Lithium Americas Corp. (TSE:LAC) (OTCQX: LHMAF) said Wednesday it has received the environmental approvals for the construction of its Cauchari-Olaroz lithium-potash project in Argentina, sending shares up over 12 per cent this morning.
The miner said the provincial environmental agency of Jujuy Province,
Argentina (UGAM) has recommended approval of the environmental impact
statement (EIS) for the project.
previously obtained definitive mining title, as well as secured long
term land use agreements with the five aboriginal communities on which
its Cauchari-Olaroz mine will be built.
Following the recommendation from the agency, the project proposal is
now being reviewed by the provincial committee of experts for
submission to the governor of Jujuy, in a bid for final construction
This marks the remaining administrative step required to be fully
permitted to build and operate the company’s lithium-potash project in
the province of Jujuy.
"Receiving approval from UGAM for our EIS is a key milestone in the
final permitting process for the Cauchari-Olaroz project,” said company
president and CEO, Dr. Waldo Perez.
“We have continued to work closely with the Committee of Experts and
all the agencies involved in the permitting process during the EIS
approval, as proven by the short period between submission of the EIS in
December 2011 to UGAM and their positive recommendation 8 months after.
"We anticipate receiving the Committee of Experts recommendation for the project in the near term.”
has defined the world’s third largest lithium brine resource at its
project, and completed a definitive feasibility study that identified
its operating cost per tonne of lithium carbonate is expected to be one
of the lowest in the industry.
In June, the company said the low operating cost and large brine
reserves of the project compare "very favourably" to existing lithium
carbonate producers, and suggest that the company has the potential to
become one of the largest and lowest cost lithium operations in the
The property has proven and probable reserves sufficient to operate
at a production rate of up to 40,000 tonnes per annum (TPA) of lithium
carbonate for 40 years, the company said, and up to 80,000 TPA of
potash, which would include an initial five year ramp-up period.
The company's plan is to build the project in two stages, with each
stage consisting of a 20,000 TPA lithium carbonate facility and a 40,000
TPA potash facility.
Highlights of the base case feasibility study include a pre-tax net
present value, at an 8 per cent discount rate, of US$738 million and a
pre-tax internal rate of return of 23 per cent.
Net cash operating costs per tonne of lithium carbonate are seen at
US$1,332. Overall project revenue is projected at US$6.6 billion and
project EBITDA is pegged at US$4.3 billion.
Mitsubishi Corporation and Magna International are shareholders in Lithium Americas, with both companies having off-take arrangements with the lithium miner.
Shares of Lithium Americas jumped more than 12 per cent Wednesday morning, to trade at $1.21 as of 10:24 am ET.