How did you manage it, then? Are you technically minded at all?
Larry Reaugh: I may be technically minded, but I'm not educated that way. I'm not an engineer and I'm not a geologist, although I hire the right geologists and engineers. I've worked in the industry for well over 50 years. I’ve done all kinds of things on the ground from exploration through working on the plant expansion for a big copper mine to surveying, whether surface or underground. I’ve also done a lot of work in the field with my own drilling company. We drilled for majors and juniors.
Let's put it this way, when I see a property that has the right ingredients that I like, I'll take it – doesn’t matter what my engineer is saying. If they want me to take a property that doesn't have the ingredients I like, then I won't take it. I've been proven right enough timeswith projects I’ve taken against their advice and others that I’ve avoided against their advice.
I haven't looked at exploration for a long time. We have been taking on big projects and moving them through the shoot. We spent $180 million on one of them, but the commodity prices crashed and everything else. It's a long story. I was gone before that because the Board decided to get rid of management, just as we were bringing a substantial amount of money in the door. They did nothing to advance the company. We'd already got the permits to start construction, which took three years while everybody else was taking six-nine years. It was close to a billion dollar project.
Peter Bell: Well, it must be nice to work on something small like this pilot plant with a couple kilograms per hour and the demestration commercial plant with a couple tonnes per day after that. You may be able to avoid the headache with something small like that, but still spin off a large amount of revenue.
Larry Reaugh: We look forward to establishing the economics of these recycling plants. As I say, there are a lot of things going on behind the scenes of this company that I can't talk about publicly and we believe it’s just a matter of time before we have a transformative announcement to share with the markets.
Peter Bell: Thanks so much for sitting down with me, we covered a lot of ground!
Larry Reaugh: Thank you for having me, Peter. Look out for our upcoming Stockpools contest, it should be available to join soon.
To learn more about American Manganese, visit https://americanmanganeseinc.com/
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American Manganese Inc. is a paid marketing client of Stockpools Inc. and one or more of the owners does own shares in American Manganese Inc.