Back in January, our Stockhouse audience was introduced to a different kind of Canadian mineral development company focused on metals and minerals for use in clean energy and new technology - Avalon Advanced Materials Inc. (TSX.AVL, OTC: AVLNF, Forum). Recently, Stockhouse Media's Dave Jackson met up again with company President and CEO Don Bubar to get our investor audience caught up on all things Avalon Advanced Materials.

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SH | Don, you just released a progress report on current work programs. Can you expand on your projects for our investor audience and what's, currently, your prime focus?

DB | Our main focus is still our Separation Rapids Lithium Project for obvious reasons. There's so much interest in creating new lithium supply chains here, but we also re-activated our Lilypad cesium tantalum lithium project as an opportunity because there is a real global shortage of cesium right now and this is one of the very few known resources in the world of that potential to actually create a significant new supply. So we've got that project activated again and we're doing some field work there to get it ready for some more drilling and recover more samples to test how to more efficiently recover the cesium mineral pollucite but Separation Rapids is still all about producing some product samples to get interest from the downstream consumers of our products to get those commitments that'll allow us to justify investing in getting the needed process facilities established to start scaling up the operation.

SH | In regard to your Separation Rapids Lithium Project, what exactly is the Dense Media Separation plant, what does it do, and why is it necessary for Avalon to have one?

DB | Yeah, so this is a relatively new processing technology that uses principles of gravity to separate minerals based on their specific gravity. So it doesn't require the amount of work that a flotation circuit does where lots of chemical reagents and it creates a fairly clean product that is well suited for the applications for our lithium mineral petalite in glass and ceramics. So that's why we wanted to use it, very efficient, relatively low cost and we needed a plant that could start to produce the trial quantities of the product to get it introduced into the market from the many consumers in different parts of the world that have expressed an interest in the petalite product. So we've got access to a second hand one now, we're in the process of securing to get it set up, to start producing it and it can be used for trial purposes on other minerals who want to recover from other projects as well as Separation Rapids going forward and then once we get the market established it's a growth opportunity.

SH | A lot of resource companies talk about ESG and clean technology these days, but you really deliver on this. How so and why?

DB | Well we've been at it for a long time. We recognized over 10 years ago that if you're going to produce commodities like the rare earth elements that are increasingly being used, a new clean technology, a lot of the manufacturers that use them in those technologies are auditing their supply chains to make sure that those elements are produced in sustainable ways. So we recognize that 10 years ago when we were working hard to get our Nechalacho Rare Earths project going, and it's kind of stuck with it ever since realizing that that was probably a trend that was going to continue and grow and it certainly has. So we started producing our first annual sustainability report 10 years ago, we continue to do that, and we have somebody on our team, Mark Wiseman, our VP sustainability, who is an expert on all things related to sustainability and environmental assessment. So that strengthened our whole story.

SH | The Company looks set for strong growth. How are you placed to expand operations to meet this demand for clean energy and new technology metals?

DB | Well, one of the things I wanted to mention briefly and related to ESG is how we're also looking at a couple of projects that are opportunities to recover these rare elements from historic mine wastes and do it in very efficient ways, simply by re processing the tailings and waste rock piles and then cleaning up the long-term environmental liability while you do it. We have two such sites now that we're trying to get started and I see that as being a bright future for the whole industry here in Canada as a way to produce these efficiently without new environmental impacts compared to developing a whole new mineral deposit. It's been challenging because this is not part of the culture of the industry and the regulations have always treated closed mine sites as perpetual liabilities and no GO zones but that is starting to change the federal government now is starting to recognize how we can create the circular economy here in Canada and the mining industry by using historic mine wastes as opportunities to recover these rare elements in many cases in mines that were developed decades ago for one traditional commodity, but the resource contained other elements that had no value then but do, today.

SH | What can you tell our investor audience regarding the current valuation of your stock and why you think it's a good buy right now?

DB | Well, basically I think we haven't had as much regular news flow as a lot of investors would like to see. So we have a spike of interest back in February when we announced the deal to acquire this new closed mine site asset that has rare-earths in the wastes that couldn't be recovered very efficiently and that was at a time when rare-earths were getting a lot of attention for being a scarce, higher price, in very short supply and lots of media attention. So that was kind of the reason for that spike and now it's a matter of creating a little bit more news flow to start to generate a little bit more buying interest and we're getting pretty close on a number of fronts here to generating more positive news. So it's good time for investors to look at our stock as a buying opportunity.

SH | Can you tell our audience a little bit about your corporate management and board teams, along with the experience and innovative ideas they bring to the critical minerals space?

DB | Well, we've been in this business for 25 years now. So when we first acquired our lithium project the team that we have been with us for most of those 25 years and have developed the experience and expertise in the sector as I have over the years, it wasn't my original focus either when I first got started in this business and so we now have a number of people on our team with that experience. Our Vice President of Exploration Bill Mercer's been in the business now for well over 45 years, just like myself and we have learned a lot. One of the things we learned is that you have to have a real focus on how to process these materials efficiently to make the product to suit the needs of the market. So having real expertise on the process technology is very important and then Dave Marsh, we have a real expert that's been very creative in innovating ways to recover the minerals of interest from our various project opportunities.

SH | And finally, Don, if there's anything I've overlooked please feel free to elaborate.

DB | Well, I think we've covered most everything and I think it's worth emphasizing to people that this is now a whole new world of opportunity with these so-called critical minerals and it has to be now seen as a very different business from the traditional mining sector and that really is about technology and you have to start at a modest scale, prove your product, then get it accepted in the market and then you grow your business. So it's really more of a growth technology business rather than a mining business and that's a point I try to emphasize all the time. It's really, really different and for investors, you've got to look at it as a growth opportunity too.

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FULL DISCLOSURE: This is a paid article produced by Stockhouse Publishing.