Appointment as Advisory Board chairman to steer ABR US listing
In an ambitious move to drive its US listing process, the American Pacific Borates Limited (ASX:ABR) (“ABR” or the “Company”) has brought on board industrial minerals’-exponent John Mitchell as the chairman of its newly constituted Advisory Board. Tim Johnston and Govind Arora are the other appointees of the three-member Advisory Board. AB has termed the appointment of the three-member Advisory Board ‘transformational’, as it charts new global growth paths in multiple sectors encompassing clean energy materials, decarbonisation more broadly, and food security. John Mitchell’s expertise and global experience in energy materials, water infrastructure, industrial gases, and energy align well with ABR’s global aspirations. Led by John Mitchell, the Advisory Board’s broad mandate would include working with the Company’s executive management to consider and drive the multiple activities that include strategic business planning, including assessing options to enhance and accelerate the Fort Cady Borate Mine, debt capital markets discussions to consider non-dilutive capital options for potential mine acceleration and value engineering of proposed operations where necessary.
The Advisory Board will report to ABR Chairman David Salisbury and will also be responsible for creation of a talent management plan, recruitment of C-suite executives considered necessary for ongoing operations and management of US public markets, selecting and appointing US investment banks to support the US listing process, undertaking relevant listing activities including roadshows, all of which would finally culminate with the Company’s US listing. Commenting on the creation of the Advisory Board, ABR Chairman, David Salisbury said: “The creation of the US Advisory Board is a deliberate strategy enabling ABR to access a team of professionals like John Mitchell, Tim Johnston and Govind Arora that has significant experience in the industrial minerals sector across engineering, operations, sales and marketing, and public markets.” David Salisbury added, “Their involvement in the business with responsibility for driving the ABR US listing process should give desired results. The Advisory Board has a clear understanding of ABR’s rare industrial minerals’ project that is highly relevant for clean energy materials, decarbonisation more broadly and food security. We are looking forward to working with them to deliver positive shareholder outcomes”. Commenting on his appointment as Chairman of the Advisory Board, John Mitchell said: “ABR has a unique borate project that has strong parallels with our experience in lithium, energy advanced materials and other critical minerals broadly necessary for global decarbonisation and food security. We are very much looking forward to working with the ABR Board led by David and expect to leverage the good work already completed, while striving to deliver an exceptional outcome of ABR shareholders into the US.” An exponent in the field of industrial minerals, John Mitchell brings with him decades of experience having held senior leadership roles at Albemarle Lithium and Advanced Materials, Rockwood Lithium and Lind AG. John is currently President of Genlith, Inc., a private venture holding company focused on early stage investments within the New Energy Economy and a Founder/Partner at Blue Horizon Capital, an asset management firm that launched an index ETF focused on publicly traded leaders and innovators of the New Energy Economy (BNE:NYSE). At Albemarle, John was President of the Lithium and Advanced Materials Global Business, a global thought leader in energy materials and the battery supply chain. During his term as the president, he was responsible for initiating a significant global expansion of lithium resources, mining capacity and integrated refining and specialty chemicals with projects under construction across several continents. John is credited to have spearheaded a multi-billion capital expansion program and propelled Albemarle to a global leadership position in lithium. John’s prior roles included his stint as the President, Rockwood Lithium, North America and Senior Advisor to the Executive Operations Board, Linde AG with a focus on the industrial gas businesses in Africa and South America. John holds a degree in Materials Engineering from Drexel University, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA. Tim Johnston is currently the Executive Chairman of Li-Cycle Corp. which has entered into a business combination agreement with Peridot Acquisition Corp., a US-listed SPAC (PDAC:NYSE). Govind Arora is currently the President of Blue Horizons Capital. Prior to that, he was the Chief Commercial Officer, Albemarle Lithium and Advanced Material and CFO, Asia Pacific, Honeywell Process Solutions.
ABR – American Pacific Borates
Currently, American Pacific Borates Limited is focused on advancing its 100% owned Fort Cady Borate Mine Project located in Southern California, USA. Fort Cady is a highly rare and large colemanite deposit and is the largest known contained traditional borate occurrence in the world not owned by the two major borate producers Rio Tinto and Eti Maden. An updated enhanced Definitive Feasibility Study (“eDFS”) completed in February 2021 has set production targets of 450kstpa of boric acid and 400kstpa of SOP in full production. Financial metrics include an unlevered post tax NPV8 of US$2.02bn, an unlevered post tax IRR of 41% and an EBITDA in the first full year of production of US$453m. The Company is currently in construction of the initial phase of the Fort Cady Borate Mine with first production targeted for Q3, CY2021. In addition to the flagship Fort Cady Project, the Company has an earn in agreement to acquire a 100% interest in the Salt Wells North and Salt Wells South Projects in Nevada, USA on the incurrence of US$3m of Project expenditures. The Projects cover an area of 36 km sq and are considered prospective for borates and lithium in the sediments and lithium in the brines within the project area. Surface salt samples from the Salt Wells North project area were assayed in April 2018 and showed elevated levels of both lithium and boron with several results of over 500ppm lithium and over 1% boron. The creation of the Advisory Board headed by John Mitchell is a deliberate strategy to enable the Company to collaborate with him that can support and drive the Company’s aspirations to successfully list its shares on a recognised US exchange.