Independent 3D Model Confirms Size and Productive Capacity of Lithium Americas’ Cauchari-Olaroz Resource
- 3D model results used to support the development of a Reserve Estimate and to evaluate & identify optimal production well field design and pumping strategy
- Results support 50% fewer production wells
- Independent audit of the Resource Estimate confirms no significant changes to previously reported Resource Estimate
- Model predicts a mine life of greater than 40 years
TORONTO, Canada, February 27, 2012 – Lithium Americas Corp. (TSX: LAC) (OTCQX: LHMAF) (“Lithium Americas” or the “Company”), announces the completion of a 3D brine numerical model (the “Model”) used to simulate brine extraction from its Cauchari-Olaroz lithium/potash project. The Model enables prediction of brine flow within the salar (i.e. salt lake), mine life, lithium grade depletion over time and reserves. The modeling is supported by geological, hydrogeological and geochemical data collected through field programs at the site.
“A 3D brine numerical model is the ultimate tool to fine tune the mine plan in a brine development resource. The Model has also supported many of the critical assumptions in our Preliminary Economic Assessment (“PEA”) including the size, quality and estimated productive life of the Cauchari-Olaroz resource estimate – one of the largest lithium brine resource in the world. We are very pleased that the Model also indicates that due to the exceptional geological characteristics of our salar, we are expected to require approximately 50% of the production wells originally estimated in the PEA to put phase 1 of the project into production”, said Dr. Waldo A. Perez, President and CEO of Lithium Americas. “We continue to add value to our project and to demonstrate the technical capability of our team. We expect to deliver the definitive Feasibility Study with reserves and a mine plan in Q2 2012″.
Results of the Model will be displayed at the Company’s booth (# 2523), at the Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada Convention (PDAC) in Toronto, Ontario and at the Corporate Presentation Forum for investors on Tuesday March 6th at 10:40am in room 801b.
The 3D Brine Numerical Model
The Model was developed in FEFLOW hydrogeology modeling software by AquaResource Inc., a division of Matrix Solutions Inc., (a Canadian company that provides expertise in numerical modeling and data management of groundwater and surface water systems) with the involvement of Dr. Mark King, Independent Qualified Person for Lithium Americas. The Model incorporates additional data collected since the previous Resource Estimate filed on
December 6, 2010, including geology, hydraulic testing and brine results from five pumping well arrays and four sets of salt lake boundary tests as well as a water balance analysis, completed in 2011.
The upcoming Reserve Estimate will be derived from simulation of a conceptual production well system that is designed to meet engineering, hydrogeological and property constraints which control the recoverable portion of the Resource, the Reserve. The Model predicts that the grade of the pumped brine will remain above 600 milligrams per litre lithium for a period of at least 50 years.
The Model also shows that an annual production rate of 40,000 tonnes of lithium carbonate can be achieved over a period of 40 years without extracting brine from outside of the property boundary. The predicted duration for which the Company can maintain a production rate of 40,000 tonnes of lithium carbonate per year within the Model exceeds 50 years.
Near Term Milestones
The near term milestones of the Company include:
• Completion of the certification and qualification process for the Company’s battery grade lithium carbonate with multiple customers
• Re-assembling the Pilot Plant, built by SGS Minerals Services in Canada, at the Company’s project in order to start continuous production at pilot scale at the project site
• Completing the definitive Feasibility Study and starting Detailed Engineering
• Completing financing and off-take agreements with strategic parties
About the Company
Lithium Americas is developing one of the world’s largest and lowest cost lithium operations. The Company has defined the world’s third largest lithium brine resource, and a completed Preliminary Economic Assessment indentified that Lithium Americas’ operating cost per tonne of lithium carbonate is expected to be one of the lowest in the industry. The Company is currently working on completing a definitive Feasibility Study, expected to be delivered in the second quarter of 2012. Mitsubishi Corporation and Magna International are shareholders in the Company, in addition to both companies having off-take arrangements with Lithium Americas.
For more information please contact:
Mike Cosic, VP Corporate Development
or visit www.lithiumamericas.com
Mark King, Ph.D. (P.Geo.), independent QP of the Company has reviewed and approved this press release.
Daron Abbey, M.Sc. (P.Geo.), senior hydrogeologist with AquaResource, a division of Matrix Solutions Inc., has reviewed and approved this press release.
This press release contains forward-looking statements, which can be identified by the use of statements that include words such as “could”, “potential”, “believe”, “expect”, “anticipate”, “intend”, “plan”, “likely”, “will” or other similar words or phrases. The Company does not intend, and does not assume any obligations, to update forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise, unless otherwise required by applicable securities laws. Readers should not place undue reliance on forward-looking statements. Readers should review the Company’s annual information form dated May 30, 2011 for a list of risks associated with the Company, and its business.