Russell: Welcome to another episode of Aqua Metals’ DeepDive, the podcast where we discuss company updates and other topics in the world of Lithium battery recycling. Today, I am once again joined by the President and CEO of Aqua Metals, Steve Cotton. Steve, thanks again for joining me!
Steve: Glad to be here, Russell!
Russell: Today’s discussion will cover ‘The Year Ahead’, including updates on the Sierra ARC, the recently announced GOED tax abatements, and some recent guests, so let’s dive in.
Question 1: With last month’s concrete pouring and the construction of the steel superstructure inside ARC Building 1, it seems like renovations are progressing smoothly. What’s next in terms of construction at the ARC, and what can we expect in terms of production level from Building 1 in comparison to the pilot facility?
Steve: Yeah, the build-out at the Sierra ARC is moving quickly and you can literally see the progress by the day at this stage. We’ve recently completed the concrete pour for all the new flooring and then after that cured, we installed the steel framework for our internal superstructures and equipment platforms. We’ve also upgraded the electrical and mechanical systems in preparation for the installation of a bunch of equipment that is arriving, and our on-time progress is also sticking with our anticipated budget, so we think that continues to pave the way for us to introduce our first input feedstock black mass into the Sierra ARC commercial facility in the first half of 2024, or said in another way by Q2. As a reminder, I would say that phase one of the commercial-scale recycling facility is on track to reach our target full-production capacity of 3,000 tonnes per year of black mass input in 2025, and that’s about 30,000 EV battery packs worth of critical battery minerals output.
Russell: Wow, it seems like when construction is complete in the coming years, Aqua Metals will have a strong foundation for future production.
Question 2: As we move on, it was announced late last week that Aqua Metals was selected to receive tax abatements of $2.2 million from the Nevada Governor’s Office of Economic Development. How will these abetments help Aqua Metals develop the ARC campus and what does it mean for Nevada’s clean energy economy as a whole?
Steve: Well, we really appreciate GOED’s support and their effort to support companies in the state of Nevada, of course including our own company, and we also appreciate the support of EDAWN, which is the Economic Development Authority of Western Nevada, for helping us through the application process. This support, in my view, really does speak to the state’s confidence in our vision for a more sustainable future and building a circular supply chain right here in the state of Nevada, and we think these abatements will bolster our efforts at the Sierra ARC and will contribute to the creation of more net-new, better-paying jobs and a safer working environment for everyone working at Aqua Metals, for which according to GOED’s calculations, the total economic impact of Aqua Metals’ investments and job creation to the state of Nevada, just from phase one of the Sierra ARC, is projected to total about $392 million over the next 10 years. And overall, our and other abatements in the space really help to significantly stimulate the growth of Nevada’s clean and renewable energy sector.
Russell: It’s truly exciting to see Aqua Metals recognized by the state as a leader in clean energy technologies moving forward!
Question 3: Earlier this week, Aqua Metals hosted a Dutch delegation of chemists from ChemistryNL at both the pilot facility and the Sierra ARC campus. Can you speak on the event and what it means for Aqua Metals in the future?
Steve: Sure, it was a great visit! The Netherlands Government wants the Dutch economy to be completely circular by 2050 and reduce the use of virgin metals by 50% by 2030, so they’re looking to build partnerships to accelerate these goals, hence the visit. Representatives from economic affairs, and climate policy, private sector contacts, as well as representatives from the Netherlands U.S. embassy and consulate general also attended, and our low-carbon tech was enticing to them and aligns, we think, really well with their ambitious goals for decarbonization. So we believe our tech can really help to shape the clean energy economy in the Netherlands and build on the Netherlands’ industrial and transportation sectors, and we’re looking forward to further engagement. We frequently host companies and government officials and other foreign partners and companies and are always open to more.
Russell: Steve, thanks again for joining me to discuss the state of Aqua Metals.
Steve: Thank you too, Russell. I’m always happy to share the latest updates to our shareholders and stakeholders. Until next time.
Disclaimer: This podcast is as of the date of recording and may contain forward-looking statements that are based on Aqua Metals’ management’s current expectations and beliefs. We encourage you to review our Investor Relations website at ir.aquametals.com for a more detailed discussion of the risks and uncertainties associated with forward-looking statements and for the most current information about the company.