Lithium Americas gets $113m for Cauchari-Olaroz project, Argentina


Lithium Americas has closed the investment agreement with BCP Innovation and secured $113m in funding for development of the Cauchari-Olaroz lithium project in Jujuy Province, Argentina.  

The company will use the investment to undertake construction activity at the project.

The agreement includes a private placement equity financing and a debt facility, with an offtake contract signed in January.

Lithium Americas CEO Tom Hodgson said: "Together with the recent Ganfeng investment, Lithium Americas has raised $285m in debt and equity and is in a strong financial position to fund our remaining share of Cauchari-Olaroz’ capital costs alongside our joint venture partner, SQM.

"With development now well underway, we remain on track to reach production by 2019 with the objective of becoming the next low-cost lithium producer from brine."

BCP Innovation is a wholly owned subsidiary of petrol refining company Bangchak Corporation Public Company.

"With development now well underway, we remain on track to reach production by 2019."

In accordance with the private placement process, Bangchak was offered 50,000,000 Lithium Americas common shares for gross proceeds of $33m. 

The addition of the latest share offering will increase Bangchak’s holding in the company to 70,300,000 common shares, or around 16.4% of its issued and outstanding common shares. 

Under the debt facility terms, Bangchak has agreed to offer a loan of $80m to Lithium Americas to fund a portion of Cauchari-Olaroz’ construction costs. 

In exchange for the debt financing, Bangchak has been granted a 20-year offtake contract to purchase 20% of the company’s share of the first stage of production from the project.

During the first stage, the project will see a production of 25,000t per annum of battery-grade lithium carbonate for a period of 40 years.