Largest Lithium Producer SQM Signs Transformative Deal in Argentina with Lithium Americas (Western Lithium)

For several years I have been a shareholder of Western Lithium (WLC.TO or WLCDF) and the Company is a proud long term sponsor on my website.  I have witnessed great success with this story seeing it lead the entire small cap OTCQX exchange in 2014.  I also rehighlighted it in late December 2015 in an article entitled, "Western Lithium (WLC.TO or WLCDF) Could Supply Shortfall with Two Of The Top Lithium Assets."

I also wrote another post just a week ago on March 18th entitled, "Li-Ion Battery Sector Could Power Up a Portfolio."  

In the article I wrote, "Look at the last page on the company presentation and it does not take a rocket scientist to realize exciting things could be taking place with Western Lithium’s (WLC.TO or WLCDF) Cauchari Asset in Argentina."

Today Western Lithium which is changing its name to Lithium Americas announced major news that they have a deal with Sociedad Química y Minera de Chile S.A. to enter into a 50/50 Joint Venture on the world class Cauchari Lithium Project in Argentina.  SQM is the largest and lowest cost lithium producer in the world.  This is a significant deal as $25 million USD will be contributed by SQM immediately to advance engineering and complete a Bankable Feasibility Study.

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."

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."

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."

See the full news release on the agreement by clicking here...

Disclosure: I own Western Lithium (Lithium Americas) and the company is a website sponsor.  Please do your own due diligence.


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