Joint Venture Partner an Experienced Consortium of Argentina-Based Firms
Initial Lithium Products Anticipated Within 15 Months of Pond Construction
VANCOUVER, May 12, 2016 /CNW/ - Lithium X Energy Corp. ("Lithium X", or the "Company") (TSX-V: LIX) (OTCQB: LIXXF) is pleased to announce that the Company's 50% owned subsidiary Potasio y Litio de Argentina SA ("PLASA"), which owns 100% of the Sal de los Angeles lithium-potash brine project ("Sal de los Angeles Project", or the "Project") in Argentina, has entered into a definitive Union Transitoria agreement ("JV Agreement") with Salta Exploraciones SA ("SESA") for the development of a pilot lithium production facility at the Project. Lithium X has the option to acquire up to 80% of PLASA.
The JV Agreement sets out the terms of a Joint Venture ("JV Company") for the construction, operation, production and sales of a pilot facility, designed to produce up to 5,000 tonnes per annum ("tpa") of lithium carbonate equivalent ("LCE"). SESA is a consortium of Argentina-based engineering and construction firms with extensive experience in the design, construction and operation of lithium brine facilities in Argentina's Puna region, where Sal de los Angeles is located.
Under the terms of the JV Agreement, in order to earn a 50% stake in the JV Company, SESA must contribute an estimated US$6 million or the required amount for the construction and operation of an initial 2,500 tpa LCE ponding facility by incurring all construction costs, including one full year of post-construction operation. PLASA shall contribute US$3.3 million for a 30% contributing participation in the JV Company and the right to commercialize the lithium products. In addition, PLASA is also fully carried for the remaining 20% for contributing brine from existing wells on the Project, including a free-flowing artesian well that is estimated to supply the operation during the initial years.
The JV Company shall have the option to increase its operating facilities to 5,000 tpa LCE upon completing a full 12-month period of cash flow positive operations on an after-tax basis. SESA shall be the operator of the JV Company under the direction of an evenly balanced Operating Committee. The JV Company ponding facility is restricted to 100 hectares (approximately 1%) of the 8,156 hectares that comprise the Sal de los Angeles property.
"This JV Agreement is a major accomplishment for Lithium X," stated Paul Matysek, Executive Chairman of Lithium X. "It represents an important step towards full scale lithium production. The agreement also secures both the financial contribution, know-how and operation of several engineering and construction groups that have been involved in the design, build and/or operation of three construction and development-stage lithium brine projects in Argentina over the last five years."
"We are delighted to have reached an agreement and feel certain that the complimentary skill sets and strong relationship of cooperation between the parties will lead to many benefits for the respective shareholders and the local communities," commented Diego Pestaña, President of SESA.
"This is a major vote of confidence for the outstanding quality of the Sal de los Angeles project from a group that has worked on and/or evaluated most lithium brine projects in Argentina," added Lithium X CEO Brian Paes-Braga. "This agreement does not encumber further production on the property, leaving 99 percent of the Project available for development."
The Sal de los Angeles Project covers more than 95% of the Salar de Diablillos property located in Salta province at an average elevation of approximately 4,050 metres above sea level. The Project includes 32 mining claims covering approximately 8,156 hectares and is located near FMC Corp.'s Salar de Hombre Muerto lithium deposit, one of the world's largest lithium operations.
Pursuant to the definitive JV Agreement dated May 8, 2016 entered into between SESA and PLASA a JV Company has been formed with the objective of building a ponding facility designed to produce an initial 2,500 tonnes of lithium carbonate equivalent per year. The agreement has a 25-year mining term, throughout which PLASA is fully carried for 20% in return for contributing sufficient brine to the JV Company's ponding facility. SESA shall contribute US$6 million and operate the facility, as well as incur any cost overruns in the building of the initial well, pumping, piping, liming and ponding facilities capable of producing between 2,000 and 2,500 tpa LCE. PLASA shall contribute US$3.3 million over 12 months, with an initial contribution of US$200,000 within 30 days of receiving all the necessary permits.
An Operating Committee has been formed, comprised of 2 members representing PLASA and 2 members representing SESA. The Operating Committee shall direct and oversee all aspects of the engineering, construction and operation of the facilities, and is currently planning construction. The operator shall be under the direction of the Operating Committee. Pursuant to the terms of the JV Agreement, SESA shall submit detailed engineering plans within 60 days of signing for review and approval by the Operating Committee.
The ponding facility will be designed to operate using conventional evaporation-based processing with the objective of producing, initially, a greater than 30 percent lithium chloride concentrate that is intended to be commercialized. Based on a production rate of 2,500 tpa LCE operating for the 25-year mining period, the total life of mine production would be 62,500 tonnes of LCE.
PLASA reserves the right to commercialize the lithium products. PLASA shall submit the necessary applications for the required permits, including the Environmental Impact Assessment, which is in the final stages of preparation. Construction of the ponds will commence once permits have been received. Current works will focus on well construction, pumping and piping facilities.
"Retaining the commercialization of the lithium products allows the Company to maximize off-take value," stated Paes-Braga.
Approximately C$19 million has been invested in the property by previous operators, including $16.2 million in work completed at Sal de los Angeles between 2010 to 2015. Work included extensive exploration and definition drilling, pump tests, seismic & gravity geophysical surveys, basin and solution transport models, evaporation and metallurgical testing, and running a continuous pilot ponding plant on-site.
The latest resource statement for the Sal de los Angeles lithium-potash brine deposit, dated Dec. 22, 2011, estimated an inferred brine resource of 2.8 million tonnes of lithium carbonate equivalent and an inferred brine resource of 11.2 million tonnes of potassium chloride equivalent. The average inferred resource grade was estimated at 556 mg/l Li and 6,206 mg/l K. Higher grades were found in the northern portion of the Project, where sufficient land for the construction of well fields and evaporation ponds is 100% owned by PLASA.
Lithium X is treating this mineral resource as historical. This historical estimate also uses descriptions such as "in-situ inferred resource" and "recoverable inferred resource" that are not recognized terms under the 2014 CIM Definition Standards on Mineral Resources and Mineral Reserves. A qualified person has not done sufficient work to classify this historical estimate as current mineral resources and the Company is not treating the historical estimate as a current mineral resource for the Sal de los Angeles Project. Lithium X will be completing an up-to-date mineral resource estimate and technical report done in accordance with current NI 43-101 and CIM standards by August 30, 2016 and will replace or update the results reported in the PEA.
The technical information contained in this news release has been reviewed and approved by Lithium X's Vice-President of Project Development, William Randall, P.Geo, who is a Qualified Person as defined under NI 43-101.
About Lithium X Energy Corp
Lithium X Energy Corp. is a lithium exploration and development company with a goal of becoming a low-cost supplier for the burgeoning lithium battery industry. Lithium X owns 50%, and has the option to acquire up to 80% of the Sal de los Angeles lithium brine project in the prolific "Lithium Triangle" in mining friendly Salta province, Argentina, a well-known salar with positive historical economics, grade and size. Lithium X is also exploring a large land package in Nevada's Clayton Valley, contiguous to the only producing lithium operation in North America – Silver Peak, owned and operated by Albemarle, the world's largest lithium producer. Lithium X is listed on the TSXV under the trading symbol LIX.
For additional information about Lithium X Energy Corp., please visit the Company's website at www.lithium-x.com or review the Company's documents filed on www.sedar.com. Join the Company's email list at http://lithium-x.com/subscribe.
ON BEHALF OF THE BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Neither the TSX Venture Exchange nor its Regulation Services Provider (as that term is defined in the policies of the TSX Venture Exchange) accepts responsibility for the adequacy or accuracy of this news release.
This news release contains certain forward-looking information and forward-looking statements within the meaning of applicable securities legislation (collectively "forward-looking statements"). Certain information contained herein constitutes "forward-looking information" under Canadian securities legislation. Generally, forward-looking information can be identified by the use of forward-looking terminology such as "expects", "believes", "aims to", "plans to" or "intends to" or variations of such words and phrases or statements that certain actions, events or results "will" occur. Forward-looking statements are based on the opinions and estimates of management as of the date such statements are made and they are subject to known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors that may cause the actual results, level of activity, performance or achievements of the Company to be materially different from those expressed by such forward-looking statements or forward-looking information, including the business of the Company and the commencement of trading in the Company's shares. Although management of the Company has attempted to identify important factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from those contained in forward-looking statements or forward-looking information, there may be other factors that cause results not to be as anticipated, estimated or intended. There can be no assurance that such statements will prove to be accurate, as actual results and future events could differ materially from those anticipated in such statements. Accordingly, readers should not place undue reliance on forward-looking statements and forward looking information. The Company does not undertake to update any forward-looking statements or forward-looking information that are incorporated by reference herein, except as required by applicable securities laws.
SOURCE Lithium X Energy Corp.