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Well-Known Lithium Exec. Joins Small-Cap With Project Nearing Production in Brazil

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Atlas Lithium Corp. announced that respected lithium company executive Brian Talbot is joining the company as chief operating officer and director. Atlas' chair and CEO says Talbot is "revered as a ticket for success."

Atlas Lithium Corp. (ATLX:NASDAQ) announced that respected lithium company executive Brian Talbot is joining the company as chief operating officer and director.

Talbot is one of the leading authorities in the sector globally and has an "extensive track record as a technical and operational leader" throughout his 30 years of experience in mining operations, Atlas said in a release.

"Brian Talbot is a name that is clearly revered as a ticket for success," Atlas Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Marc Fogassa said. "The fact that Atlas Lithium can attract such exceptional talent speaks volumes about our culture and the potential of our project. We wholeheartedly welcome Brian to our Board of Directors and to lead our development and exploration technical teams."

The only Brazilian lithium company with pre-ordained buyers waiting for its product, Atlas has signed binding agreements for US$50 million in funding to advance its Minas Gerais lithium project toward production with two of the world's largest lithium hydroxide producers: Yahua, a lithium chemical supplier to Tesla; and Chengxin, a battery-grade lithium supplier to BYD, the largest electric vehicle (EV) maker globally.

The two Chinese companies have committed the US$50 million (US$10 million as equity at US$29.77 and US$40 million as non-dilutive offtake prepayment) in exchange for 80% of Atlas Lithium's Phase 1 lithium concentrate production.

"After visiting and studying in detail Atlas Lithium's properties, I firmly believe there is a strong alignment between my expertise in expediting hard-rock lithium projects to production and the solid foundation that the company has already built," Talbot said. "This opportunity allows me to further advance Atlas Lithium's strategic direction as a member of its Board of Directors while also fostering my own professional growth as a leader in the lithium space."

Developing a Flagship, Increasing Production

Atlas noted that Talbot's addition comes on the heels of its strategy to realize early revenues from the project, with production starting in Q4 2024.

Most recently, Talbot was the founder and director of RTEK International DMCC, a consulting firm advising lithium developers and producers. At Sigma Lithium Corp., a Canadian lithium producer operating in Brazil, he oversaw the development of its flagship Grota do Cirilo project from construction through operations.

He has also been general manager and head of Australian operations at Galaxy Resources, which, through mergers, is now part of Arcadium Lithium Plc, one of the world's largest fully integrated lithium companies with a market cap of about US$4.85 billion.

"While at Galaxy Resources, Mr. Talbot was instrumental in increasing the production at Mt. Cattlin (a hard-rock lithium mine in Ravensthorpe, Western Australia), which resulted in record production," Atlas said.

From 2015 to 2017, Talbot was at Bikita Minerals in Zimbabwe, which owns and operates the longest-running hard-rock lithium mine in the world, the company noted.

"I was able to persuade Brian to leave Bikita's lithium operations in Zimbabwe and move to Australia to be responsible for the restart of operations at Galaxy Resources' Mt. Cattlin," said Martin Rowley, former chairman of Galaxy Resources and later Allkem Ltd., and now lead advisor to Atlas Lithium. "During the time we worked together at Galaxy, his work ethic, dedication, conscientious team-building ability, and creativity underwrote the significant value increase to all Galaxy shareholders. I look forward to working with him again on realizing the undoubted potential of Atlas Lithium."

The Catalyst: Experience With Similar Operations

In particular, Atlas said Talbot has extensive experience in the development and operation of dense media separation (DMS) plants like the one being currently developed by Atlas Lithium in Brazil's Lithium Valley.

Atlas stated that the lithium it plans to mine in Brazil is contained within spodumene, a lithium-bearing mineral found in pegmatites or hard rock deposits. The extraction method employed by Atlas to retrieve lithium concentrate from its mined spodumene consumes considerably less water and offers superior ESG outcomes compared to the extraction of lithium from brines. Many companies have been extracting the metal from brine in the huge salars further south. But spodumene-based lithium extraction offers "lower capital costs and a shorter time from discovery to production in comparison to brine operations," noted Feeco International.

The new plant is nearing completion, and its "compact, modular design" will be built off-site and transported in a semi-assembled state before being fully constructed in Brazil, according to the company.

"Management expressed their view that the high quality of its plant and production process played an important role in Chengxin and Yahua becoming offtake buyers," noted analyst Heiko F. Ihle of H.C. Wainwright & Co. on February 27 when he maintained his Buy rating on the stock with a price target of US$52 per share. "Looking ahead, this could also lead to more future partnerships if the company remains on schedule."

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Atlas Lithium Corp. (ATLX:NASDAQ)

*Share Structure as of 3/20/2024

"Concurrent with the offtake announcement, management laid out the development timeline for the project targeting initial spodumene concentrate production under Phase 1 by 4Q24, which is a full year ahead of our prior estimate of 4Q25," noted Alliance Global Partners analyst Jake Sekelsky, who rated the stock a Buy, in an updated research note in December. "As a result, we are updating our model to reflect the company's new phased development approach and shorter development timeline to first production while lowering our lithium concentrate price deck to reflect current market conditions. As a result, we are reiterating our Buy rating and increasing our price target to (US)$75.00 from (US)$70.00 per share."

Ownership and Share Structure

About 40% of Atlas Lithium is owned by management and insiders. About 18% of the shareholders are institutional. The rest, about 42%, is retail.

Other top shareholders include Waratah Capital Advisors Ltd. with 6.13%, Invesco Capital Management LLC with 3.36%, Weiss Multi-Strategy Advisers LLC, with 2.57%, and Candace Shira Associates LLC with 2%.

Its market cap is about US$160 million. It trades in a 52-week range of US$45 and US$11.80.

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Important Disclosures:

  1. Atlas Lithium Corp. is a billboard sponsor of Streetwise Reports and pays SWR a monthly sponsorship fee between US$4,000 and US$5,000.
  2. As of the date of this article, officers and/or employees of Streetwise Reports LLC (including members of their household) own securities of Atlas Lithium Corp. 
  3. Steve Sobek wrote this article for Streetwise Reports LLC and provides services to Streetwise Reports as an employee.
  4.  This article does not constitute investment advice and is not a solicitation for any investment. Streetwise Reports does not render general or specific investment advice and the information on Streetwise Reports should not be considered a recommendation to buy or sell any security. Each reader is encouraged to consult with his or her personal financial adviser and perform their own comprehensive investment research. By opening this page, each reader accepts and agrees to Streetwise Reports' terms of use and full legal disclaimer. Streetwise Reports does not endorse or recommend the business, products, services or securities of any company. 

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