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Monday, 27 May 2013
Lithium Americas' soon-to-be chief buys up 100,000 shares in public market
Board director and soon-to-be interim chief executive John Kanellitsas has bought up 100,000 shares of Lithium Americas (TSE:LAC) on the public market, for approximately $50,000, signalling his confidence in the company that has obtained all necessary government permits to start project construction at its Cauchari-Olaroz project in Argentina, with financing discussions now underway.
Kanellitsas, which is also the chief operating officer of investment management firm Geologic Resource Partners -Lithium Americas' largest shareholder, completed a series of share purchase transactions last week, buying up a total of 100,000 shares in the public market, at prices ranging from 49 cents to 50 cents. He spent a total of $49,789 on the share acquisitions, which were all filed last Friday.
The move follows the company's announcement in early May, when it said current president and chief executive Dr. Waldo Perez will be stepping down from his role at the annual general meeting next month, and will be replaced by director Kanellitsas in the interim.
Dr. Perez, who has been the chief of the company since its inception in 2009, is credited with leading the Argentina-focused company in its completion of an extensive drilling program and definitive feasibility study at the Cauchari-Olaroz project, which resulted in the identification of the third largest lithium brine resource in the world, and one of the lowest cost lithium projects.
Kanellitsas has been a director of Lithium Americas since 2011, and has worked in financial markets and asset management for over two decades in San Francisco, New York, and Sun Valley. He is also a director of Kiska Metals Corp.
Kanellitsas spoke excitedly about his new role earlier this month, and of the current prospects in the lithium sector, saying the company believes lithium demand will continue to grow significantly from advances in battery technologies related to electric vehicles and grid storage applications.
With regards to project financing, Lithium Americas has said that it has had "numerous" parties review contents of its data room, with the process generating "strong and continuing interest from a number of potential partners" globally, despite the difficult financing climate.
The company created an executive committee to oversee various financing proposals last November. As of early in May, Lithium Americas said it was hopeful to be in a position to provide more specific detail on the process in the near future.
Shares of Lithium America are holding steady at 50 cents, with the company having a market capitalization of $38.65 million.