Lithium Americas will separate into two leading lithium companies
Lithium Americas will separate its North American and Argentine business units into two independent public companies.
The company announced that the Lithium International will be an Argentina-focused company owning Lithium Americas’ current interest in its Argentine lithium assets, including the near-production Caucharí-Olaroz lithium brine project in Jujuy, Argentina (Caucharí-Olaroz).
Lithium Americas (NewCo) with focus on North American and will own the Thacker Pass lithium project in Humboldt County, NV as well as the company’s North American investments.
“Following a comprehensive review of the merits of separating Lithium Americas into two public entities, we have reinforced our beliefs that separating the North American and Argentine businesses will facilitate unlocking the full potential of their significant asset base to deliver maximum value to our shareholders and other stakeholders,” said Jonathan Evans, President and CEO. “Upon completion of the separation, Lithium Americas shareholders will retain ownership in two leading lithium businesses – one of the largest known lithium developments in North America, which is central to the U.S. domestic supply chain, and a near-term producing portfolio with significant growth from two high-quality projects in Argentina.”
Upon completion of the separation, Lithium International will continue to hold the company’s 44.8 percent interest in Caucharí-Olaroz and 100 percent interest in the Pastos Grandes lithium brine project in Salta, Argentina. It will also hold the company’s approximately 17 percent investment in Arena Minerals Inc.
Meanwhile, Lithium Americas (NewCo) will hold the company’s 100 percent interest in Thacker Pass, one of the most advanced lithium projects currently known to be under development in the U.S., as well as the company’s investments in Green Technology Metals Limited and Ascend Elements, Inc.
The company is moving Thacker Pass toward production and has received all federal and state permits needed to commence construction, with a ruling on the Record of Decision appeal expected in early 2023. On July 20, 2022, the company celebrated the inauguration of its Lithium Technical Development Center in Reno, NV, which was developed to demonstrate the processing of Thacker Pass ore. The LiTDC achieved battery-quality specifications with product samples being produced for potential customers and partners. Thacker Pass is aligned with the U.S. national agenda to enhance domestic supply of critical minerals and has the potential to be a leading near-term source of lithium for the North American battery supply chain.
Lithium International will be focused on ramping up Caucharí-Olaroz to bring Stage 1 operations of 40 kt/a (44,000 stpy) lithium carbonate to production in the first half of 2023. Once at full capacity, Caucharí-Olaroz will be the largest known new battery-quality lithium carbonate brine operation to come into production in over 20 years. Lithium International will also be focused on further maximizing shareholder value within its Argentinian portfolio from a Stage 2 expansion at Caucharí-Olaroz and advancing regional growth opportunities through Pastos Grandes and the Company’s collaboration with Arena Minerals.
It is anticipated that the Separation will be completed by way of Plan of Arrangement under the laws of British Columbia, with each shareholder of the company retaining their proportionate interest in shares of the company, which would become Lithium International, and receiving newly issued shares of Lithium Americas (NewCo) in proportion to their then-current ownership of the Company.