Businesses involved in the world of minerals and metals have always faced numerous challenges. Whether it is the rising demand combined with the shortage of supply or factors like carbon footprint and unsustainable methods, this industry has been going through a number of problems for years. Moreover, the battery materials and glass ceramics industry is also struggling for new supplies. The traditional mining businesses produce specific products in bulk, some of which do not even sell due to changes in demand. This further increases the carbon footprint, making the process unsustainable.
Taking all the problems into consideration, Donald S. Bubar established a company now named Avalon Advanced Materials Inc. in 1995. The idea was to build a mineral development company specializing in sustainably-produced materials for clean technology. What’s more, unlike conventional mining companies, Avalon Advanced Materials is focused on scaling the operation based on demand. In essence, this is more of a manufacturing business that supplies products to end-users on order.
Avalon Advanced Materials Inc.: An Insight into the Company
With its headquarters in Toronto, Ontario, Avalon Advanced Materials focuses on critical minerals and metals bearing in mind the rising demand for these non-traditional commodities in new clean technologies, In the present day, the company possesses five critical minerals projects across the nation, providing investors with exposure to indium, tin, feldspars, tantalum, cesium, rare earth elements, and lithium. As of now, the venture is entirely focused on its Separation Rapids Lithium Project near Kenora, Ontario and its Lilypad Cesium-Tantalum Project near Fort Hope, Ontario.
One of the key principles of the company is associated with sustainability. This involves the adoption of the best industry norms for managing the environment, safety, and health. As a matter of fact, Avalon Advanced Materials implements risk management, and incorporates its sustainability goals into assessments, work activities, and business planning.
Producing critical minerals is more like an advanced manufacturing business where it is all about the designing of an innovative or appropriate extraction process and market opportunity recognition. The motive is to meet the requirements of the end-users. Besides, several crucial raw materials are important enablers of clean technology, like energy-efficient automobiles and renewable energy sources. As a mineral development business concentrated on rare minerals and metals, it is a calculated benefit for the company to embrace sustainability principles into its foundation so as to line up with potential consumers, like clean technology producers, who expect their supply chains to be sustainable.
Avalon Advanced Materials: Current Challenges
Tin is high in demand, especially due to its numerous applications in various new technologies. It can be utilized in carbon capture catalysts, hydrogen production, Tin Selenide for heat harvesting, 5G communications, solar energy systems (perovskite solar cells, solar ribbon, and junction boxes and connections), electric vehicles (lithium battery anode technologies, charging stations, wiring, and connections, as well as power electronics), and electronic materials, such as solders on circuit board smartphones.
Contemplating the rising importance of this metal, the President and CEO, Donald S. Bubar is trying to obtain control of a historical tin minesite, in Nova Scotia. He explains, “The mine was the only primary producer of tin in the history of North America.” He further adds, “I’m trying to get the government to recognize the extraction of value from the waste as a way to fully remediate the long-term environmental liability.” This is not only a profitable idea but also a great way to “clean up the mess made by original miners.”
Another problem Avalon Advanced Materials is facing is that the site was inherited by BHP, a major mining company based in Melbourne, Australia. Presently, Bubar states, “they now treat all closed minesites as no-go zones.” For the same reason, Avalon’s access is being blocked.
How is Avalon Advanced Materials Different from Similar Businesses in the Industry?
First and foremost, the sustainability principles are the core values of Avalon Advanced Materials. The company is a trendsetter among junior miners in the adoption of best approaches for engagement with local communities, prevention of water contamination, and the reduction of environmental footprint. In fact, it received an excellent Sustainalytics ESG risk rating license following an audit of the business policies and practices for attracting interest from new ESG investors. Another reason that the company stands out from other businesses in the same industry is associated with the diversified asset base.
Bubar says, “The company has been focused on non-traditional, non-exchange-traded commodities for a long time. However, we recognized early on that it was important to have a diversified asset base.” He further elucidates, “It is always hard to predict where the next demand would come from for one of these non-traditional commodities. This is what motivated us to create a diversified asset base.”
Avalon Advanced Materials: The Future
Avalon Advanced Materials continues to evaluate opportunities for the application of new extraction technology to recover rare metals and rare earth elements from acid mine drainage at closed mine sites across North America. Further, Bubar enlightens, “We want to be able to start with the production of lithium minerals and battery materials. We’ve been trying to recruit a strategic partner to collaborate with us for the creation of the lithium battery material supply chain and we now have lots of interest.”
He further adds, “We want to be able to produce petalite for the glass ceramic industry around the world due to it now being in very short supply after China took control of the traditional petalite supply sources in Zimbabwe.” Petalite production is planned to be started later this year.
With regard to the Separation Rapids project of the company, Avalon Advanced Materials plans to begin small-scale commercial operations from 2023 to 2025 with sales of petalite and Rubidium, Caesium, and Tantalum mineral by-products while the construction of the lithium refinery takes place. Furthermore, between 2025 to 2026, the company plans to start the production of lithium battery materials.
Pull Quote: “Major mining companies have been focused exclusively on traditional, exchange-traded commodities for a long time. However, we recognized early on that with non-traditional commodities, it was important to have a diversified asset base. It is always hard to predict where the next demand would come from for one of these non-traditional commodities. This is what motivated us to create a diversified asset base.”
Description of the Company: Avalon Advanced Materials Inc. is a Canadian mineral development business focused on critical minerals and metals. The materials are sustainably produced for clean technology.
Company Name: Avalon Advanced Materials Inc.
Founding Year: 1995
Office Locations: Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Official Website of the Company: www.avalonadvancedmaterials.com
Name of the Featured Leader: Donald S. Bubar
Designation of the Leader: CEO & Director