Lithium Americas secures long term land use agreements for its Cauchari-Olaroz Lithium/Potash Brine Project
January 3rd, 2011 (Source: Marketwire) — Lithium Americas Corp. (TSX:LAC)(OTCQX:LHMAF) ("Lithium Americas" or the "Company"), is pleased to announce that it has secured long term land use agreements (the "Agreements") with five aboriginal communities located on the Cauchari-Olaroz properties. The Company is also providing an update on the progress it has made in obtaining the final approval for its Environmental Impact Statement ("EIS").
"The Agreements that we have signed are an acknowledgement of the mutual respect between Lithium Americas and the aboriginal people," said Dr. Waldo A. Perez, President and CEO of Lithium Americas. "These Agreements, providing Lithium Americas the right to build and put into production its lithium/potash operation, were the continuation of years of engagement with the aboriginal communities that started with a Social Responsibility Plan, developed in accordance with the Ecuador Principles and e3 plus guidelines, and aimed at promoting social development while minimizing the impact on the environment. We are extremely pleased to have secured land rights for the next 30 years while gaining the full engagement and participation of the region's traditional owners."
Under the terms of the Agreements, Lithium Americas will pay pre-determined fees upon signing of the Agreements, approval of the EIS, as well as annual fees over the 30 year term of the Agreements. Other important aspects of the Agreements are to provide employment priority to individuals living in the local communities, to provide training programs to the local communities, to establish joint environmental monitoring programs, and to implement a program to develop local service providers. Lithium Americas expects to finalize the land use agreement with the sixth and final aboriginal community in the near future.
Completion of Environmental and Social Baseline Study
Since 2009, Lithium Americas has been working with Ausenco Vector Inc., a world leading engineering and environmental consulting firm specializing in mining and minerals processing, on an Environmental and Social Baseline Study (the "Baseline"). The Baseline is now complete and has been presented to the Mining Judge of the Province of Jujuy, the Director of Mines and Energy Resources, the Director of Environmental Policies for Natural Resources and the Provincial Committee of Experts. While presentation of the Baseline is not compulsory under Argentinean regulations, Lithium Americas has shared the Baseline with various government authorities and the aboriginal communities, because Lithium Americas believes that a transparent relationship with the provincial mining authorities and the local communities will make the EIS approvals process both easier and quicker. The Company has already signed an agreement with the Director of Mines and Energy Resources and the Director of Environmental Policies for Natural Resources to use the Baseline in order to generate a long term management plan for the development and monitoring of the Cauchari-Olaroz lithium/potash project.
Submission of Environmental Impact Statement
Lithium Americas has completed and submitted its EIS for approval to the Director of Mines and Energy Resources for the Province of Jujuy. The Company expects to complete its definitive Feasibility Study in the second quarter of 2012, and looks forward to working with the Committee of Experts, the Minister of Production, and the Secretary General of the Provincial Government over the coming months in order to obtain final government approval of the EIS in a timely manner.
About the Company
Lithium Americas is developing one of the world's largest and lowest cost lithium operations. The Company has defined the world's third largest lithium brine resource. A Preliminary Economic Assessment prepared by the independent engineering firm ARA WorleyParsons indicates that Lithium Americas' operating cost per tonne of lithium carbonate is US$1,434 (prior to expected potash and boron by-product credits), based on available industry information; this would make Lithium Americas the world's lowest cost lithium producer. The Company is currently working on completing a definitive Feasibility Study. Mitsubishi Corporation and Magna International are shareholders in the Company, in addition to both companies having off-take arrangements with Lithium Americas.
Roger Kelley, B.Sc. (Chem. Eng.), of ARA WorleyParsons and independent QP of the Company has reviewed and approved this press release.
The Preliminary Economic Assessment is based on mineral resources. Mineral resources that are not mineral reserves do not have demonstrated economic viability.
This press release contains forward-looking statements, which can be identified by the use of statements that include words such as "could", "potential", "believe", "expect", "anticipate", "intend", "plan", "likely", "will" or other similar words or phrases. The Company does not intend, and does not assume any obligations, to update forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise, unless otherwise required by applicable securities laws. Readers should not place undue reliance on forward-looking statements. Readers should review the Company's annual information form dated May 30, 2011 for a list of risks associated with the Company, and its business.