Lithium Americas Corp.

Lithium Americas Corp.

January 20, 2015 09:04 ET

Lithium Americas Announces First Production of Lithium Ready for Export from Cauchari Salar in Jujuy Province, Argentina

POSCO's High Efficiency Lithium Extraction Demo Plant Achieving or Exceeding All Performance Targets

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwired - Jan. 20, 2015) -

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Lithium Americas Corp. (TSX:LAC) ("LAC" or the "Company") is pleased to announce that POSCO's innovative high efficiency lithium extraction demonstration plant (the "Demo Plant") operating at LAC's Cauchari salar in Jujuy Province, Argentina, has produced in excess of six tonnes of lithium compound since the formal inauguration of the Demo Plant on December 22, 2014. These initial six tonnes of lithium compound will now be sent by POSCO to Korea for final processing and packaging, and then delivered for testing to end users and potential customers. POSCO has advised that initial test results indicate that the Demo Plant is achieving or exceeding all initial performance targets as it has operated on a continuous 24 hour production cycle.

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The POSCO extraction process is also capable of producing potash. The potash demonstration plant, located in Jujuy city, is in the final stage of construction and is expected to be in operation in the next few weeks. Both the lithium and potash plants will operate for several weeks, following which LAC expects to commence commercial stage negotiations with POSCO in the spring of 2015.

As previously reported, POSCO, Korea's largest steel company and a leader in the development of advanced material processes, has developed a proprietary and innovative lithium extraction technology which it believes has numerous advantages compared to traditional lithium brine evaporation technology. Specifically, POSCO claims that its technology produces lithium considerably more quickly than traditional brine evaporation technology, minimizes the environmental footprint associated with large scale evaporation ponds used in traditional brine evaporation technology, and has a recovery rate which is significantly higher than traditional brine evaporation technology. The higher recovery rates associated with POSCO's processing technology should result in a project requiring fewer production wells for a given level of production, thereby reducing the capital cost requirements for the wells as compared to traditional evaporation technology. In addition, higher recovery rates would serve to increase the effective size of a lithium resource, thereby extending the life of a project. POSCO's several hundred tonne per year Demo Plant is the final stage test in the commercialization plan for its high efficiency lithium extraction process, having previously successfully operated pilot plants in 2011 and 2013, respectively.

LAC's previously published National Instrument 43-101 compliant Feasibility Study ("FS") was based on the use of traditional evaporation technology. According to the FS results, the resource estimate contained in the Company's Cauchari-Olaroz lithium project is the third largest known lithium brine resource in the world.

LAC's board of directors met in Argentina this past week, visited the Company's Cauchari-Olaroz lithium project, and received a tour of the Demo Plant, conducted by Dr. Uong Chon, head of POSCO's lithium team. Following the Board visit, LAC's Executive Chairman, Tom Hodgson, commented: "We are very encouraged by the positive initial test results of the Demo Plant, and congratulate Dr. Chon and his team for their exceptional efforts in constructing a very impressive facility. We are excited by the many benefits that POSCO's technology is expected to bring to our already world-class lithium resource, and we look forward to beginning commercial stage negotiations in the near future."

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Cautionary Note and Forward-Looking Statements

This press release contains forward looking statements, which can be identified by the use of statements that include words such as "developing", "expect", "will", "continue", "implementing", 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 resource and reserve estimates, grade/concentration or recovery rates, lithium or potash prices, operating or capital costs; changes in project parameters as plans continue to be refined; political, community relations, regulatory, environmental and other risks of the mining industry and other risks more fully described in the Company's Annual Information Form available on SEDAR. The Cauchari-Olaroz project has no operating history upon which to base estimates of future cash flow. The capital expenditures and time required to develop any new project is considerable and changes in capital and/or operating costs or construction schedules can affect project economics. It is possible that actual capital and/or operating costs may increase significantly and economic returns may differ materially from the Company's estimates or that prices of lithium and/or potash may decrease significantly or that the Company could fail to enter into a commercialization agreement for the project, extraction technologies may not function as expected or at all, or may fail to obtain further project financing on acceptable terms and conditions or at all, in which case, the project may not proceed either on its original timing or at all. It is not unusual in the mining industry for new mining operations to experience unexpected problems during the start-up phase, resulting in delays and requiring more capital than anticipated. 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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