Focused on silica and working in the Bahia, Brazil, area with great interest is Homerun Resources (TSXV:HMR).
The company continues to focus its efforts on accessing massive amounts of high purity quartz to ensure a stable supply chain while meeting the increasing demands put on the global marketplace.
Here to talk with The Market Herald Canada about Homerun Resources is the CEO himself, Brian Leeners.
TMH: Can you inform our viewers on the steps that led you to your current position as CEO at Homerun Resources?
Leeners: Nobody else wanted the job. No, I’m kidding.
My background, I go back almost 30 years in the public markets. We do private to public, so I started in the mid-’90s to late ’90s. We’ve been in the material space most of that time.
I think the first copper deal that we got involved with was in the late ’90s, so we know the materials fairly well. There was a bit of a vacuum in the material space for a period of time in the teens, but we stepped back in the latter teens, and obviously we’ve now moved into the silica space because the energy transition is the focus and that’s what we’re focused on with our Silica project.
TMH: As for the company, can you provide an overview of Homerun’s strategy and what is the current focus before we enter the new year?
Leeners: The strategy long term is to build the company out as a materials company integrated into the verticals that are available to us. We see those as the energy transition verticals. It’s easier to be a disruptor where there’s no one to disrupt. From that perspective, that is long term and obviously increasing cashflow in that process.
In the short term, we’ve had a pretty good 2023. It’s coming to a close. We have a significant signature ceremony that will occur in Salvador, Bahia, Brazil, in December. And that’s a culmination of many, many months of negotiation and effort relative to both ourselves and our partner, which is CBPM, the publicly controlled resource company in Bahia.
TMH: Last month the company entered into a binding letter agreement for the conditional purchase of the Belmonte Silica Concession in Belmonte, which is in Brazil. Can you firstly summarize what makes this area so important, and are there any updates around this that you would like to share?
Leeners: The natural formation of the deposit makes it exceptionally easy to access. We have a bowl of silica sands sitting on surface, so thank you, Mother Nature. The silica in that bowl is incredibly high grade in its raw form.
Our initial processing facility will be quite thin on CapEx and quite strong on throughput, which is good for us. There’s significant appetite within the marketplace for that type of product, with that type of grade.
Then what we’ll do is, we’ll slowly add to our ability to upgrade that product, so that we can get it into the four nine (99.99 per cent availability) and five nine (99.999 per cent availability) space, which as I’ve stated a few times in public, is the top of the pyramid. There’s one player up there and we want to compete with that player, and that’s where you take a product that costs sub-hundred dollars to move through processing and you sell it in the plus $1,000 category.
TMH: Also, just wanting to revisit the approval the company received over a month ago for the multi-party shares resource, or the CRADA (Cooperative Research and Development Agreement) with the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory. Is there any new information you can provide our viewers with at this time?
Leeners: Again, another long build on a relationship that is going to be instrumental to our value proposition going forward. The development of that system, which is an energy storage system using silica and thermal energy. They take electricity converted to thermal, which is stored in the silica and then revert that back to the grid as electricity.
A relatively elegant and simple system, but we recognize the opportunity in there to process silica because of the temperatures that are achieved and so we’ll go through a testing process with NREL under that arrangement.
For the next three, six, nine months, there’ll be a sequence of phases of research and development and those partners are really good at what they do. NREL is the research centre for the U.S. Department of Energy.
TMH: And before we let you go Brian, is there anything investors can anticipate for 2024?
Leeners: We mandate that we’ll continue, hopefully the same pace of play and the execution on the deliverables that we’ve clearly stated to our stakeholders. I see that happening continuously through 2024. 2024, unlike 2023, will be a focus on revenue.
TMH: Well, revenue is always important for companies, right?
Leeners: I think they multiply us off that. If we want the value to go up, we’ve got to have some positive cash flow.
So that’ll be our focus in 2024. The nice thing is we’ve got a really good business model to achieve that.
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