VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA and TORONTO, ONTARIO–(Marketwired – Sept. 24, 2015) – Western Lithium USA Corporation (“Western Lithium”, the “Company”) (TSX:WLC)(OTCQX:WLCDF) is pleased to provide an update on the progress and timeline of the Kings Valley and Cauchari-Olaroz lithium Projects.
In Nevada, the Company plans to engage an engineering firm to identify a feasible gas pipeline alignment and perform preliminary pipeline engineering to connect the Kings Valley Lithium Project (the “Kings Valley Project”) with the Ruby Gas Interstate Pipeline. The Company will also initiate additional preliminary engineering work related to the development of the project’s water resources. In addition, testing campaigns commenced at the Company’s lithium and potassium demonstration facilities located in Weimar and Sondershausen, Germany. The testing campaigns are scheduled to be concluded by January 2016 and will support design criteria and equipment selection for a definitive Feasibility Study. A video of the Company’s demonstration plant can be viewed at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uAF9Wrf8Vxc.
The completion of these tasks will facilitate the preparation of the Kings Valley Project’s Plan of Operations after which mine permitting will be initiated with the Bureau of Land Management, Winnemucca District Office, that aligns with a potential project construction start up targeted in early 2019.
In Argentina, Western Lithium’s subsidiary, Lithium Americas Corp., recently signed a Heads of Agreement (“HOA”) with POSCO, a major South Korean steel and materials company. The HOA defined the basic conditions of a joint venture to develop a portion of the Cauchari-Olaroz lithium brine deposit. The plant is expected to be producing 2,500 tons per annum by year-end 2016, and ramping up to 20,000 tons by year-end 2017. Mutual due diligence has commenced, and the Company expects a definitive Joint Venture Agreement to be finalized by year-end 2015 (see press release August 27, 2015).
Jay Chmelauskas, CEO of Western Lithium USA Corporation commented: “Lithium market conditions appear to be tight. On September 15th, a major lithium producer, FMC Corporation, raised lithium prices for all lithium products by 15% effective October 1, 2015, citing growing demand and a need to re-invest to continue reliable supply of high-quality lithium products. The Heads of Agreement signed with our Korean partner calls for lithium production at our Cauchari-Olaroz project to commence by early 2017. In Nevada, the initiation of engineering work associated with the gas and water pipelines, along with the completion of additional campaigns at our lithium demonstration facilities in Germany, will provide the criteria to sequence the development of our Nevada based lithium project, after our near term Jujuy, Argentina based lithium project, to coincide with what we believe will be significant demand increases for lithium products from the transportation, storage and consumer electronics sector.”
About Western Lithium
Western Lithium is positioning itself as a major U.S. and Argentinian based supplier to support the rising global demand for lithium that is expected from the increased use of hybrid/electric vehicles, consumer electronics, and consumer and industrial lithium battery energy storage applications.
At the Cauchari-Olaroz lithium project, located in Jujuy province, Argentina, a major lithium brine reserve has been defined and a definitive feasibility study has been completed. In addition, and as previously announced on August 27, 2015, a Heads of Agreement has been signed with a Korean conglomerate regarding the commercialization of that project using their own proprietary technology and a revised engineering study.
The Kings Valley lithium project is being developed into a strategic, scalable and reliable source of high quality lithium products. In addition, Western Lithium is pursuing the opportunity to be a supplier of specialty drilling additives, Hectatone™ and potentially other organoclays for the oil and gas and other industries.
This news release contains “forward-looking information” within the meaning of applicable Canadian securities legislation, and “forward-looking statements” within the meaning of the United States Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995 (collectively referred to as “forward-looking information“). All statements, other than statements of historical fact, may be forward-looking information. Forward looking information can be identified by the use of statements that include words such as “seek”, “anticipate”, “plan”, “continue”, “estimate”, “expect”, “may”, “will”, “project”, “predict”, “propose”, “potential”, “targeting”, “scheduled”, “implementing”, “intend”, “could”, “might”, “should”, “believe” and similar words or expressions. Information provided in this news release is necessarily summarized and may not contain all available material information.
Forward-looking information in this news release includes, but is not limited to: the commercialization of the Cauchari lithium project; and the potential to become a supplier of lithium products to battery; project construction startup at the Kings Valley Project targeted in 2019.
Forward-looking information expresses, as at the date of this news release, plans, estimates, forecasts, projections, expectations, or beliefs as to future events or results. All such forward-looking information is based on certain assumptions, estimates, expectations, analyses and opinions made by management in light of their experience and perception of historical trends, current conditions and expected future developments, as well as other factors management believes are appropriate in the circumstances. Assumptions upon which such forward-looking information is based include, without limitation: no significant event occurring outside of the ordinary course of business of Western Lithium ; legislative and regulatory environment; impact of increasing competition; current technological trends; prices of lithium and potash; costs of development and production; anticipated results of exploration and development activities; Western Lithium’s ability to operate in a safe and effective manner; and ability to obtain financing on reasonable terms. Readers are cautioned that the foregoing list is not exhaustive.
Western Lithium’s actual results, programs and financial position could differ materially from those anticipated in such forward-looking information as a result of numerous factors, risks and uncertainties, many of which are beyond Western Lithium’s control. These include, but are not limited to: possible variations in mineral resource and reserve estimates; grade/concentration or recovery rates; lithium or potash prices; operating or capital costs; changes in project parameters as plans continue to be refined; legislative changes that impact the operations in which Western Lithium conduct business; results of exploration activities and development of mineral properties; interpretation of geological data; receipt and security of mineral property titles; failure of plant, equipment or processes to operate as anticipated; accidents; labour disputes; the inability to obtain key personnel and parts related to operations; receipt of licenses to conduct mining activities; country and political risks; civil unrest; community relations; timing and possible outcome of pending litigation; liabilities and risks, including environmental liabilities and risks inherent in the development and production of Western Lithium’s properties; cost overruns or unanticipated costs and expenses; the availability of funds; currency fluctuations; general market and industry conditions; competition; the business of the companies not being integrated successfully or such integration proving more difficult, time consuming or costly than expected; failure of Western Lithium to enter into an agreement with POSCO to put the Cauchari-Olaroz project into commercial production using POSCO’s proprietary lithium and potash extraction technology; the fact that POSCO’s extraction technology tested at the Cauchari-Olaroz project is secret and proprietary to POSCO and not subject to any independent economic study; risk of putting a project into production without first completing a feasibility study; and delays in obtaining governmental and regulatory approvals, as well as those factors more fully described under the heading “Risk Factors” in Western Lithium’s annual information form and most recently filed management discussion & analysis, and described under the heading “Risk Factors” in Lithium America’s annual information form, available on SEDAR. There is no assurance that forward-looking information will prove to be accurate, as actual results and future events could differ materially from those anticipated in such information. Accordingly, readers are cautioned not to place undue reliance on forward-looking information. Western Lithium does not intend, and expressly disclaims any obligation to, update any forward-looking information whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise, except as, and to the extent required by, applicable securities laws.