Lithium Americas Corp.
TSX : LAC
OTCQX : LHMAF

Lithium Americas Corp.

July 18, 2011 07:30 ET

Lithium Americas Announces Financial and Operating Results for Three Months Ended May 31, 2011

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - July 18, 2011) - Lithium Americas Corp. (TSX:LAC)(OTCQX:LHMAF)

  • Independent Preliminary Economic Assessment ("PEA") report values the World Class Cauchari-Olaroz Lithium Project at US$983 million before tax
  • PEA estimates cash operating costs of US$1,434 per tonne of Lithium Carbonate, one of the lowest in the industry
  • $31 million incurred in exploration to date
  • Strong cash position - $22 million in cash and cash equivalents

Lithium Americas Corp. ("Lithium Americas" or the "Company"), today reported that it has filed its interim financial reports, including the unaudited condensed consolidated interim financial statements and management discussion and analysis, as at, and for the three months ended, May 31, 2011, These documents are available in the SEDAR database at www.sedar.com or on the Company's website www.lithiumamericas.com. All amounts are expressed in Canadian dollars, unless otherwise indicated.

During the three months ended May 31, 2011 the Company incurred $3.4 million in property rights and exploration costs to further evaluation activities necessary to advance the project to the definitive feasibility study stage. As at May 31, 2011, a total of $30.9 million has been invested in property rights and exploration on the Company's world class Cauchari-Olaroz Lithium Project in Argentina. As at May 31, 2011, the Company had $22.4 million in cash and cash equivalents and positive working capital of $21.3 million.

"The progress made this quarter keeps us on schedule to achieve our major near-term milestone of a completed Definitive Feasibility Study in the first quarter of 2012'" said Dr. Waldo Perez, President and CEO of Lithium Americas. "With current industry producers recently increasing lithium carbonate prices by 20%, the Cauchari-Olaroz Lithium Project, one of the largest and lowest cost lithium projects in the world, is expected to continue benefiting from significant forecast increases in lithium demand over the foreseeable future."

Operational highlights during the three months ended May 31, 2011 include:

  • Filing of an independent NI 43-101 compliant Preliminary Economic Assessment ("PEA") report determining a pre-tax Net Present Value ("NPV") of the Cauchari-Olaroz Lithium Project of US$983 million, assuming an 8% discount rate, and an after-tax NPV of US$715 million. The PEA provides for a 40,000 tonne per annum ("TPA") lithium carbonate ("LCE") production facility built in two phases of 20,000 TPA, with construction of the first phase expected to begin in 2012.
  • The PEA estimates capital costs of the first phase at US$217 million and cash operating costs of $1,434 per tonne, which the Company believes is one of the lowest operating costs in the industry.
  • The PEA does not include potash or boric acid production which could potentially add further value to the project.
  • The Company has engaged SGS Lakefield to construct an on-site continuous lithium carbonate pilot plant to produce a 99.5% purity lithium carbonate, with first production of lithium carbonate expected in the fourth quarter of 2011.

About the Company

Lithium Americas is developing one of the world's largest and lowest cost lithium operations. The Company's Cauchari-Olaroz Lithium Project comprises a significant portion of two adjacent Argentinean salt lakes, Cauchari and Olaroz, covering 82,498 hectares located in the "Lithium Triangle" region of South America. This region contains over 80% of the world's lithium brine reserves. To the best knowledge of Lithium Americas, the Cauchari-Olaroz Lithium Project hosts the 3rd largest known lithium brine resource in the world. The Company's recently completed Preliminary Economic Assessment identifies a pre-tax NPV of $983 million (8% discount), and operating expenses which are one of the lowest in the industry. Mitsubishi Corporation and Magna International are shareholders in the Company, in addition to both companies having off-take arrangements with Lithium Americas.

This press release contains forward looking statements, which can be identified by the use of statements that include words such as "developing", "estimate", "could", "potential", "believe", "expect", "anticipate", "intend", "plan", "likely", "will" or other similar words or phrases. Forward-looking statements express, as at the date of this press release, the Company's plans, estimates, forecasts, projections, expectations, or beliefs as to future events or results. Forward-looking statements are based on certain assumptions, including the key assumptions and parameters on which such estimates are based, involve risks and uncertainties and there can be no assurance that such statements will prove to be accurate. Therefore, actual results and future events could differ materially from those anticipated in such statements. Factors that could cause results or events to differ materially from current expectations expressed or implied by the forward-looking statements, include, but are not limited to, possible variations in mineral resources, grade or recovery rates, lithium prices, operating or capital costs; availability of sufficient financing to fund planned or further required work in a timely manner and on acceptable terms; changes in project parameters as plans continue to be refined; failure of equipment or processes to operate as anticipated or other unanticipated difficulties or interruptions; political, community relations, regulatory, environmental and other risks of the mining industry and other risks more fully described in the Company's prospectus dated May 6, 2010 and its most recent management's discussion and analysis available on SEDAR. Although the Company has attempted to identify important factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from those contained in forward looking statements, there may be other factors that cause results to be materially different from those planned, estimated, forecasted, projected or expected. 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.

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