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Don Bubar, President and CEO, Avalon Advanced Materials Inc. (TSX: AVL, OTCQB: AVLNF) Discusses, Developing Materials for Clean Technology at Its Separation Rapids Lithium and Lilypad Cesium-Tantalum-Lithium Projects in Ontario

on 8/10/2021
We spoke with Don Bubar, President and CEO of Avalon Advanced Materials Inc. (TSX: AVL, OTCQB: AVLNF), a Canadian mineral development Company, specializing in sustainably produced materials, for clean technology. Avalon is currently focusing on developing its Separation Rapids Lithium Project, near Kenora, Ontario, while looking at several new project opportunities, including its 100%-owned Lilypad Cesium-Tantalum-Lithium Project that has just been reactivated this summer, in northwestern Ontario. We learned from Mr. Bubar that at Separation Rapids, the Company has been working on the process of making the petalite products, for the growing market in glass-ceramics, as well as working on establishing a Lithium battery materials facility, in Thunder Bay. Avalon is now talking to at least one potential European lithium battery materials off-taker.

Avalon Advanced Materials Inc.

Dr. Allen Alper: This is Dr. Allen Alper, Editor-in-Chief of Metals News, talking with Don Bubar, President and CEO of Avalon Advanced Materials. Don, could you update our readers/investors on what's been happening in 2021 and what your plans are for 2021?

Don Bubar: We have several projects we're trying to move forward, all at the same time, because there's just so much new interest in establishing these critical mineral supply chains. We have several opportunities to do that. But it's been challenging moving things forward quickly, during these COVID pandemic times and also dealing with some of the challenges, in terms of helping government and the investment community understand what's involved in getting these new, non-traditional, commodities-producing operations started. It's a very different business, from the traditional mining world. But it's starting to come together, as we disclosed on July 19.

Dr. Allen Alper: Could you tell us the highlights of what's happening at Separation Rapids and Lilypad?

Don Bubar: We've been doing quite a bit of work, at Separation Rapids, mostly on how to process the ore, to make the petalite products for the companies that have expressed interest in the glass-ceramic sector, because we still want to be able to serve that market, which is also growing through innovation. And we still are working towards getting a lithium battery materials facility established in Thunder Bay that would get the ball rolling in terms of being able to start the battery materials supply chain here in Ontario. Lithium hydroxide is the one we want to produce that's in high demand. We're now engaged, as we disclosed in Monday’s news release, with at least one European Company that has some strong interest in making a firm commitment on off-take, which is what we need, to be able to attract the capital to proceed, with our plan to get that refinery built and running, within the next couple of years.

Dr. Allen Alper: Sounds great! Could you tell our readers/investors the critical elements and materials you're working on and how they fit, with new electrification of the world?

Don Bubar: Obviously, the materials needed for rechargeable battery technology, are generating the most interest right now. But all the critical minerals, in which we have interests, are in growing demand right now, including cesium and tantalum. We have a good opportunity to develop a cesium resource on our Lilypad project, which we reactivated this summer, and we continue to work on innovating ways to recover the cesium efficiently, because demand for cesium now is huge, as there is a global shortage of supply of the cesium mineral pollucite.

Dr. Allen Alper: Could you tell our readers/investors something about the uses of cesium and the market?

Don Bubar: The main application that was developed years ago, by Cabot Corporation, was for a specialty drilling fluid, called cesium formate, a very stable high-density fluid, with the same viscosity as water, but two-and-a-half times as dense. It could be recycled and used in deep offshore oil wells. The other, not so traditional use is in atomic clocks. But it has lots of other potential applications because any of the compounds it forms are extremely stable, as cesium is the most electropositive element on the periodic table. So, we see lots of potential for innovation on new products that can use cesium. We're now trying to inspire more interest in doing the research and development, here in Canada, to innovate some of these new applications, so we can create local demand for cesium. There's lots of that happening, in other parts of the world. I really believe it's time for Canada to start supporting more research and development and innovation and new applications for elements like cesium and tantalum. There is lots of potential.

Dr. Allen Alper: That sounds excellent. Could you tell our readers/investors, your primary goals for the remainder of 2021 going into 2022?

Don Bubar: Well, the other top priority is the Cargill closed phosphate mine site, where we're trying to find a solution to take on the existing closure plan, to give us title and access to the site, because there are immediate revenue opportunities to produce phosphates from the tailings and waste there. We want to look at how we can extract the rare earths, scandium and other rare elements that are also present in the phosphate minerals, in the tailings there. We're pretty close to being able to do that, as we disclosed on Monday. Once we can re-activate that site, it's going to become a major priority for us, because of the tremendous potential there, to generate immediate revenue streams and growth businesses, related to all the various products that we can produce there, including phosphates for fertilizers and lithium battery materials.

Dr. Allen Alper: Oh, that sounds excellent! I know you have a diversified basket of critical elements. Could you summarize those critical elements that Avalon Advanced Materials has?

Don Bubar: We already talked about lithium, tantalum, cesium, the ones we've had aspirations to produce for quite a long time, as well as our rare earth elements and zirconium. We now see opportunities to produce scandium, which is in growing demand as well. Lastly, our East Kemptville, closed mine site project, in Nova Scotia, while it's been delayed because of access issues, we are getting close to finding a solution there, as we disclosed on July 19, because the government of Nova Scotia is very supportive of re-activating that mine site and taking advantage of all the elements present in the waste there, which includes tin, indium, gallium, germanium, and lithium. As we pointed out, in the recent news release, geologically similar tin deposits in Europe are now being looked at as opportunities to recover lithium from the waste, including past producing tin mines in Cornwall and in the Czech Republic. We see the same lithium opportunity here, at East Kemptville, along with being able to recover tin, which is also needed in the electronics, along with indium, gallium and germanium.

Dr. Allen Alper: Sounds excellent. It sounds like Avalon Advanced Materials has a variety of excellent opportunities, to develop critical materials, for electric vehicles and also for other advanced electronic applications.

Don Bubar: Yes, and hopefully a whole lot of new applications still to be innovated, once we inspire more research and development work.

Dr. Allen Alper: Sounds excellent, Don! Could you tell our readers/investors more about your background and your Team?

Don Bubar: I'm an exploration geologist. I've been in the business for almost 45 years now. I have been running Avalon, as a small cap Company, for the last 26 years. I became interested in these non-traditional commodities 25 years ago, when we had an opportunity to acquire the Separation Rapids project, as a new discovery of a lithium pegmatite, enriched in the rare mineral petalite and could see the future opportunities, even then, in terms of these rare elements. It has taken a while to get there, but we're now seeing this as a real growth business. We've put together a team of people, with relevant expertise in this area, particularly the geology, processing and sustainability. And I think we have a real growth business opportunity now, and we'll start to attract more expertise to work in this emerging new field of interest, here in Canada.

Dr. Allen Alper: That sounds excellent. Could you tell our readers/investors about your share and capital structure?

Don Burbar: Well, having been around for over 25 years, as a publicly traded company and relying on the equity markets to access capital. We have over 360 million shares issued right now, and over 400 million on a fully diluted basis. We have a very diverse shareholder base, mostly retail, and over 20,000 shareholders, all over the world. Many of them were attracted to the Company, during the rare-earth boom 10 years ago, and have continued to hold on to the stock, knowing that we would have another day. So, we're very pleased, with the number of longtime loyal shareholders that we have, that saw the potential 10 to 15 years ago and are still there patiently waiting for the real value to be created. And I think we're getting close.

Dr. Allen Alper: It sounds like Avalon has excellent potential. Could you tell our readers/investors the primary reasons for them to consider investing in Avalon Advanced Materials?

Don Bubar: Well, I think we're undervalued right now, at a market cap in the order of $50 million at the moment, since many of our peers, with advanced projects in lithium, have market caps of several hundred million. I think it's a matter of becoming more known as a leader in lithium. I think one factor is we don't have the word lithium in the name of the Company, which means that a lot of investors may not recognize us as a real leader in developing the lithium supply chain here in Canada. But that awareness is starting to grow as we do more and more public presentations on our business model.

Dr. Allen Alper: Sounds like very strong reasons for our readers/investors to consider investing in Avalon. Sounds excellent! We’ll publish your press releases as they come out so our readers/investors can follow your progress.

Don Bubar
President and CEO

1901-130 Adelaide St. W.
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
M5H 3P5
+1 (416) 364-4938

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