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Li3 Energy update on MoU with POSCO

Steel News - Published on Thu, 15 Mar 2012

Li3 Energy Inc announced that the execution of a non binding MoU with its strategic partner POSCO to construct a test facility. POSCO is a Republic of South Korea multinational diversified company with operations in energy, chemicals and materials and one of the largest steel manufacturers in the world. POSCO announced on February 23rd 2012 it has developed technology that will potentially change the lithium market by improving recovery and shorten processing times compared to the conventional processes currently being used in the lithium market.

The announcement stated they have successfully demonstrated the technology at pilot plant scale in Korea with artificial brine and brine supplied by various parties including Li3 Energy. POSCO stated that its affiliated research center had developed technology to directly extract lithium from brines that reduced the lithium processing times from the current average of one year or more down to a month.

The Research Institute Science and Technology unit also demonstrated that the technology succeeded in producing yields of 80% lithium from brines versus the industry standard of 40%. Whereas natural evaporation leaves other elements of the salt water in the form of impurities in the extracted lithium, the new technology allows separate extractions of lithium as well as other high value added elements such as magnesium, calcium, potassium and boron.

The Memorandum of Understanding was entered into as of March 7th 2012 in Seoul Korea. The key terms of the non binding MoU include:
1. POSCO will design, build and operate a test facility for the recovery of lithium and other products at its sole expense;

2. Li3 will provide all technical support as necessary;

3. Products from the demo plant will not be commercialized and will be for testing purposes only;

4. Although it is the parties\' desire that the test facility be built on the Maricunga Project site, the final determination of its location will be based on the needs timing and permits required to construct the test facility;

5. Once testing of the Maricunga Project lithium brine is complete, the technology may be used by POSCO on other Li3 projects;

6. The parties will make every reasonable effort to obtain the necessary permits and to advance the plans for the design and building of the test facility in 2012 and effort will be made for the test facility to begin operations in December 2012;

7. Upon successful completion of the test facility, evaluating the merits and validation of the technology, the parties may discuss commercialization of the products in detail including off take agreements between the parties.

Mr Luis Saenz CEO of Li3 said that \"Li3 is very pleased with this new phase of our relationship with POSCO. Upon validation, POSCO\'s technology could substantially elevate Li3\'s competitive advantage against its lithium-mining peers and, shift the paradigm in the production cost curve of the lithium industry. This technology could revolutionize the industry by substantially increasing the lithium recovery and accelerate the production process times which could significantly improve Li3\'s expected return on investment. Moreover, the investment commitment by POSCO and its non dilutive nature to Li3 is yet another demonstration of our efforts to add value for our shareholders. Li3 looks forward to working together with POSCO and advancing the test facility. In the meantime, we are on target to complete the Phase One Exploration Program to demonstrate achievement of the milestones required, triggering the second, USD 10 million tranche of the POSCO USD 18 million investment commitments in Li3.\"

Source - Li3 Energy Inc


Posted By : admin on Thu, 15 Mar 2012
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