Bacanora Lithium plc (AIM: BCN), the London traded lithium company, is pleased to announce the signing of its Investment Agreement and Offtake Agreement (‘the Strategic Investment’) with Ganfeng Lithium Co., Ltd. (“Ganfeng” or “GFL”), the world’s largest lithium metals producer in terms of production capacity and the world’s third largest lithium compounds producer. Both agreements, which are on substantially the same terms as outlined in the Company’s announcement on 20 May 2019, have now been submitted to the relevant authorities in China for approval and completion. Completion of the Strategic Investment is anticipated by the end of July 2019 and would form a major part of the Company’s finance package for an initial 17,500 tonnes per annum lithium carbonate operation at the large scale, high grade Sonora Project in Mexico.
· Cornerstone strategic investment of 29.99% in Bacanora for £14,400,091
o GFL has been granted pre-emption rights proportionate to its shareholding in Bacanora
o GFL shall appoint one Director to the Board of Bacanora
· Project level investment of 22.5% in Sonora Lithium Ltd (“SLL”), the holding company for the Sonora Lithium Project, for £7,563,649
o GFL has an option to increase its interest in SLL to up to 50% within 24 months at a valuation based on the share price of Bacanora at the time of subsequent investment
o GFL shall appoint one Director to the Board of SLL
· Additional long-term offtake at a market-based price per tonne
o 50% of Stage 1 lithium production
o Up to 75% of Stage 2 lithium production
· GFL will complete a review within six months of the EPC engineering design and capital costs of Sonora Lithium Project with a view to reducing costs and accelerating the timetable
· GFL will provide a plant and process commissioning team to assist Bacanora in delivering first production in 2021
Peter Secker, CEO, of Bacanora Lithium, commented: “The signature of these agreements with Ganfeng is another significant milestone in the development of the Sonora project. Ganfeng’s operational expertise and industrial credibility is a strong endorsement of the Sonora Project’s potential to break the lithium industry’s current supply duopoly of hard-rock and brine, and combine the speed of production of the first with the low operational cost per tonne of the second. Ganfeng’s commitment to the Sonora Project will be demonstrated during the financing of both the equity and project funding stages of the capital expenditure required to complete Stage 1 of the Sonora Project. So, in conjunction with our existing senior debt facility from RK Mine Finance, we are now much closer to completing the construction funding for Stage 1 and transforming Bacanora into a major supplier of battery grade lithium to fast growing industries, such as electric vehicles and energy storage.”
Mr Wang Xiaoshen, the Deputy Chairman of GFL, commented: “In signing these agreements we are not just committing immediate financial and technical support to the Sonora Project, but also advancing Ganfeng’s growth strategy to become the world’s largest lithium producer. We are demonstrating our intention to be the cornerstone funding partner for Bacanora at a corporate and project level going forward. Over the rest of 2019, we will work closely with Bacanora’s management team to optimise project capital costs and evaluate potential economies of scale in the Sonora Project.”
GFL is the world’s third largest and China’s largest lithium compounds producer and the world’s largest lithium metals producer in terms of production capacity as of 31 December 2017, according to CRU International Limited. GFL’s operations are vertically integrated, encompassing all critical stages of the value chain, including upstream lithium extraction, midstream lithium compounds and metals processing as well as downstream lithium battery production and recycling. GFL has one of the most comprehensive product offerings split into five major categories of more than 40 lithium compounds and metals products.
This announcement contains inside information for the purposes of Article 7 of EU Regulation 596/2014.
For further information, please contact:
Bacanora Lithium plc
Peter Secker, CEO
Janet Boyce, CFO
Cairn Financial Advisers LLP, Nomad
Sandy Jamieson / Liam Murray
+44 (0) 20 7213 0880
Citigroup Global Markets, Broker
Tom Reid / Patrick Evans / Matthew Kenney
+44 (0) 20 7986 4000
Canaccord Genuity, Broker
+44 (0) 20 7523 8000
St Brides Partners, Financial PR Adviser
Frank Buhagiar / Gaby Jenner
+44 (0) 20 7236 1177
ABOUT BACANORA LITHIUM:
Bacanora owns ten mining concession areas covering approximately 100 thousand hectares in the northeast of Sonora State in Mexico. Seven of these ten mining concessions (the ‘Sonora Lithium Project’1) were included in the Feasibility Study announced 12 December 2017. The Company, through drilling and exploration work to date, has established a Measured plus Indicated Mineral Resource estimate of over 5 Mt (comprising 1.9Mt of Measured Resources and 3.1Mt of Indicated Resources) of LCE2 and an additional Inferred Mineral Resource of 3.7 Mt of LCE. The Company’s Feasibility Study has established Proven Mineral Reserves (in accordance with NI 43-101) of 1.67 Mt and Probable Mineral Reserves of 2.85 Mt LCE and confirmed the economics associated with becoming a 35,000 tpa lithium carbonate and 30,000 tpa SOP producer in Mexico. In addition to the Sonora Lithium Project, the Company also has a 50% interest in the Zinnwald Lithium Project and the Falkenhain and Altenberg Licences in southern Saxony, Germany. Each of the Zinnwald Lithium Project, and the Falkenhain and Altenberg Licences are located in a granite hosted Sn/W/Li belt that has been mined historically for tin, tungsten and lithium at different times over the past 300 years. The strategic location of the Zinnwald Lithium Project and the Falkenhain and Altenberg Licences provides close geographical proximity to the German automotive and downstream lithium chemical industries.
1. The Sonora Lithium Project is comprised of the following lithium properties: La Ventana lithium concession, which is 100 percent owned by Bacanora and El Sauz and Fleur concessions, which are held by Mexilit S.A. de C.V. (‘Mexilit’) which is owned 70 percent by Bacanora and 30 percent by Cadence Minerals Plc.
2. LCE = lithium carbonate (Li2CO3) equivalent; determined by multiplying Li value in percent by 5.323 to get an equivalent Li2CO3 value in per cent. Use of LCE is to provide data comparable with industry reports and assumes complete conversion of lithium in clays with no recovery or process losses.
Cautionary Statement Regarding Forward-Looking Information
Except for statements of historical fact, this news release contains certain “forward-looking information” within the meaning of applicable securities law. Forward-looking information is frequently characterized by words such as “plan”, “expect”, “project”, “intend”, “believe”, “anticipate”, “estimate” and other similar words, or statements that certain events or conditions “may” or “will” occur. Although we believe that the expectations reflected in the forward-looking information are reasonable, there can be no assurance that such expectations will prove to be correct. We cannot guarantee future results, performance or achievements. Consequently, there is no representation that the actual results achieved will be the same, in whole or in part, as those set out in the forward-looking information.
Forward-looking information is based on the opinions and estimates of management at the date the statements are made, and are subject to a variety of risks and uncertainties and other factors that could cause actual events or results to differ materially from those anticipated in the forward-looking information. Some of the risks and other factors that could cause the results to differ materially from those expressed in the forward-looking information include, but are not limited to: commodity price volatility; general economic conditions in the UK, the United States, Mexico and globally; industry conditions, governmental regulation, including environmental regulation; unanticipated operating events or performance; failure to obtain industry partner and other third party consents and approvals, if and when required; the availability of capital on acceptable terms; the need to obtain required approvals from regulatory authorities; stock market volatility; competition for, among other things, capital, skilled personnel and supplies; changes in tax laws; and the other risk factors disclosed under our profile on SEDAR at www.sedar.com. Readers are cautioned that this list of risk factors should not be construed as exhaustive.
The forward-looking information contained in this news release is expressly qualified by this cautionary statement. We undertake no duty to update any of the forward-looking information to conform such information to actual results or to changes in our expectations except as otherwise required by applicable securities legislation. Readers are cautioned not to place undue reliance on forward-looking information.
The contents of this announcement have been prepared by and are the sole responsibility of Bacanora.
The contents of this announcement have been approved solely for the purposes of section 21(2)(b) of the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000 by Citigroup Global Markets Limited, whose registered office is at Citigroup Centre, Canada Square, Canary Wharf, London, E14 5LB. Citigroup Global Markets Limited, which is authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority in the United Kingdom, and Canaccord Genuity Limited, which is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority, are each acting exclusively for Bacanora and no one else in connection with the Project, and will not regard any other person as their client in relation to the Project and will not be responsible to anyone other than Bacanora for providing the protections afforded to their respective clients, nor for providing advice in relation to the Project or the contents of this announcement or any transaction, arrangement or other matter referred to herein.
None of Citigroup Global Markets Limited, Canaccord Genuity Limited nor any of their respective subsidiary undertakings, affiliates or any of their respective partners, directors, officers, employees, advisers, agents or any other person accepts any responsibility or liability whatsoever for, or makes any representation or warranty, express or implied, as to the truth, accuracy, completeness or fairness of the information or opinions in this announcement (or whether any information has been omitted from the announcement) or any other information relating to Bacanora, or any of their subsidiaries or associated companies, whether written, oral or in a visual or electronic form, and howsoever transmitted or made available or for any loss howsoever arising from any use of this announcement or its contents or otherwise arising in connection with it. Each of Citigroup Global Markets and Canaccord Genuity, Broker (together, the “Banks”) is acting exclusively for Bacanora and no one else in connection with any matter referred to in this announcement and will not be responsible to anyone other than Bacanora for providing the protections afforded to their respective clients nor for providing advice in relation to any matter referred to in this announcement. Neither the Banks nor any of their respective subsidiaries, branches or affiliates owes or accepts any duty, liability or responsibility whatsoever (whether direct or indirect, whether in contract, in tort, under statute or otherwise) to any person who is not a client of the Banks in connection with this announcement, any statements contained herein or otherwise.