Why Miners From Several Countries Are Engaged In Bidding Wars For Argentina’s Lithium Resources

Palm Beach, FL – August 19, 2022 – FinancialNewsMedia.com News Commentary –  Argentina is becoming the center of the universe in the hunt for new and impactful deposits of Lithium. More than half of the world’s lithium is mined in the Lithium Triangle, an arid region of the Andes that includes parts of Bolivia, Chile and Argentina. Argentina has 13 lithium projects in the pipeline, more than any other country. Mining.com recently revealed that at a lavish gathering recently in Buenos Aires, 400 mining executives and government officials gathered to toast Argentina’s natural resource riches amid the kind of corporate giddiness not seen since the country’s first attempt to develop its shale oil resources a decade ago.  The attraction for investors this time around is Argentina’s lithium. There’s a looming shortage of the rare metal, a key raw material in the batteries used in electric vehicles. Elon Musk signaled Tesla Inc. might get involved in mining to secure supplies. Chinese and US companies engaged in bidding wars for Argentina’s lithium resources, while Rio Tinto Group and Zijin Mining Group Co. are pouring more than a billion dollars into the country.  “If Argentina didn’t come through, it’d be almost impossible for the lithium market to stay well-supplied,” said Michael Widmer, head of metals research at Bank of America.  The article continued: “The world needs lithium supplies to grow fivefold by the end of the decade to meet projected demand as the electric-vehicle revolution gets into full swing, according to BloombergNEF. It could be Argentina’s last shot at moving beyond its traditional offerings of soybeans, grains and beef to emerge as a global heavyweight in a new sector.”  Active mining stocks in the markets this week include:  Lithium South Development Corporation (OTCQB: LISMF) (TSX-V: LIS), Piedmont Lithium (NASDAQ: PLL), Albemarle Corporation (NYSE: ALB), Argentina Lithium & Energy Corp. (OTCQB: PNXLF) (TSX-V: LIT), SIGMA Lithium Corporation (NASDAQ: SGML) (TSX-V: SGML).


The country has 19 million metric tons of lithium resources that haven’t yet been mined, twice as much as Chile.   “We don’t always get to choose where our resources are. Now, the EV market is accelerating and demand is really growing, we need to develop that next resource,” said a CEO of a well-known mining company.  Argentina will overtake Chile in lithium production around 2027, according to Daisy Jennings-Gray, senior analyst at Benchmark Mineral Intelligence, which advises governments on critical minerals.   Argentina, Chile and Bolivia — the so-called lithium triangle — account for more than half of global resources, and are looking to cooperate on ways to move beyond mining the metal into producing higher-value products.  “The three countries have different perspectives on how to produce the lithium, but we have a shared perspective on what to do next with it,” Argentina Mining Undersecretary Fernanda Avila said. “We’re working together to develop new technologies and techniques to go further in the value chain.  Argentina “is the best lithium opportunity in South America.”


Lithium South Development Corporation (OTCQB: LISMF) (TSX-V: LIS), BREAKING NEWS:  Lithium South Announces Evaporation Test Work Underway at HMN Li Project – Lithium South Development Corporation (the “Company”) is pleased to provide an update on process test work currently being conducted on a 12,500-liter bulk brine sample from the Hombre Muerto North Lithium Project (HMN Li Project), located in Salta. Argentina.  The purpose of the test work is to validate evaporation as a viable concentration method to produce battery grade lithium carbonate.  The work is performed as part of the preparations for a potential on site pilot-plant aiming to validate the process for the Feasibility Study.  The work is being performed by Eon Minerals a Delaware based company with laboratory facilities in Salta, Argentina.  The work is being supervised by Alex Mezei, P. Eng., a Qualified Person under NI 43-101.


We are pleased to report lithium recoveries of 86% for the pre-concentration evaporation, 80% for liming and 97% for concentration evaporation.  The cumulative lithium recovery after these front-end stages was 67%.


A sample of the resulting concentrated brine was subjected to preliminary laboratory testing by solvent extraction (SX).  The results produced a raffinate containing about 12 mg/L at nearly 99% boron removal efficiency.  The key chemical analyses were confirmed by duplicates performed at Alex Stewart and SGS laboratories, both ISO Certified and located in Argentina.


Based on these results, the bulk SX stage was initiated on 210 L of concentrated brine sample containing 14.4 g/L Li (1.25% wt. Li)


The sample produced by the current SX work will be further subjected to advanced test work aiming to produce a battery grade lithium carbonate sample.  The interim stage involves a carbonation, bicarbonation and ion exchange.


Based on the metallurgical response of the sample during the pre-concentration, liming, concentration and SX stages, the results to date are indicative of a realistic possibility for achieving the purity requirements for the battery-grade lithium carbonate.


Company Director and Chief Operating Officer, Fernando Villarroel states, “We are very pleased with these results which demonstrate our team has the expertise to produce a clean brine ready to produce Lithium Carbonate battery grade.”  CONTINUED….  Read this release for the Lithium South news at:  https://www.financialnewsmedia.com/news-lis/


Other recent mining developments in the markets include:


Piedmont Lithium (NASDAQ: PLL), a leading, diversified developer of lithium resources critical to the U.S. electric vehicle supply chain, recently announced that the board of directors of Sayona Quebec Inc. (“SYQ”), which is owned 75% by Sayona Mining (“Sayona”) and 25% by Piedmont, authorized the restart of spodumene concentrate production at its North American Lithium (“NAL”) project located near Val-d’Or, Quebec. The NAL restart will feature significant operational upgrades totaling approximately $80 million aimed at improving product quality and plant utilization. Long-lead equipment was ordered and detailed design engineering commenced in late 2021 based on our jointly planned timeline. Operations at NAL are expected to commence in the first half of 2023. The NAL restart project will be entirely funded from pro-rata cash contributions by Sayona and Piedmont, with each party having completed significant capital raises in the first half of 2022.


“We are excited to take this essential next step toward supplying much-needed North American lithium resources,” said Keith Phillips, President and Chief Executive Officer of Piedmont Lithium. “Authorizing the restart of the NAL project is consistent with our plan to become a revenue generating company in 2023 and contributes to our strategic goal of becoming a leading North American lithium producer through our integrated portfolio of lithium projects.”


Albemarle Corporation (NYSE: ALB) recently announced its results for the second quarter ended June 30, 2022.  Second Quarter 2022 and Recent Highlights Were: Net sales of $1.48 billion, an increase of 91%; Net income of $406.8 million, or $3.46 per diluted share; Adjusted diluted EPS of $3.45, an increase of 288%; Adjusted EBITDA of $610 million, an increase of 214%; Kemerton I lithium conversion plant in Western Australia achieved first product in July 2022; Announced plans to build integrated lithium operations in the United States, including the Kings Mountain, North Carolina, spodumene mine and a lithium conversion plant in the southeast; Guidance for 2022 further revised upward on successful Lithium contract renegotiations and increased prices in the Lithium and Bromine businesses; Expect significant growth in full-year 2022 results including net sales of $7.1 – $7.5 billion (>2x 2021) and adjusted EBITDA of $3.2 – $3.5 billion (>3x 2021); and With revised guidance, expect to be free cash flow positive in 2022


“We delivered another strong quarter throughout the current turbulent market environment, thanks to strong demand and pricing trends, particularly for Lithium and Bromine. Over the past year, we have shifted our Lithium contracting strategy to realize greater benefits from these strong market dynamics,” said Albemarle CEO Kent Masters. “At the same time, we remain disciplined in executing our long-term strategy as we advance our growth projects in China, Australia, and the Americas.”


Argentina Lithium & Energy Corp. (OTCQB: PNXLF) (TSX-V: LIT) recently announced that it has won the public tender to purchase 100% interest of the Rinconcita II mining concession area (“Rinconcita II” or the “Property“) located on the Salar de Rincon in Salta Province, Argentina, from provincially-owned company Recursos Energéticos y Mineros Salta S.A. (“REMSA“). The Property consists of 460.5 ha of salt flat, located adjacent to and east of Argentina Lithium’s Rincon West property, and located adjacent to and west of Rincon Mining’s Rincon Project, which was purchased by Rio Tinto earlier this year.


“Our team identified the Salar de Rincon as an area of exceptional potential in 2021, leading to our initial property acquisition at Rincon West. Our positive drill results announced on July 13, 2022 have validated this confidence. The acquisition of Rinconcita II is a major step to add prime salt flat holdings to one of our leading projects. Our management team is looking forward to working with the Province to advance this project through exploration to assess its resource and production potential,” stated Nikolaos Cacos, President and CEO.


SIGMA Lithium Corporation (NASDAQ: SGML) (TSX-V: SGML)  recently reported that it has filed a technical report titled “Grota do Cirilo Lithium Project Araçuaí and Itinga Regions, Minas Gerais, Brazil, Phase 3 Mineral Resource Estimate” (the “Phase 3 Technical Report“) supporting its news release dated June 22, 2022, announcing the approximate 50% increase to the total National Instrument 43-101 (“NI 43-101“) mineral resource estimate at its 100% owned Grota do Cirilo Project (the “Project” or “Grota do Cirilo“).


The maiden mineral resource estimate at the Project’s Phase 3 NDC deposit (“Phase 3“) increased its estimated resource by approximately 50%, to 85.7 Mt, comprised of: 73.6 Mt of Measured and Indicated mineral resources grading at 1.43% Li2O; and 12.1 Mt of Inferred mineral resources grading at 1.45% Li2O.


The Phase 3 mineral resource estimate of 26.8 Mt announced on June 22, 2022 is comprised of: 23.3 Mt of Measured and Indicated mineral resources grading at 1.49% Li2O; and 3.5 Mt of Inferred mineral resources grading at 1.48% Li2O.


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