Lithium Americas, SQM form lithium plant JV in Argentina

Lithium Americas, SQM form lithium plant JV in Argentina

7:36 AM, 31st March 2016
Lithium Americas, SQM form lithium plant JV in Argentina

VANCOUVER, CANADA: Lithium Americas Corp (LAC) said it will form a 50:50 joint venture (JV) with Sociedad Quimica y Minera de Chile SA (SQM) for the Cauchari-Olaroz lithium project in Jujuy, Argentina.

SQM and LAC will immediately advance an engineering plan and evaluate economic feasibility for a project with a nameplate production capacity of approximately 40,000 metric tonne per year of lithium carbonate equivalent.

The JV will go into effect following a capital contribution of $25 million by SQM in exchange for a 50 percent ownership stake in Minera Exar SA, a wholly owned subsidiary of LAC. SQM’s contribution includes $15 million to repay intercompany loans between Minera Exar and LAC; the remaining $10 million will be allocated to project development.

“SQM is the world leader in lithium production with decades of development and operating experience. 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,” said Tom Hodgson, CEO of LAC.

“SQM is committed to the lithium business, both in Chile and abroad. The Salar de Cauchari is a great complement to our existing lithium operations in Chile and it is located just a few hundred kilometres 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,” said Patricio de Solminihac, CEO, SQM.

Cauchari-Olaroz is believed to be the world’s third 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 support from the local government of Jujuy province.

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