Backing Winners is Stockhead’s regular recap of executives with a solid track record looking to replicate the success of their previous roles.

Today we hear from Nick Rowley, strategic advisor to Manhattan Corp (ASX:MHC) who was previously business development manager for Galaxy Resources.


What does your previous experience with Galaxy Resources, and in the lithium sector more broadly, bring to your work with Manhattan Corp?

I’ve been involved in the lithium sector for a little over 10 years now. I started with Galaxy in around 2012 and I ran the marketing and sales department and business development side.

Early on in my time, we brought the Mt Cattlin mine back online, which was on care and maintenance, and I was selling lithium concentrate through to China, at the same time as Greenbushes was – we were really the only two suppliers in the market. In fact, we had a five-year head start on selling product over all the other producers that came online a bit later.

At one stage, I was even the only one selling to the Chinese, so I built a pretty unique relationship with a lot of the Chinese converters, but also more broadly selling into Japan and South Korea via China. 

My role there culminated with the merger of Orocobre and Galaxy to create Allkem in 2021. I left there with a few individuals from Galaxy to set up our own business and now I’ve relocated to Dubai, where we headquartered a lithium trading business. We also run a boutique engineering group called R-Tek International which has just finished commissioning the Sigma Lithium’s plant in Brazil, and has just hit nameplate.

While I’m not involved in Manhattan on an executive basis, I’m helping out bringing my strategic relationships to the mix to help them. 

I was actually a vendor on the Chebogue lithium project in Nova Scotia and sold those properties to the company. We picked up the project because we were looking for a project in Canada and because we knew the lithium was very unique, coarse-grain spodumene, large coarse-grain crystals, and easy to process.

We had some challenges when we were in James Bay with Galaxy, because it’s up 1,400km from port, it’s minus 30-40 degrees for four or five months of the year, civil and mining costs are a lot more than other parts of the world, and we found that extremely challenging. 

So, what our team set out to do was find a project that was still in Canada, but closer to the port with logistics costs that were manageable and infrastructure around and that’s where we landed on Nova Scotia with a project covering up to 100km of what we think is potential mineralisation just 25-40km from port.

That’s how we came about the project and Manhattan as the vehicle.


Do you think Manhattan could replicate the kind of success that Galaxy saw?

Look, it’s got a lot of work to do, but the potential here is enormous, because this project has 100km of potential mineralisation.

We’ve got multiple deep-sea ports surrounding the project, and the infrastructure and logistics to really make this a success. 

Plus, if you look at the location of this project, you can easily feed the North American and European markets, which I think are going to be the big performers at the back end of this decade. 

So yes, we’ve got to get in and do a large exploration campaign, but the potential there is for a company-making project.

The company just reported second and third spodumene-bearing discovery at the BP prospect, and it’s showing there’s a minimum of two different bedrock sources, so we think two dykes at least.

A total of 13 out of 18 samples have come back over 1% lithium, which is very interesting, so we’re targeting that area, which is around 3.4kms by 2.2kms in width.

We will finish the soil sampling and exploration program on the surface, and then we’ll focus on drilling that in the near term. 

And that’s really our focus – we’ll drill this extended strike and see what it comes back with, and how big these dykes are. 

These pegmatites work in swarms, so when you find one, you usually find a lot more. 


Is there anything you want to add?

I think it’s not just my experience, it’s our team. We’ve got operational expertise, we’ve got our Canadian team on the ground in Nova Scotia and geologists that have worked on lithium for many years and made major discoveries in Zimbabwe and South America. 

If you bring all that to the mix, plus my expertise with the customers and the downstream players, we’ve got a recipe for success to make this project work from the very start. 

I think we’re ready to go, if we make a discovery.


MHC share price today:


At Stockhead we tell it like it is. While Manhattan Corp is a Stockhead advertiser, it did not sponsor this article.