Toronto, Canada: Arena Minerals Inc. (“Arena” or the “Company”) (TSX-V: AN | OTCQX: AMRZF) is pleased to announce it has entered into a Pastos Grandes Technical Collaboration Agreement (the “Collaboration Agreement”) with Lithium Americas Corp (TSX: LAC; NYSE: LAC) (“Lithium Americas”). The intention of the Collaboration Agreement is to share technical information and explore opportunities for collaborating on potential development alternatives with the overall objective of optimizing the production profile of the Pastos Grandes basin.
“This agreement is a testament to the strong relationship Arena has with Lithium Americas, and the commitment we share towards optimizing a sustainable, low impact, and environmentally sound lithium production facility in the Pastos Grandes basin,” commented William Randall, President & CEO of Arena. “Together, we can optimize resources and share technical knowledge to accelerate development while working with the local communities and provincial agencies.”
“Building our relationship with Arena Minerals is an indication of our commitment to expand and further develop our production profile in Salta, Argentina,” commented Ignacio Celorrio, President, Latin America of Lithium Americas. “Arena’s Sal de la Puna Project is adjacent to our recently acquired 100%-owned Pastos Grandes project, and together, we will collaborate to develop the basin in the most sustainable and efficient path for all stakeholders.”
Eduardo Morales, Executive Chairman of Arena, stated, “Our team is looking forward to collaborating on development initiatives, pooling together the most qualified technical teams in the lithium brine space. For Arena, the Collaboration Agreement is a momentous occasion, as it can now incorporate a wealth of feasibility level data into the development of the Sal de la Puna Project, including years of environmental baseline studies and millions of dollars of drill hole and sampling data.”
The Collaboration Agreement shall be governed by a technical committee (the “Technical Committee”) comprising three members nominated by Lithium Americas, and three members nominated by Sal de la Puna Holdings Inc. (SdlPH”) which is jointly owned by Arena (65%) and Ganfeng New Energy Technology Development (Suzhou) Co., Ltd. (“Ganfeng Lithium”; 1772.HK; OTCQX: GNENF) (35%).
The Technical Committee will consider ways in which the parties can exchange information and ideas and otherwise collaborate to expand the knowledge of the parties regarding the geology and hydrogeology of the Pastos Grandes basin and the technical aspects of extracting, concentrating and processing brine to produce lithium products from their respective properties. These include:
- Exploring and developing optimal processing technologies, including:
- production of 35% lithium chloride (6% lithium) directly from ponds, without the construction of a carbonate plant,
- production of lithium carbonate from 35% lithium chloride vs using a liming process with the construction of an on-site carbonate plant; and
- potential alternative direct lithium extraction technologies;
- Developing a basin-wide resource model, including a dynamic hydrogeological model and water resources/sources model;
- Developing an optimal brine production model from the combined tenements of SdlPH and Lithium Americas in Pastos Grandes, integrated with the basin-wide model and brine resources; and
- The coordination of any joint presentations and reports the parties agree to make together to the mining, environmental and water authorities, communities and any related stakeholder to the parties’ respective project.
Information to be shared includes environmental baseline data, drill hole and sampling databases, processing methodologies and concentration paths, and existing extractive model, including resource and dynamic brine models. However, neither LAC, Arena or SdlPH will provide, transfer, grant or license any intellectual property to the other, including patents, inventions and know-how, and neither party will acquire any interest in intellectual property owned by the other party. This includes Arena’s proprietary process aimed at producing 35% lithium chloride from evaporation ponds.
The provision of such information is governed by a confidentiality agreement between the parties (the “Confidentiality Agreement”), which agreement contains specifics respecting the information to be shared by the parties and provides that the disclosure of information is subject to the discretion of each of Lithium Americas and SdlPH.
The Collaboration Agreement also includes the common use of infrastructure owned by both companies, so long as the use does not interfere with the operation of the respective projects. The infrastructure includes a fully equipped on-site analytical laboratory, pilot ponding facilities, a pilot carbonate conversion plant, and ancillary camp infrastructure.
The first Technical Committee meeting has taken place, during which Lithium Americas and SdlPH set committee members, coordinated sharing of data, discussed infrastructure access and requirements, and approved the sharing/use of environmental baseline studies. Further initiatives were also discussed, including processing paths and development initiatives. Further work will be disclosed as available.
Appointment of Director
Arena Minerals Inc also announces the appointment of Xiaofeng Luo (Jason) as a Non-Executive Director of the Board nominated by Ganfeng Lithium Inc., with effect from May 24, 2022, replacing Sam Pigott, who has resigned from the Board of Arena Minerals on the same date. The Board of Directors would like to thank Mr. Pigott for his contribution and wish him well in his future endeavours.
Xiaofeng Luo is President and CEO, Litio Minera Argentina and Ganfeng Litio Argentina, both 100% owned subsidiaries of Ganfeng Lithium and serves as Ganfeng Lithium’s representative on the SDLP Technical Committee. Jason completed his PhD in Geology at the China University of Mining & Technology and his Master of Science from the University of Nottingham.
About Arena Minerals Inc.
Arena owns 65% of the Sal de la Puna Project covering approximately 11,000 hectares of the Pastos Grandes basin located in Salta, Argentina. The claims are highly prospective and share the basin with two advanced lithium brine projects. In addition to Sal de la Puna, the Company owns the Antofalla lithium brine project in Argentina, consisting of four claims covering a total of 6,000 hectares of the central portion of Salar de Antofalla, located immediately south of Albemarle Corporation’s Antofalla project. Arena has developed a proprietary brine processing technology using brine type reagents derived from the Antofalla project with the objective of producing more competitive battery grade lithium products.
Arena also owns 80 percent of the Atacama Copper property within the Antofagasta region of Chile, and 5.8 million shares of Astra Exploration. The projects are at low altitudes, within producing mining camps in infrastructure-rich areas, located in the heart of Chile’s premier copper mining district.
For more information regarding the Company, its management, expertise, and projects, please visit www.arenaminerals.com. An email registration allowing subscribers to directly receive news and updates is also available on the website.
The technical information contained in this news release has been reviewed and approved by William Randall, P.Geo, who is a Qualified Person as defined under NI 43-101. Mr. Randall is a director and is the Chief Executive Officer and President of Arena.
For more information, contact William Randall, President and CEO, at +1-416-818-8711 or Simon Marcotte, Corporate Development, at +1-647-801-7273 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
On behalf of the Board of Directors of: Arena Minerals Inc.
William Randall, President and CEO
Cautionary Note Regarding Accuracy and Forward-Looking Information
This news release may contain forward-looking information within the meaning of applicable Canadian securities legislation. Forward-looking information includes, but is not limited to, statements, projections and estimates relating to the future development of any of the Company’s properties, the anticipating timing with respect to private placement financings, the ability of the Company to complete private placement financings, results of the exploration program, future financial or operating performance of the Company, its subsidiaries and its projects, the development of and the anticipated timing with respect to the Atacama project in Chile, the Antofalla, Hombre Muerto or Pocitos Projects in Argentina , and the Company’s ability to obtain financing. Generally, forward-looking information can be identified by the use of forward-looking terminology such as “plans”, “expects” or “does not expect”, “is expected”, “budget”, “scheduled”, “estimates”, “forecasts”, “intends”, “anticipates” or “does not anticipate”, or “believes”, or variations of such words and phrases or state that certain actions, events or results “may”, “could”, “would”, “might” or “will be taken”, “occur” or “be achieved”. The statements made herein are based on current expectations and assumptions that are subject to risks and uncertainties. Actual results could differ materially because of factors discussed in the management discussion and analysis section of the Company’s interim and most recent annual financial statement or other reports and filings with the TSX Venture Exchange and applicable Canadian securities regulations. Estimates underlying the results set out in this news release arise from work conducted by the previous owners and the Company. Forward-looking information is subject to known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors that may cause the actual results, level of activity, performance or achievements of the Company to be materially different from those expressed or implied by such forward-looking information, including but not limited to: general business, economic, competitive, geopolitical and social uncertainties; the actual results of current exploration activities; other risks of the mining industry and the risks described in the annual information form of the Company. Although the Company has attempted to identify important factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from those contained in forward-looking information, there may be other factors that cause results not to be as anticipated, estimated or intended. There can be no assurance that such information will prove to be accurate, as actual results and future events could differ materially from those anticipated in such statements. Accordingly, readers should not place undue reliance on forward-looking information. Arena Minerals does not undertake to update any forward-looking information, except in accordance with applicable securities laws. Neither TSX Venture Exchange nor its Regulation Services Provider (as that term is defined in the policies of the TSX Venture Exchange) accept responsibility for the adequacy or accuracy of this release.