Former Banker Outlines Psychedelics Opportunity in Australia

Peter Hunt spoke about the path ahead for the nascent industry in the country and how crucial advanced research is for the investment market.

While interest in the psychedelic drug development business is beginning to pick up, one Australia-based advocate said it’s still very early in the country.

In an interview with the Investing News Network (INN) Peter Hunt, chairman of Mind Medicine Australia, shared his expectations for the development of the psychedelics industry in Australia as the sector begins to accelerate in North America.

Mind Medicine Australia, which is not related to the Canadian psychedelics firm Mind Medicine (NEO:MMED), is a research and advocacy non-profit group looking to expand the conversation surrounding this alternative drug opportunity.

Hunt knows a thing or two about investment opportunities having retired in 2018 from a 37 year career in investment banking with Greenhill, which he co-founded.

“We’re all about developing the ecosystem down here so that these medicines can become available to Australians who need them. Irrespective of the wealth of the Australian, savings or whatnot, we want them to be broadly available through the medical system,” he said.

Treating mental health conditions with psychedelics

Hunt is passionate about the opportunity psychedelic medicines offer in treating various mental health conditions, such as depression, anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder.

Speaking recently at an online seminar designed to give investors a sense of the opportunity attached to psychedelics, Hunt said one in five Australian adults currently faces a chronic mental health illness, representing approximately 4.8 million people.

Hunt told INN he has not seen attacks against the psychedelic drug industry, which has greatly surprised him. Overall, there is much enthusiasm surrounding the potential of these drugs and the investment opportunity attached to the industry.

However, he has seen trepidation attached to a need for more data.

“We always need more research, but the problem is, when you’ve got lots of people suffering … you can keep doing research, but at some stage, you’ve got to say … let’s just start using (psychedelic medicines) in a safe environment with safe protocols and try and help people,” Hunt said.

Australian psychedelics market still young

When it comes to the investment landscape in the Australian psychedelics market compared to the space in Canada, Hunt said Australia still has a long way to go.

“It really is early days, and I think investors are just trying to understand the facts and the data,” he said.

When asked about the potential for a public listing of a psychedelics company in the Australian market, Hunt said it could very well happen before the end of the year.

“It’s probably going to be later this year, or sometime next year,” he said to INN. “I think it’s definitely going to happen.”

Roadblocks attached to research will see a shot in validity once a larger institution, such as a university, becomes a partner attached to a study with these medicines, Hunt said.

While he couldn’t confirm specific details at the time, Hunt said there are advanced discussions between his group and an Australian university to set up an official research partnership, which he said would be a huge boost for the growth of the sector in the country.

“Universities extend knowledge, and I think we’re just touching the surface in terms of just how powerful psychedelic medicine can be across a whole range of mental illnesses,” he said.

Don’t forget to follow us @INN_Australia for real-time news updates!

Securities Disclosure: I, Bryan Mc Govern, hold no direct investment interest in any company mentioned in this article.

Editorial Disclosure: The Investing News Network does not guarantee the accuracy or thoroughness of the information reported in the interviews it conducts. The opinions expressed in these interviews do not reflect the opinions of the Investing News Network and do not constitute investment advice. All readers are encouraged to perform their own due diligence.

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General Manager Matt Herbert described Ontario as an “undiscovered gem,” and spoke about the company’s work on its lithium projects in the province.


After making its ASX debut this past November, Green Technology Metals (ASX:GT1) has been hard at work in Ontario, Canada, where it holds three projects covering 35,000 hectares.

Speaking to the Investing News Network at the Prospectors & Developers Association of Canada (PDAC) convention, General Manager Matt Herbert described the province as an “undiscovered gem” with the potential to contribute to the lithium supply chain in an environmentally conscious manner.

“I think the opportunity there is to create some very, very green lithium,” he said.


“At the moment, a lot of lithium is mined in Western Australia, (then) shipped to China for processing; from China it goes to European battery markets. I think by the time that lithium arrives where it’s supposed to arrive it’s left itself a bit of a carbon footprint,” Herbert explained during the conversation. “We have a real opportunity here to leverage low-carbon lithium in a place that is really screaming for security.”

Green Technology Metals has already seen support from members of the Ontario government, including recently re-elected Premier Doug Ford, and Greg Rickford, who is the province’s minister of northern development, mines, natural resources and forestry, as well as its minister of indigenous affairs.

“Both are massive supporters of critical minerals,” said Herbert. “Those things are important when you’re at the permitting and approval stage, and that’s exactly where we’re at. We’re able to leverage those relationships really well, and there’s just no better place to be at the moment.”

Watch the interview above for more from Herbert on Green Technology Metals and its plans for the next six months. You can also click here for our recap of PDAC, and here for our full PDAC playlist on YouTube.

Don’t forget to follow us @INN_Australia for real-time updates!

Securities Disclosure: I, Charlotte McLeod, hold no direct investment interest in any company mentioned in this article.

Editorial Disclosure: Green Technology Metals is a client of the Investing News Network. This article is not paid-for content.

The Investing News Network does not guarantee the accuracy or thoroughness of the information reported in the interviews it conducts. The opinions expressed in these interviews do not reflect the opinions of the Investing News Network and do not constitute investment advice. All readers are encouraged to perform their own due diligence.

Housing the world’s largest deposits of lithium, Chile’s unique geological landscape and climate make it ideal for lithium brine extraction

As the world continues on the path towards a future dominated by clean energy, lithium’s importance only continues to grow. Demand for the battery metal has already reached an all-time high, increasing by 400 percent in 2021. What’s more, there is every indication that this growth will continue in 2022, with prices increasing by 126 percent in just the first quarter.

Currently, Australia and Chile are the two leading producers of lithium, respectively accounting for 46.3 percent and 23.9 percent of worldwide production. Both countries are jurisdictionally inclined to support the mining sector. However, Chile’s potential could one day see it outstrip even Australia where investment is concerned.

Housing the world’s largest deposits of lithium, Chile’s unique geological landscape and climate makes it ideal for lithium brine extraction. The country thus has a pivotal role to play in meeting demand and establishing a stable global supply chain.


A critical component of sustainability

Climate change is an undeniable problem, one which requires a collaborative effort to address. It is for this reason that governments around the world have all agreed to pursue full climate neutrality by 2050. Because combustion engines represent an inordinate percentage of greenhouse gas emissions, replacing them with electric vehicles (EV) is essential if any nation is to achieve their sustainability goals.

Lithium is used extensively in both consumer and professional electronics. It is also a staple metal in multiple other sectors, including mining, manufacturing and energy storage.

Given its cross-sector industrial importance, the battery metal was already in high demand.

The large-scale manufacturing of electric vehicles has caused this demand to increase exponentially. As multiple automotive manufacturers construct gigafactories to ramp up EV distribution, the need for lithium is growing well beyond our current production capacity.

Investors and mining companies can benefit by turning to jurisdictions like Chile to ramp up supply. The world’s migration towards a sustainable future simply cannot occur without lithium.

Lithium: Australia versus Chile

Although Australia houses impressive lithium reserves, the majority of the country’s stores occur in hard rock deposits. Mining these deposits is relatively inexpensive, but hard rock lithium operations also tend to have narrow margins compared to other methods. In particular, lithium brine extraction offers higher yields, greater efficiency and a lower overall environmental impact.

Currently, the largest lithium producer in Australia is Pilbara Minerals (ASX:PLS,OTC Pink:PILBF). Its flagship project, the Pilgangoora operation, is situated atop one of the world’s largest hard rock lithium deposits. It also jointly owns a pegmatite lithium project with Atlas Iron (ASX:AGO), the Mt Francisco project.

Geography represents Chile’s first major advantage over other jurisdictions. Alongside Bolivia and Argentina, Chile lays claim to a geographic region known as the Lithium Triangle. Located in the Andes in South America, it contains an estimated 68 percent of the world’s identified lithium resources.

The Lithium Triangle is home to a series of vast salt flats, beneath which sit incredibly lithium-rich brine pools. More promising still is the climate of the region, which is known for being incredibly hot and dry. This represents a considerable boon for extraction operations, which typically rely on evaporative processes.

A powerful investment opportunity

Chile’s mining sector has leveraged its arid geography to great effect. The country’s Salar de Atacama salt flat is the largest-producing brine deposit in the world. It is also home to several major lithium brine operations.

One of these is owned and operated by Albemarle (NYSE:ALB). Currently the largest business provider of lithium for electric vehicle batteries, Albemarle also operates a lithium carbonate plant at La Negra. According to an Albemarle spokesperson, the company has a long history in Chile backed by a unique contract.

SQM (NYSE:SQM) operates another major lithium brine operation in the salt flat. As the world’s largest lithium producer overall, the company recently announced plans to reduce brine extraction in the region by 50 percent by 2030. This announcement came in tandem with a commitment to reduce water usage across all its operations by 40 percent.

Finally, just south of Salar de Atacama is situated the highest-quality lithium pre-production project in Chile. Maricunga is jointly owned by Lithium Power International (ASX:LPI), Minera Salar Blanco and Li3 Energy. Situated just 250 kilometers from Chile’s coast, and 170 kilometers from the mining town of Copiapo, it’s said to possess characteristics directly comparable to Atacama. Maricunga is also adjacent to Highway 31, which connects Northern Chile to Argentina.

The most significant challenge to Chile’s growth, from an investment perspective, is sociopolitical. Although the country has a history of being relatively friendly towards the mining sector, its current government is exploring new legislation that could nationalize both copper and lithium. A new mining royalty bill is also in the works, which could increase tax rates by up to 80 percent.

It’s worth noting that not every investor considers the current political climate to be a risk. South32 (ASX:S32), a spinoff of BHP (ASX:BHP), recently invested US$1.55 billion to purchase a 45 percent stake in the Sierra Gorda copper mine, and a lithium auction held by Chile earlier this year saw Chinese manufacturing company BYD acquire extraction rights for 80,000 metric tons of lithium.

Takeaway

Chile is home to the largest, richest and most valuable lithium deposits in the world. For many investors, the high margins and low cost of lithium extraction in Chile more than make up for the potential of a few political speed bumps.

This INNSpired article is sponsored by Lithium Power International (ASX:LPI). This INNSpired article provides information that was sourced by the Investing News Network (INN) and approved by Lithium Power International in order to help investors learn more about the company. Lithium Power International is a client of INN. The company’s campaign fees pay for INN to create and update this INNSpired article.

This INNSpired article was written according to INN editorial standards to educate investors.

INN does not provide investment advice and the information on this profile should not be considered a recommendation to buy or sell any security. INN does not endorse or recommend the business, products, services or securities of any company profiled.

The information contained here is for information purposes only and is not to be construed as an offer or solicitation for the sale or purchase of securities. Readers should conduct their own research for all information publicly available concerning the company. Prior to making any investment decision, it is recommended that readers consult directly with Lithium Power International and seek advice from a qualified investment advisor.

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