Avalon CEO Don Bubar retires

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Avalon Advanced Minerals Inc. [AVL-TSX, OTC-AVLNF] on Friday announced the retirement of its long-standing CEO Don Bubar. He will be replaced on an interim basis by Scott Monteith, who was recently appointed to the company’s board of directors.

The company said Monteith is an experience clean tech executive, entrepreneur and business owner with a successful track record of moving inventions from concept to commercial success. He has extensive experience in the areas of chemical manufacturing, international businesses, M&A, government affairs and strategic planning.

Avalon is a lithium-focused mineral development company engaged in advancing critical mineral projects to support the North American battery supply chain. Avalon shares were unchanged at 12 cents Friday and currently trade in a 52-week range of 18.5 cents and 10 cents.

Avalon said Bubar , who has led the company for more than 25 years, will continue to serve as a director. During his long spell as CEO he grew the company’s flagship Separation Rapids Lithium Project, near Kenora, Ont., from exploration and development stage, positioning the project for the upcoming demand in lithium, driven by the shift to electrification.

Avalon is currently focused on developing its Separation Rapids project, while continuing to advance other projects, including the 100%-owned Lilypad Spodumene-Cesium-Tantalum project near Fort Hope, Ont.

“Avalon’s new strategic direction, and the key to unlocking shareholder value, focuses on advancing Separation Rapids through continued exploration and project development work,’’ said Zeeshan Syed, who was recently named President of Avalon. “Accelerated growth within our entire lithium portfolio will position the company as a substantial contributor to the North American critical minerals sector,’’ he said. “Importantly, this mandate is supported by plans to assemble an execution-focused team of professionals at the corporate and Board level.’’

Syed was tasked with leading the company’s growth and commercial strategy. Rickardo Welyhorsky was named Chief Operating Officer, to lead key project initiatives and development work related to the company’s portfolio.

Meanwhile, the company’s exploration plans for 2023 include drilling the Snowbank target, which lies 6.0 kilometres northwest of Separation Rapids, and continued drilling at Separation Rapids and Lilypad.

The company is in discussions with various engineering firms in preparation for a definitive feasibility study at Separation Rapids.

Avalon was in the news last year when the company said it is investigating collaborative opportunities to establish a lithium processing facility in Northwestern Ontario. The move came after Ontario Premier Doug Ford recently revealed Ontario’s interest in establishing new battery materials supply chains in the province.

The proposed lithium hydroxide conversion facility remains an important part of Avalon’s growth strategy. The company said it would also accept concentrates from other producers of lithium minerals from the many pegmatic deposits that occur in northern Ontario, Avalon said. The company is finalizing the purchase of an industrial site in Thunder Bay, Ont.

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