TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwired - Jan. 17, 2014) - Lithium Americas Corp. (TSX:LAC) ("Lithium Americas" or the "Company") today announced that it has signed a Co-operation Agreement ("Agreement") with POSCO, Korea's largest steel company and a leader in the development of advanced materials processes. Pursuant to the Agreement, POSCO will locate its next generation lithium extraction pilot plant at Lithium Americas' Cauchari-Olaroz project ("Project") in the province of Jujuy, Argentina. The pilot plant is expected to be operational at the Project during the fourth quarter of 2014.
In recent years, POSCO has been developing an innovative lithium extraction technology, which is both much faster than traditional brine evaporation technology, and minimizes the environmental footprint associated with large scale evaporation ponds. "We are very pleased that POSCO selected our Project as the location for its large scale pilot plant," commented Franco Mignacco, Vice Chairman of Lithium Americas, and President of the Company's Argentinean subsidiary, Minera Exar S.A. "We look forward to working with POSCO and their lithium team to pursue the application of this advanced lithium extraction technology that significantly shortens the commercial production timeline for lithium and potassium compared to traditional evaporation technology."
The Co-operation Agreement assigns business responsibilities between POSCO and Lithium Americas, whereby POSCO will be responsible for the development of the technology and management and operation of the pilot plant, while Lithium Americas will provide resources in the form of brine and local support. The Agreement is limited to pilot plant operations, but provides for an exclusivity period in the future to negotiate terms of a commercial stage operation. Costs of building, delivering and operating the pilot plant will be borne by POSCO, which also retains 100% ownership of the pilot plant.
About the Company
Lithium Americas is developing one of the world's largest and lowest cost lithium operations, and is in continued discussions regarding project financing. The Company has defined the world's third largest lithium brine resource, and a completed definitive Feasibility Study identified that Lithium Americas' operating cost per tonne of lithium carbonate is expected to be one of the lowest in the industry.