TAMPA, Fla.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Odyssey Marine Exploration, Inc. (NASDAQ:OMEX), a global subsea mineral exploration and development company, provided a corporate update.
“The second quarter was an important period for Odyssey, as the company made considerable progress in ensuring the company’s future as a leader in the exploration and development of critical mineral resources across the globe. To be clear, ensuring a favorable outcome in the company’s ongoing NAFTA litigation with Mexico remains its most important objective. While these efforts have taken more time and resources than expected, Odyssey is more optimistic than ever that it will succeed in driving a positive response for shareholders,” stated Mark Gordon, Odyssey Marine Exploration’s Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of the Board.
“In mid-June, Odyssey closed a registered direct offering of equity securities that has allowed the company to continue to deleverage its balance sheet while also providing capital for Odyssey’s ongoing operations and projects. Odyssey expects this financing to carry the company through a decision on the NAFTA arbitration,” said Christopher Jones, Odyssey Chief Financial Officer. “Additionally, the capital will provide for targeted investments in key mineral projects that will help power the shift to renewable energy sources.”
“The company reduced debt by over $5.0 million in the quarter. Importantly, the company remains cautiously optimistic that it will continue to make progress on this front, both in reducing debt and extending maturities, to ensure long-term success for the company,” continued Jones.
“Finally, whether it’s countries seeking to secure phosphate for fertilizer production or OEMs looking for an alternate supply of critical metals to power renewable energy technologies, Odyssey remains focused on developing its already diverse portfolio of projects that can deliver these resources. Several of our projects are advancing through the development curve, reducing the risk and increasing the value associated with these assets. Our research team is also actively identifying new projects that will leverage our experience in deep-water exploration and we are currently evaluating a new project that already has licenses and exploration results,” finished Gordon.
Odyssey’s project development focus is on mineral types that can be extracted economically with minimal environmental impact while offering the potential to provide an abundant source of minerals that will benefit society. The company believes subsea phosphorite deposits and polymetallic nodule resources are two of the best options for near-term extraction.
ExO Phosphate Project
Odyssey currently owns 56.3% of this project with an option to increase equity ownership to 65.0% upon conversion of debt. The project is currently the subject of a NAFTA arbitration action against Mexico. Both parties have completed filing all witness statements, expert reports and evidence in the case. Odyssey’s filings are available at https://www.odysseymarine.com/nafta. The final merits hearing took place on May 10, 2022, before the NAFTA Tribunal. According to the procedural calendar, written closing arguments will be filed in late August 2022, subject to any short extensions. Then the evidentiary phase of the case will be closed, and the Tribunal can begin its deliberations. Odyssey cannot predict the length of these deliberations or when a ruling will be issued, but we remain confident in the merits of our case. Odyssey’s filings demonstrate that the project did not receive fair and equitable treatment by Mexico resulting in the illegal denial of the ExO Phosphate Project Environmental Permit. The project’s NI 43-101 highlights the strategic size and grade of the resource, the operational viability of the project, and the project’s value.
CIC Ocean Research Project (Polymetallic Nodules)
Odyssey currently holds 13.9% of CIC Limited (a company founded and led by Greg Stemm, Odyssey’s co-founder and former CEO). Odyssey has the ability to earn up to 20.0 million equity units over the next several years, which represents an approximate 16.0% interest in CIC based on the currently outstanding equity units. This means the company can earn approximately 3.5 million additional equity units in CIC under our current services agreement. Odyssey also provides support to the project as a marine services provider to CIC and as a member of the CIC Consortium, which includes Royal Boskalis Westminster NV and five other companies. On February 23, 2022, CIC was awarded a five-year exploration license by the Cook Islands and commenced exploration activities in June 2022.
South American Phosphate Project:
Odyssey entered into a Memorandum of Understanding to create a joint venture (JV) company in which Odyssey will own a 75% interest. The new company will have exclusive rights to a minimum of 19 areas (380 km2 of seabed) believed to be highly prospective for phosphorite deposits in an Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) of a country in South America. Legacy data and desktop research indicate high-grade phosphate deposits in the concession areas. Pending execution of the definitive agreement, Odyssey will manage the overall Phosphate Project development, and the local JV partner will manage business operations. A related party to the JV partner will provide marine operations services, supervised by Odyssey. It is anticipated that the South American deposits can be extracted with the standard and similar technology and engineering solutions already identified for the ExO Project, which will allow the phosphate to be recovered in an environmentally responsible manner without the addition of any chemicals into the sea.
Lihir Subsea Gold Project
Odyssey’s ownership stake in this project is 85.6%. The license area is adjacent to Lihir Island, Papua New Guinea, where one of the world’s largest terrestrial gold deposits is currently being mined and processed by Newcrest Mining. Further development of this project is dependent on the characterization of any present resources during exploration.
About Odyssey Marine Exploration
Odyssey Marine Exploration, Inc. (Nasdaq: OMEX) is a deep-ocean exploration pioneer engaged in the discovery, validation and development of subsea mineral deposits in a socially and environmentally responsible manner. Odyssey’s growing project portfolio includes different mineral sets in various jurisdictions around the world. Odyssey also provides marine services for private clients and governments. For additional details, please visit www.odysseymarine.com. An investor presentation is available in the Investors section of the website.
Forward Looking Information
Odyssey Marine Exploration believes the information set forth in this Press Release may include "forward looking statements" within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995, Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933 and Section 21E of the Securities Act of 1934. Certain factors that could cause results to differ materially from those projected in the forward-looking statements are set forth in "Risk Factors" in Part I, Item 1A of the Company's Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2021, which was filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission on March 31, 2021. The financial and operating projections as well as estimates of mining assets are based solely on the assumptions developed by Odyssey that it believes are reasonable based upon information available to Odyssey as of the date of this release. All projections and estimates are subject to material uncertainties and should not be viewed as a prediction or an assurance of actual future performance. The validity and accuracy of Odyssey's projections will depend upon unpredictable future events, many of which are beyond Odyssey's control and, accordingly, no assurance can be given that Odyssey's assumptions will prove true or that its projected results will be achieved.
Cautionary Note to U.S. Investors
The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) permits mining companies, in their filings with the SEC, to disclose only those mineral deposits that a company can economically and legally extract or produce. We may use certain terms in this press release, such as "measured", "indicated," "inferred" and "resources," which the SEC guidelines strictly prohibit us from including in our filings with the SEC. "Inferred mineral resources" have a great amount of uncertainty as to their existence, and great uncertainty as to their economic and legal feasibility. It cannot be assumed that all or any part of an inferred mineral resource will ever be upgraded to a higher category. U.S. investors are cautioned not to assume that part or all of the inferred mineral resource exists, or is economically or legally mineable, and are urged to consider closely the disclosures in our Form 10-K which may be secured from us or from the SEC's website at http://www.sec.gov/edgar.shtml.