(PublicWire) — Li3 Energy, Inc. (OTCBB: LIEG), (“Li3 Energy” or the “Company”) is pleased to announce it has signed a letter of intent with a private Argentinean company to acquire lithium brine assets in the Puna region of northern Argentina.
The prospective location, known as the Rincon South Property (“Rincon South”), covers approximately 4,250 acres (1,720 hectares), comprising 14 claims on the southern portion of the Salar (“salt lake”) de Rincon, located adjacent to an advanced lithium brine pumping and production project owned by Sentient (“Sentient”), and which was previously developed by Rincon Lithium Limited (“Rincon Lithium”), a subsidiary of Admiralty Resources NL, of Australia.
On July 23, 2007 Rincon Lithium reported to the Australian Stock Exchange a proved plus probable reserve estimate at their Rincon holdings adjacent to the Rincon South properties of 1.4 million metric tons of lithium (approximately 7.3 million tons of lithium carbonate) and 50.8 million metric tons of potash. Given the known resources and relatively advanced state of development at Rincon, Li3 Energy management believes that this Rincon South project could potentially become the cornerstone of its lithium project portfolio in Argentina.
The Salar de Rincon is located in north-western Argentina near the Chilean border. Detailed analysis undertaken at the Sentient Rincon property indicates ideal chemistry and porosity for producing lithium with some of the highest porosities recorded for a Salar using state of the art geophysics, pumping and hydrology testing techniques. Limited drilling and testing at Rincon South demonstrates the brine is enriched in lithium, potash, and boron.
Tests by Rincon Lithium at the Salar de Rincon have been exceptionally detailed, including high volume pumping tests at 175,000 liters per hour with no noticeable drop in the brine levels. Fourteen observation boreholes were drilled by Rincon Lithium during a geologic study of their Rincon property as part of an extensive assessment of the indigenous hydrometallurgy. Results of the Rincon Lithium studies have shown a commercially viable average grade of 384mg/liter of lithium throughout the project area.
Salar de Rincon is located near the Salar del Hombre Muerto, also on the Argentinean Puna (“high plateau”), where a proven lithium extraction operation is currently underway by FMC Corporation. Salar de Rincon is also close to the Salar de Atacama on the Chilean Puna, where successful lithium extraction operations are being undertaken by both SQM SA, and Chemetall Foote Corp. The locations all share a number of similarities in terms of altitude, geology and depositional environment which provide for a wealth of additional useful data to Company personnel studying the planned acquisition.
Li3 Energy’s CEO Luis Saenz stated, “We believe this location is an excellent core project for rapid development. Given that previous works have included the establishment of roads, weather stations, a nearby pilot plant, evaporation ponds and homogeneity of lithium across the salar, we are confident that we can quickly begin implementing our strategic plans targeting realistic near term production at Rincon South.”
The proposed Rincon South transaction is subject to geological, engineering, legal and financial due diligence by Li3 Energy, which is anticipated to be finalized before April 30, 2010. The parties have agreed to use their best efforts to sign a formal agreement within this period. The letter of intent contains, and the formal agreement will contain, customary exclusivity provisions and other conditions to closing.
About Li3 Energy, Inc. (OTCBB: LIEG)
Li3 Energy, Inc. is an early stage, U.S. public company currently pursuing a business strategy in the lithium brine mining and energy sector in the Americas, with an initial focus on identifying and acquiring opportunities in Peru, Argentina, Chile and the United States. Li3 Energy aims to acquire a significant portfolio of lithium brine deposits in the Americas for the purpose of development and production in order to meet growing market demand and to support the clean energy and green energy initiatives being implemented globally. For more information visit: www.li3energy.com.
Certain statements in this news release are forward-looking statements. These statements are subject to risks and uncertainties. Words such as “expects,” “intends,” “plans,” “proposes,” “hopes,” “may,” “could,” “should,” “anticipates,” “likely,” “believes” and words of similar import also identify forward-looking statements. Forward-looking statements are based on current facts and analyses and other information and assumptions of management. Actual results may differ materially from those currently anticipated due to a number of factors beyond the reasonable control of Li3 Energy, including, but not limited to, Li3 Energy ‘s ability to identify appropriate corporate acquisition and/or joint venture opportunities in the lithium mining sector and to establish the technical and managerial infrastructure, and to raise the required capital, to take advantage of, and successfully participate in such opportunities; future economic condition; political stability; and lithium prices. Additional information on risks and other factors that may affect the business and financial results of Li3 Energy can be found in Li3 Energy’s annual, quarterly and current reports and other documents filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission and available at www.sec.gov.