Production from the flagship Kachi Lithium Brine project is expected to begin in 2024 at a rate of 50,000 tpy of lithium carbonate. Kachi is indicatively funded in production with long-term, low-cost project funding from UK Export Finance and Canada’s EDC for approximately 70% of the total funding required for Kachi’s development , subject to standard project funding terms (ASX release August 11, 2021).
Lake’s development plan utilizes a cost-effective DLE method that enables Lake to quickly come to market at significant scale with strong ESG benefits, low carbon (CO2) footprint, low water consumption and low utilization lands.
High-purity battery-grade lithium carbonate (99.97% purity) was produced (ASX release October 20, 2020) from pilot plant modules, which were successfully operated in lithium battery test cells -ion based on NMC622 (ASX release March 2)
Lilac Demonstration Plant Delivered to Kachi Project
The Lilac demonstration plant was delivered from California in the United States to the Kachi project by Lakes technical partner, Lilac Solutions, after extensive and successful testing. The ion exchange modules and supporting equipment were assembled for the demonstration plant in five 40-foot (12 m) shipping containers. The modular design allows for a “plug and play” approach once the brine supply, power supply and reagents are connected.
The demonstration plant is currently being assembled before commissioning.
The demonstration plant will operate for approximately 3 to 4 months to produce lithium chloride (eluate) representing 2.5 tons of lithium carbonate. This will be converted to high-purity battery-grade lithium carbonate for potential buyers and battery qualification later this year. Producing high-purity products on-site further reduces project risk for buyers, financiers and investors. Testing work in California, USA continues to produce data for the definitive feasibility study and product samples for testing.
Kachi Lithium Brine Project
Appointment of Joint Coordinators for Debt Financing
Citi and JPMorgan were appointed during the quarter as co-coordinators for the proposed Kachi project debt financing following an extensive and competitive bidding process.
Investment Banks will coordinate workflows between lenders and third-party analysis on key project milestones, including due diligence, JORC-compliant Definitive Feasibility Study (DFS) and project appraisal. environmental and social impact (ESIA).
Discussions continued with UK Export Finance (UKEF), the UK Export Credit Agency (ECA) and Export Development Canada (EDC), who previously provided indicative support for approximately 70% of the total funding required for Lake’s Kachi project at the expanded rate of 50,000 tpa LCE, subject to standard project financing terms. Conditions for project financing include, among others, appropriate structured offtake contracts, successful completion of the Definitive Feasibility Study (DFS) of Kachi and an Environmental and Social Impact Assessment (ESIA) under the principles of the ‘Ecuador (ASX version of August 11, 2021).
Drilling continues at Kachi
Drilling continues at Kachi to reinforce earlier lithium assay results extending beyond the current resource limits. These drillings aim to support the production objectives planned for the Kachi project (ASX version of December 15, 2021). A four-well diamond drilling program and an additional rotary drilling program are underway with the intention of upgrading the resource and expanding it (ASX version July 7, 2021).
Cauchari, Olaroz and Paso lithium brine projects
Province of Jujuy, Argentina
Lake owns three lithium brine projects, Cauchari, Olaroz and Paso, on 47,000 hectares in Jujuy province, northwest Argentina. Lake aims to advance the development of these projects to ensure multi-asset lithium expansion by drilling and testing ahead of planned additional feasibility studies.
A second drill rig has arrived on site to complete the drilling program which began in February.
Drilling is now progressing at the Olaroz and Paso projects. The results of the analyzes should be available during the 3rd trimester.
Boreholes are designed under an accelerated program in all projects in the region to quantify identified brines, develop aquifers and perform pumping tests with data for initial feasibility studies. Rotary wells will be followed by diamond holes. The brines will be sampled and tested with direct lithium extraction methods, similar to previous work conducted on lithium brines from the Kachi project.
Lake previously confirmed several zones of high-grade lithium brine during drilling in 2019 on the Cauchari project (ASX news release August 23, 2019). Premium results averaged 493 mg/L of lithium over 343 m (from 117 m to 460 m), up to 540 mg/L, which is similar to lithium brines in the adjacent production development of Ganfeng/Lithium Americas JV.
Cash and finance
Lake held cash of 175 million Australian dollars (120 million US dollars) as of June 30, 2022 (in AUD, USD and Argentine pesos) without any debt.
The Company is financed through the final investment decision (FID) and construction financing phase, including the definitive feasibility study (DFS) for the Kachi project.
Payments to related parties of the entity and their associates:
Amounts paid to related parties of the entity and their associates during the quarter amounted to $569,000. These amounts related to normal attendance fees, including the former CEO’s salary, the Executive Technical Director’s fees for the definitive feasibility study and the Executive Chairman’s fees for marketing and fundraising activities in Classes.
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About Lake Resources NL:
Lake Resources NL (ASX: LKE) (OTCMKTS: LLKKF) is a clean lithium developer using clean, direct mining technology to develop sustainable high-purity lithium from its flagship Kachi project, as well as three other lithium brine projects in Argentina. The projects are located in a prime location within the Lithium Triangle, where 40% of the world’s lithium is produced at the lowest cost.
This method will enable Lake Resources to be an efficient, responsible, green and competitive supplier of high purity lithium that is easily scalable and in demand by EV and Tier 1 battery manufacturers.
Lake NL Resources