Clean Air of optimism as PDAC lands in Toronto

Clean Air Metals (TSX-V:AIR) is continuing to focus on refining the Escape down-plunge target at its Thunder Bay North Critical Minerals project while working closely alongside First Nations partners to identify participation opportunities.

Ahead of his attendance at the Prospectors & Developers Association of Canada (PDAC) convention in Toronto on 3-6 March 2024, Clean Air COO Mike Garbutt says the results of current work programs places the company in “a great position” for when the PGMs market improves. 

He tells Mining.com.au that having its flagship Thunder Bay North Critical Minerals Project – which hosts a suite of platinum, palladium, copper, and nickel – within a well-endowed region of Northwestern Ontario further strengthens the emerging miner’s strong position.

“The provincial government has put forth initiatives to spur mine development and exploration activity, and this has generated a renewed positive outlook for miners in the province. 

Northwestern Ontario is supportive of heavy industry in general and has a strong mining history across multiple commodities including most precious metals, copper, nickel, and zinc – and now increased activity sourcing lithium.  

We see that the region has an abundance of overlooked intrusions that with additional exploration focus and improved market conditions, can be quite attractive. With respect to the Thunder Bay North project, we are set in an ideal location within 50km of the city Thunder Bay, which provides full services to heavy industry.  

Additionally, the project is serviced by a paved provincial highway and sits within 6kms of a 230kVA power line. The project has everything required right at our doorstep.”

Currently, ABC Bullion records the spot price of palladium sitting about $1,511.81 per troy ounce, while platinum is trading at $1,389.64 per troy ounce. 

Clean Air’s COO says Thunder Bay North presents a “strong case for investment,” given the presence of payable copper and nickel, which in turn play a ‘significant’ part of the future economics of the project. 

“There has been a lot of talk and political posturing surrounding critical minerals, but for most of these commodities it has not translated into a positive for the underlying valuations and investment in juniors.  

Clearly, the interest in the junior exploration and development space continues to be towards gold and copper with an ever-increasing level of interest in uranium exploration. In this competitive landscape, our niche is that we will be in a unique position to take advantage of a turn-around in the PGM market, and this makes a strong case for investment in Clean Air Metals and PGMs.”  

our niche is that we will be in a unique position to take advantage of a turn-around in the PGM market, and this makes a strong case for investment in Clean Air Metals and PGMs

Garbutt remains bullish on a resurgence in the PGM space. He notes that currently 60% of the demand for platinum and palladium still comes from the automobile industry and namely the internal combustion engine (ICE).  

Clean Air believes there will be a slower uptake than expected in battery electric vehicles with a pent-up demand from COVID restrictions worldwide that could lead to significant demand increase in the ICE in the next few years.

Garbutt adds: “Longer term, emerging use of PGMs and particularly platinum is in the hydrogen economy with use in both electrolysers for green hydrogen and fuel cells. There is huge untapped potential in heavy transport and heavy industry for green hydrogen to be a significant contributor to decarbonization efforts.”

When Clean Air Metals CEO Jim Gallagher spoke to Mining.com.au earlier this month, he was clear in articulating the company is “very bullish” on the platinum market, as well as palladium.

At the time Gallagher said one of the clearest indications of this confidence, among others, was in November 2023 receiving a three-year exploration permit from the Ontario Ministry of Mines. 

The permit covers a down plunge extension and encompasses other areas of interest for future drilling and geophysical work.

The project hosts an indicated mineral resource of 13.8 million tonnes containing 1.2 million ounces of 2PGE (Pt+Pd). It also contains 56,800t of copper and 33,800t of nickel between twin magmatic intrusions (chonoliths) known as the Current and the aforementioned Escape deposits, which are twin magma conduits.

This backdrop makes it ideal for the COO to attend PDAC at the Toronto Convention Centre, which has up to 30,000 attendees from 130-plus countries descend each year for educational programs, networking events, and generating business opportunities.

The convention is a platform promoting the mining industry in Canada, a sector that supports 664,000 people in direct and indirect employment and contributes C$132 billion to Canada’s GDP every year. 

Since its inception in 1932, PDAC has grown in size, stature, and influence with more than 1,100 exhibitors and 700 speakers representing the world’s mineral industry attending each year.

It’s now touted as the world’s premier mineral exploration and mining convention and a leading event for people, companies, and organisations connected to mineral exploration.

Write to Adam Drought at Mining.com.au

Images: Clean Air Metals
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Written By Adam Drought
Born and raised in the UK, Adam is a sports fanatic with an interest in Rugby League and UFC/MMA. When not training in Muay Thai and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, Adam attends Griffith University where he is completing his final year of a Communication & Journalism degree.