NEW YORK, June 21, 2018 /PRNewswire/ --
NetworkNewsWire Editorial Coverage
Lithium stocks have soared over the last couple years, driven by global demand for lithium-ion batteries and anticipated subsequent supply chain deficits. The supply-demand imbalance is highlighted by reports that Li-ion battery consumption grew 73 percent from 2010 to 2014, whereas lithium production only increased 28 percent. Moreover, between 2014 and 2017 the cost of a lithium-ion battery was cut in half, increasing demand and further exacerbating lithium feedstock shortages. Portending the enormity of coming shortfalls, Roskill, a leader in international metals and minerals research, tripled its lithium demand forecast last year, and now expects demand to exceed a million tons annually within the next eight years. Under these market factors, acquisitions and joint ventures are becoming almost commonplace among manufacturers and miners. Institutional investors are also entering the fray and attention is turning to junior miners since the majors will be hard pressed to alleviate feedstock deficits. Prospective junior miner Lithium Chile (TSX-V: LITH) (OTC: LTMC) (LTMC Profile) aims to capitalize on these deficits. With vast resources directly in the heart of South America's famed lithium triangle, the company recently announced a joint venture MOU and is initiating a new high-priority drilling program. In attempts to keep pace with global deficits, other lithium producers such as Albemarle Corp. (NYSE: ALB), Sociedad Quimica y Minera S.A. (NYSE: SQM), Lithium Americas Corp. (NYSE: LAC) and FMC Corporation (NYSE: FMC) have all taken measures to increase production.
Drill Baby Drill
Site preparations are under way and Lithium Chile (OTCQB: LTMCF) (TSX-V: LITH.V) earlier this week said it will soon begin drilling at its Salar de Ollague project. The area displays many geophysical characteristics identical to those found in the lithium-rich aquifers at Salar de Atacama, home of the world's largest and highest-grade lithium brine producers. Initial testing showed good chemistry, imperative for cost-effective lithium production, and the company has received formal consent from the community of Ollague to begin an exploration drilling program.
In previously announced results of a transient electromagnetic survey (TEM) covering 25 square kilometers of the Ollague project, Lithium Chile identified multiple large high-priority targets and a comprehensive sampling program revealed near-surface lithium brines assaying up to 1,140mg/L of lithium. In comparison, lithium concentration between 190 to 200 mg/L of lithium is needed for production in the United States.
Geophysical analysis indicated several continuous conductive units over much of the property. The survey indicated these conductive units are several open-ended horizontal zones ranging from 20 to over 200 meters thick and within 20 to 120 meters of the surface. Lithium Chile believes these open-ended horizontal zones are saline aquifers and indicative of a high content of lithium brine.
"With a range of high-grade, near-surface lithium samples, excellent TEM survey results and no competition in the region, Ollague is one of our most exciting projects. We are delighted to have received final approval and look forward to commencing drilling next week," Lithium Chile president and CEO Steve Cochrane stated.
Lithium Chile will immediately seek permits for additional exploration and development programs at Ollague based on the drilling and sampling results of the first program. As soon as the initial Ollague drilling program is complete, Lithium Chile intends to begin drilling each of its other four high-priority salars in continuous succession.
About half the world's lithium reserves are in Chile, predominantly in the arid Atacama Plateau, and it is here that Lithium Chile has strategically amassed 152,900 hectares (nearly 600 square miles). The company's Ollague project is just one of its 15 wholly owned properties in Chile. Lithium Chile's assets include 66 square kilometers directly on the Salar de Atacama, Chile's largest mineral salt flat and home to about 30 percent of the world's lithium production.
Lithium Chile acquired its assets for just $3 per hectare. Prospective lithium parcels in Chile currently change hands around $1,500 per hectare, and proven tracts command more than $10,000 per hectare. Lithium Chile relied on the vast in-country experience and skills of Terry Walker, the company's chief geologist and VP of exploration, to acquire large tracts of prime lithium-bearing properties. Using a 1970s French technical report overlaid on a national database of water well hydrology and water chemistry, Walker meticulously matched that information with an extensive lands claim database. Lithium Chile subsequently secured the best salars in proximity to the highest lithium concentrations and the closest to needed infrastructure. The result could turn out to be among the most promising and lucrative lithium-rich land packages in recent history.
Back to Back
Indicative of international investment interest in the sector, Lithium Chile announced last week a Memorandum of Understanding to enter a joint venture transaction with Hong Kong-based investment company Prosper One International Holdings Company Limited. The proposed transaction with Prosper One requires them to spend $3 million to earn a 55 percent interest in Lithium Chile's Norte project. Prosper One will invest the $3 million in staged exploration on the Norte project on or before December 31, 2018, and will make a $1 million equity investment in Lithium Chile at a minimum of $1 per share. With a plethora of lithium-rich indicated properties it seems suitors are starting to line up.
The MOU designates Lithium Chile the operator on the Norte exploration programs and it will receive a management fee from Prosper One equal to 17.5 percent of the funds expended on the Norte exploration programs. As a testament to the seriousness of their intent, Prosper One must pay Lithium Chile a $250,000 break fee if a definitive agreement isn't signed.
Cochrane commented, "We are pleased to have reached this agreement with Prosper One, which accelerates our ability to unlock the potential of our dominant land package Chile. We are essentially combining our technical expertise and Chilean experience, with Prosper One's financial acumen and support, to explore our highly prospective Norte project in Chile. We look forward to a mutually rewarding working relationship."
Drilling Pay Day
Drilling commencement is a big deal. As Lithium Chile continues to prove its reserves, the company could receive more offers to option, joint venture, or even outright purchase key projects at substantial market premiums and immense multiples to original cost.
Trying to Keep Pace
If there are any doubts about the lithium shortage, look at any lithium mining company - every single one is trying to rapidly expand production. The shortage won't end any time soon and increased production isn't likely to keep pace with burgeoning demand.
Among major lithium producers, Albemarle (NYSE: ALB) is the largest and derives nearly 39 percent of its total revenue from lithium sales. A global leader in specialty chemicals, Albemarle's lithium business segment mines and converts lithium into different forms along the value chain. The company controls one of the only operating lithium brines in North America and operates a lithium brine in Chile. ALB also holds a 49 percent share in Talison Lithium in Australia and plans to expand production there in 2019 under a joint venture.
Sociedad Quimica y Minera S.A. (NYSE: SQM) is an intriguing Chile-based player in the global scramble to secure greater supplies of lithium. SQM produces over 45,000 tons of lithium carbonate equivalent per year and plans to expand lithium carbonate capacity to 63,000 metric tons in 2018. In addition to lithium, the company produces specialty plant nutrients, iodine derivatives, potassium chloride, potassium sulfate and industrial chemicals. To prevent China from controlling 70 percent of the world's lithium supply, the Chilean government rebuffed the $4 billion purchase of 32 percent of SQM by Tianqi Lithium Corporation last year but ultimately reached an agreement allowing the Chinese company to purchase 24 percent of SQM last month.
Lithium Americas (NYSE: LAC) is focused on development of two lithium development projects: the Cauchari-Olaroz project located in Jujuy province of Argentina and the Lithium Nevada project. Company segments include Organoclay, Lithium Nevada, Cauchari-Olaroz and Corporate. The company operates in Canada, the United States, Germany and Argentina. The Cauchari-Olaroz project is a lithium brine mineral project. The Lithium Nevada project is a smectite clay-based lithium project.
FMC Corporation (NYSE: FMC) is estimated to be the fourth- or fifth-largest lithium producer in the world and has announced plans to aggressively expand production. FMC Corporation primarily serves the agricultural industry, providing solutions to enhance crop yield and quality. FMC is planning to sell off around 15 percent of its lithium business in an IPO late this year, giving the business a market value of more than $3 billion.
Major lithium producers all had big runs in their stocks over the last couple years and some still trade at or near all-time highs. But large upsides in these companies from this point may be difficult to achieve. Going forward, some of the largest potential market gains are likely to be found in select junior miners.
For more information on Lithium Chile visit Lithium Chile, Inc. (TSX-V: LITH) (OTCQB: LTMCF).
NetworkNewsWire (NNW) is a financial news and content distribution company that provides (1) access to a network of wire services via NetworkWire to reach all target markets, industries and demographics in the most effective manner possible, (2) article and editorial syndication to 5,000+ news outlets (3), enhanced press release services to ensure maximum impact, (4) social media distribution via the Investor Brand Network (IBN) to nearly 2 million followers, (5) a full array of corporate communications solutions, and (6) a total news coverage solution with NNW Prime. As a multifaceted organization with an extensive team of contributing journalists and writers, NNW is uniquely positioned to best serve private and public companies that desire to reach a wide audience of investors, consumers, journalists and the general public. By cutting through the overload of information in today's market, NNW brings its clients unparalleled visibility, recognition and brand awareness. NNW is where news, content and information converge. For more information, please visit https://www.NetworkNewsWire.com .
DISCLAIMER: NetworkNewsWire (NNW) is the source of the Article and content set forth above. References to any issuer other than the profiled issuer are intended solely to identify industry participants and do not constitute an endorsement of any issuer and do not constitute a comparison to the profiled issuer. FN Media Group (FNM) is a third-party publisher and news dissemination service provider, which disseminates electronic information through multiple online media channels. FNM is NOT affiliated with NNW or any company mentioned herein. The commentary, views and opinions expressed in this release by NNW are solely those of NNW and are not shared by and do not reflect in any manner the views or opinions of FNM. Readers of this Article and content agree that they cannot and will not seek to hold liable NNW and FNM for any investment decisions by their readers or subscribers. NNW and FNM and their respective affiliated companies are a news dissemination and financial marketing solutions provider and are NOT registered broker-dealers/analysts/investment advisers, hold no investment licenses and may NOT sell, offer to sell or offer to buy any security.
The Article and content related to the profiled company represent the personal and subjective views of the Author, and are subject to change at any time without notice. The information provided in the Article and the content has been obtained from sources which the Author believes to be reliable. However, the Author has not independently verified or otherwise investigated all such information. None of the Author, NNW, FNM, or any of their respective affiliates, guarantee the accuracy or completeness of any such information. This Article and content are not, and should not be regarded as investment advice or as a recommendation regarding any particular security or course of action; readers are strongly urged to speak with their own investment advisor and review all of the profiled issuer's filings made with the Securities and Exchange Commission before making any investment decisions and should understand the risks associated with an investment in the profiled issuer's securities, including, but not limited to, the complete loss of your investment.
NNW & FNM HOLDS NO SHARES OF ANY COMPANY NAMED IN THIS RELEASE.
This release contains "forward-looking statements" within the meaning of Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933, as amended, and Section 21E the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended and such forward-looking statements are made pursuant to the safe harbor provisions of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. "Forward-looking statements" describe future expectations, plans, results, or strategies and are generally preceded by words such as "may", "future", "plan" or "planned", "will" or "should", "expected," "anticipates", "draft", "eventually" or "projected". You are cautioned that such statements are subject to a multitude of risks and uncertainties that could cause future circumstances, events, or results to differ materially from those projected in the forward-looking statements, including the risks that actual results may differ materially from those projected in the forward-looking statements as a result of various factors, and other risks identified in a company's annual report on Form 10-K or 10-KSB and other filings made by such company with the Securities and Exchange Commission. You should consider these factors in evaluating the forward-looking statements included herein, and not place undue reliance on such statements. The forward-looking statements in this release are made as of the date hereof and NNW and FNM undertake no obligation to update such statements.
NetworkNewsWire (NNW) is affiliated with the Investor Brand Network (IBN).
Over the past 10+ years we have consistently introduced new network brands, each specifically designed to fulfil the unique needs of our growing client base and services. Today, we continue to expand our branded network of highly influential properties, leveraging the knowledge and energy of specialized teams of experts to serve our increasingly diversified list of clients.
Please feel free to visit the Investor Brand Network (IBN) http://www.InvestorBrandNetwork.com
Corporate Communications Contact:
New York, New York
FN Media Group, LLC