It looks like SQM has finally waken up to the surging prices and lithium demand in China and has changed its narrative: "We can produce enough lithium for another One Thousand years". Maybe they know better now what Ganfeng Lithium knew long time ago buying lithium brine concentrate from SQM, but developing ints own resources in Argentina with International Lithium. Now you have the opportunity to better understand our strategy at International Lithium with Ganfeng Lithium and other strategic investors building vertically integrated lithium business with projects in Argentina, Canada and Ireland.
Another groundbreaking news for many even in the industry and definitely for a lot of investors will be Western Lithium story and transition from "Nevada Lithium Clay play to South American Lithium near term producer". There is clay for sure in those hills, but who can extract lithium economically even if Tesla's Gigafactory is so close like a dream? Will it be a waking up call for all clay deposits as Joe Lowry was writing extensively attracting a lot of criticism from die hard investors? We will see it very soon, so far we can only say that landscape in Lithium Industry is changing very fast and existing Lithium shortage will be very hard to meet with quality projects. Lithium Spodumene Hard Rock projects, the feeders for China's lithium converters, were on fire in Australia from the last year and now Brines will shine in Argentina as well.This particular passage from Lithium Americas NR is very revealing for the real state of the industry:
"Recognizing that over the past seven years well over US$1 billion has been invested globally in lithium development projects which has resulted to date in minimal increase in lithium supply, Lithium Americas has been evaluating options to ensure Cauchari-Olaroz is brought into production in a timely manner with the lowest possible development risk. Lithium Americas has considered proposals from potential partners from various parts of the world, and from leading companies representing different parts of the lithium battery supply chain. Lithium Americas has evaluated traditional and new processing technologies, and has also examined the possibility of developing Cauchari-Olaroz on a stand-alone or independent basis."
We are at the very initial stage of our Energy rEVolution, but we have already a full blown shortage of Lithium in China. Now this virus will be spreading very fast into other parts of the world chasing the Lithium Universe and China's leapfrog directly into the 21st century post carbon economy. In China now 28 companies are making 51 models of electric cars, they cannot match Tesla yet, but Elon Musk and his lithium technology are coming to China very soon with Tesla Model 3. We are just at the very beginning of exponential rise for EV sales with GM Bolt and Tesla Model 3 coming out this and next year respectively. Tune on to Tesla Motors on March 31st to see the future. Read more."
International Lithium President, Kirill Klip comments "International Lithium is beginning a new phase of strategic developments through new potential acquisitions and strategic partnerships. The availability of affordable electric cars is almost here with models like GM's Bolt and Tesla's Model 3 coming into production this and next year. This will greatly increase the demand for lithium batteries in North America. Our new strategy recognizes this opportunity and we seek to meet the demand for lithium in North America's massive automotive markets. Together with Ganfeng Lithium we continue to advance our projects in Argentina and Ireland building on a vertically integrated lithium business in China, the centre of today's lithium industry where prices for the green energy metal are currently escalating. Newly formed alliances with companies like Pioneer Resources, will help us focus our expertise in recognising opportunities and building up a resource base, while minimising our capital outlay to advance the projects to build the secure supply of lithium for the North American market." Read more.
Mr Kirill Klip, President, International Lithium Corp. stated: "We are very pleased that International Lithium is opening a new strategic phase of expanding its operations in North America. We are at the very beginning of the mass market for electric cars with GM Bolt and Tesla Model 3 coming into production this and next year respectively. Recent huge spike in lithium prices in China, the centre of lithium industry today, has demonstrated the importance of our strategic partnership with Ganfeng Lithium in building the vertically integrated lithium business with our J/V projects in Argentina and Ireland. We envision that North American market, which is dominated by producers from Asia, will start to build its own lithium batteries production facilities like Tesla Gigafactory in Nevada, U.S. This transaction is the first step for ILC in building the secure supply of lithium for the North American market." Read more."
Mr. Gary Schellenberg, CEO, International Lithium Corp. stated, "This is the first step of our new strategy developed for North America. We see an escalating demand for lithium in North America, especially in the automotive sector with new sources being either many years away, or with logistic and metallurgical challenges. Our strategy for the Upper Canada region sees us advancing a multitude of smaller deposits that possess near perfect accessible infrastructure and that can supply a central lithium carbonate processing facility. Identifying smaller high-grade deposits within close proximity can greatly enhance the economics of a processing facility as well as allowing these smaller deposits to be mined at a greatly reduced CAPEX. We intend on bringing our strategy to reality through strategic partners, like Pioneer, that share our vision."
All good things take time, care and patience. Lithium Technology is here and Energy rEVolution is coming next to you with GM Bolt and Tesla Model 3 igniting the mass market for electric cars. Slowly, but surely we are building our Vertically Integrated Lithium Business with Ganfeng Lithium with our J/V projects in Ireland and Argentina. Now it is time for Canada to shine and that wind for our sails I was talking last Fall about is coming. We have survived during the storm on the sand bank, now we know what to do when the tide is coming. I welcome all our new Partners to International Lithium, fasten your seatbelt, we are moving forward.
We are moving full speed ahead in Argentina and starting our very close collaboration with Ganfeng Lithium by utilising their unique advanced R&D technology in extraction and producing Lithium Materials. Finally, this beautiful country will live to its full potential, proud people of Argentina is taking their country back!
Mr. Kirill Klip, President, International Lithium Corp. comments, "We are very pleased to be starting the first stage of our 2016 program with Ganfeng at Salar de Llullaillaco. The results of this work will prepare us for larger scale field tests at the salar.
The newly elected government in Argentina is taking several steps that will improve operating conditions for mining companies. These steps are opening a new chapter in Argentina's economic development and ILC is very proud to be part of this 21st century international cooperation!"
Mr. Kirill Klip, President, International Lithium Corp. comments, "We have always viewed Argentina as a favorable location for mineral exploration and development and have been able to operate in a mutually beneficial manner with the local people and governments. The results of the recent elections have managed to give foreign corporations greater confidence in the future of business and mineral resource development in Argentina. We welcome the change and look forward to working with the newly elected officials and advancing our Mariana lithium brine project in cooperation with our strategic partner, Ganfeng Lithium. Security of lithium supply is becoming more important as witnessed by recent price increases in China, all in advance of the completion of new battery production facilities announced by Tesla and other manufacturers. We continue to build a vertically integrated lithium business with Ganfeng Lithium to meet the future demand of lithium products that will address the increasing demands for lithium raw materials and chemical products." Read more."
"Mr. Kirill Klip, President, International Lithium Corp. comments, "The Avalonia project joint venture, fully funded by strategic partner Ganfeng Lithium Co. Ltd., ("GFL"), could be of strategic importance to the European Union should a sufficient resource be identified. Clean fuel technologies for motor vehicles are becoming increasingly important to the European Economic Community to tackle climate change and the air pollution crisis in major urban areas. Lithium technology will play a major role when it comes to providing batteries for communication devices, electric vehicles and utility storage systems. Renewable sources of energy such as solar and wind power will also benefit from lithium battery technologies and become more commonplace as the problem of intermittency will be addressed providing steady power from these sources 24/7." Read more."
"I am glad that Apple looks like not to be involved in this project and we still can hope that it will reach 1 Trillion Market Cap with its own electric car catering mobility powered by lithium technology with bottled electricity to the masses. The real game changer is coming this year with Tesla Model 3, GM Bolt, BYD and Tesla Gigafactory with Megafactories to follow."
Lithium Americas Corp:
Lithium Americas and SQM Announce Joint Venture
VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA--(Marketwired - March 28, 2016) -Lithium Americas Corp. ("Lithium Americas", or "LAC") (TSX:WLC)(OTCQX: WLCDF)(formerly Western Lithium USA Corporation) is pleased to announce a definitive agreement with Sociedad Química y Minera de Chile S.A. ("SQM") (NYSE:SQM)(SSE:SQM.B)(SSE:SQM.A) to enter into a 50/50 joint venture (the "Joint Venture") on the Cauchari-Olaroz lithium project in Jujuy, Argentina (the "Joint Venture Transaction").
The Joint Venture will go into effect following a capital contribution of US$25 million by SQM in exchange for a 50% ownership stake in Minera Exar S.A. ("Minera Exar"), a wholly owned subsidiary of LAC. SQM's contribution includes US$15 million to repay intercompany loans between Minera Exar and LAC; the remaining US$10 million will be allocated to project development. SQM and LAC intend to immediately advance a work and engineering plan, which contemplates completion of an updated definitive feasibility study based on an existing study for Cauchari that was completed by Minera Exar in 2012. The updated study will evaluate economic feasibility for a project with a nameplate production capacity of approximately 40,000 metric tons per year of lithium carbonate equivalent. Depending on the results of the study, the project may be executed in stages.
Tom Hodgson, Chief Executive Officer of LAC, commented, "SQM is the world leader in lithium production with decades of development and operating experience and a strong team of technical and commercial talent. It also has a track record of success as a partner in many global joint ventures. One of the principal objectives of the Joint Venture is to leverage the technical experience of SQM to materially de-risk the development of Cauchari-Olaroz and to successfully advance the project to bring new supply to the market on a timely basis. Lithium plays an important strategic role in the energy revolution and it is critical that our industry respond by delivering more supply to meet increasing demand."
Patricio de Solminihac, Chief Executive Officer of SQM, commented, "SQM is committed to the lithium business, both in Chile and abroad. The Salar de Caucharí is a great complement to our existing lithium operations in Chile, and it is located just a few hundred kilometers from the Salar de Atacama. We expect to have similar production processes at both sites, and as a result we should benefit from operating synergies."
Mr. de Solminihac continued, "We are confident that this joint venture will generate value for our shareholders. We believe that SQM's years of experience in the lithium business, and our vast distribution network, combined with LAC's knowledge of the Salar de Caucharí and its stakeholders, will prove to be key advantages that will contribute to the success of this project."
Recognizing that over the past seven years well over US$1 billion has been invested globally in lithium development projects which has resulted to date in minimal increase in lithium supply, Lithium Americas has been evaluating options to ensure Cauchari-Olaroz is brought into production in a timely manner with the lowest possible development risk. Lithium Americas has considered proposals from potential partners from various parts of the world, and from leading companies representing different parts of the lithium battery supply chain. Lithium Americas has evaluated traditional and new processing technologies, and has also examined the possibility of developing Cauchari-Olaroz on a stand-alone or independent basis.
John Kanellitsas, Vice Chairman of Lithium Americas, commented, "Lithium Americas' board has determined that SQM represents the premier partner in the world for our project. Their understanding of brine chemistries, pond and chemical plant construction, knowledge of all end-user product specifications and the collaborative approach with our team were important criteria in our selection process. We believe that SQM is the world's largest and lowest cost producer of lithium from brines and our board has determined that a joint venture with SQM in which we pursue a production path utilizing a proven, low-cost brine evaporation process represents the optimal course to maximize long term value for Lithium Americas' shareholders."
Cauchari-Olaroz is believed to be the world's 3rd largest lithium brine resource and is fully permitted for immediate construction and development. The project benefits from excellent infrastructure including a nearby natural gas pipeline, a paved international highway with direct access to Salar de Atacama and a deep sea port, fresh water on site, and strong support from local communities and the government of Jujuy province. Since its inception in 2009, Lithium Americas has invested over CDN$80 million in a resource exploration and project development program which includes resource definition, advanced modeling, approximately 10,000 meters of drilling, testing and pumping wells and 43-101 technical studies, including a definitive Feasibility Study ("dFS") completed in 2012. The 2012 dFS was based on a production capacity of 20,000 TPA lithium carbonate and resulted in a post-tax NPV of US$464M with average annual net cash flows of US$117M, and was based on forecasted LCE average prices of approximately US$5,900, well below current world prices. The Joint Venture is targeting a production capacity of approximately 40,000 TPA lithium equivalent in its upcoming development plan investigations.
Franco Mignacco, President of Minera Exar, commented, "We are very pleased to welcome our neighbor SQM as our partner to advance the project in Jujuy Province of Argentina, which is fully permitted and ready for construction. As stewards of one of the world's great lithium brine resources at the Cauchari salar, we are delighted to enter into this commercial partnership with SQM, who will be investing both its capital and its talent. The Joint Venture also demonstrates success for all stakeholders and local communities from the policies of the new Argentine government in its desire to attract foreign investment."
Information of a scientific and technical nature in this news release in respect of the Cauchari-Olaroz Lithium Project has been approved by Roger Kelley (Chem. Eng.), a qualified person for purposes of National Instrument 43-101. For further information about the dFS, please refer to the Technical Report dated July 11, 2012, entitled "Feasibility Study, Reserve Estimation and Lithium Carbonate and Potash Production on the Cauchari-Olaroz Salars, Jujuy Province, Argentina" filed on LAC's SEDAR profile on December 23, 2015.
About Lithium Americas
Lithium Americas is the parent company of Minera Exar S.A., which is developing the Cauchari-Olaroz Lithium Project, located in Jujuy, Argentina, in a joint venture with SQM. Lithium Americas also is the parent to Lithium Nevada Corp., which owns one of the largest lithium resources in North America, and Hectatone Inc., which produces specialty drilling additives and other organoclay products.
Statements in this release that are forward-looking information are subject to various risks and uncertainties concerning the specific factors disclosed here and elsewhere in the company's periodic filings with Canadian securities regulators. When used in this document, the words such as "expect," "believe," "planned", "scheduled," "targeting" and similar expressions is forward-looking information. Information provided in this document is necessarily summarized and may not contain all available material information.
Statements in this release that constitute forward-looking statements or information include, but are not limited to: (NYSE:I) timing of completion of a new feasibility study and expected production outcomes from that study; and (ii) the size and production cost applicable to SQM's lithium brine operations.
All such forward-looking information and statements are based on certain assumptions and analyses made by Western Lithium management in light of their experience and perception of historical trends, current conditions and expected future developments, as well as other factors management believes are appropriate in the circumstances. These statements, however, are subject to a variety of risks and uncertainties and other factors that could cause actual events or results to differ materially from those projected in the forward-looking information or statements. Important factors that could cause actual results to differ from these forward-looking statements include those described under the heading "Risks Factors" in the Western Lithium's most recently filed MD&A. The company does not intend, and expressly disclaims any obligation to, update or revise the forward-looking information contained in this news release, except as required by law. Readers are cautioned not to place undue reliance on forward-looking information or statements."
Disclosure: I am/we are long TRRXF, ILHMF.