Advisor Appointed for Debt Funding
- SD Capital Advisory Limited appointed to secure debt funding of up to US$25 million for initial lithium production from its Kachi Lithium Brine Project and Cauchari Lithium Brine Project in Argentina, together with completion of the DFS.
- Company targeting early 2020 pre-production of initial lithium products, based on partner Lilac Solutions' direct extraction ion exchange process.
London headquartered SD Capital Advisory Limited is an independent financial advisory firm which focuses specifically on emerging markets, and its principals have previously worked for major financial institutions and corporations sourcing medium to long term financing solutions across broad industry sectors including resources and energy.
SD Capital Advisory Limited will focus on obtaining debt finance for the development of Lake's 100%-owned lithium brine projects with an immediate focus on Kachi given the Pre-Feasibility Study (PFS) will be completed before year-end.
Lake is assessing a range of funding solutions through debt or investment directly at the project level in order to minimise any potential dilution to Lake's equity investors.
SD Capital Advisory Limited's appointment follows Lake's announcement of the completion of the first pilot plant module for the Kachi project, with delivery expected shortly after year-end to site. The pilot plant has been designed by Silicon Valley-backed Lilac Solutions Inc and international engineering company Hatch and will demonstrate Lilac's groundbreaking direct extraction ion exchange process on brines produced at Kachi (refer ASX release 23 September 2019). Lake plans to produce a high quality, low impurity product capable of attracting premium pricing with low impurities using a process without evaporation ponds.
Lake's Managing Director, Steve Promnitz said: "Lake's project development plans are now rapidly advancing and sourcing the necessary project funding is a major value-adding step as we look to complete initial production modules after the pilot plant results become known. We are confident these results will prove successful.
"We look forward to demonstrating an industry-leading solution for fast, efficient, scalable and sustainable lithium extraction from the heart of the Lithium Triangle, home to the world's lowest cost production, and now we have an experienced project and debt finance advisor to support us."
About Lake Resources NL
Lake Resources NL (ASX:LKE) is a lithium exploration and development company focused on developing its three lithium brine projects and hard rock project in Argentina, all owned 100%. The leases are in a prime location among the lithium sector's largest players within the Lithium Triangle, where half of the world's lithium is produced. Lake holds one of the largest lithium tenement packages in Argentina (~200,000Ha) secured in 2016 prior to a significant 'rush' by major companies. The large holdings provide the potential to provide consistent security of supply demanded by battery makers and electric vehicle manufacturers.
The Kachi project covers 69,000 ha over a salt lake south of FMC's lithium operation and near Albemarle's Antofalla project in Catamarca Province. Drilling at Kachi has confirmed a large lithium brine bearing basin over 20km long, 15km wide and 400m to 800m deep. Drilling over Kachi (currently 16 drill holes, 3100m) has produced a maiden indicated and inferred resource of 4.4 Mt LCE (Indicated 1.0Mt and Inferred 3.4Mt) within a 8-17 Mt LCE exploration target (refer ASX announcement 27 November 2018).
A direct extraction technique is being tested in partnership with Lilac Solutions, which has shown 80-90% recoveries and lithium brine concentrations in excess of 3000 mg/L lithium and is planned to be trialled on site in tandem with conventional methods as part of a PFS to follow the resource statement. Scope exists to unlock considerable value through partnerships and corporate deals in the near term.
The Olaroz-Cauchari and Paso brine projects are located adjacent to major world class brine projects either in production or being developed in the highly prospective Jujuy Province. The Olaroz-Cauchari project is located in the same basin as Orocobre's Olaroz lithium production and adjoins Ganfeng Lithium/Lithium Americas Cauchari project, with high grade lithium (600 mg/L) with high flow rates drilled immediately across the lease boundary.
Two drill rigs are currently drilling at Cauchari with results anticipated to extend the proven resources in adjoining properties into LKE's area with results anticipated from November into December 2018. This will be followed by drilling extensions to the Olaroz area in LKE's 100% owned Olaroz leases.
Significant corporate transactions continue in adjacent leases with development of Ganfeng Lithium/Lithium Americas Cauchari project with Ganfeng announcing a US$237 million for 37% of the Cauchari project previously held by SQM. Nearby projects of Lithium X were acquired via a takeover offer of C$265 million completed March 2018. The northern half of Galaxy's Sal de Vida resource was purchased for US$280 million by POSCO in June 2018. These transactions imply an acquisition cost of US$55-110 million per 1 million tonnes of lithium carbonate equivalent (LCE) in resources.
The demand for lithium continues to be strong for lithium ion batteries in electric vehicles, according to recent data from the leading independent battery minerals consultant, Benchmark Mineral Intelligence. Supply continues to be constrained suggesting good opportunities for upstream lithium companies.
Lake Resources NL