Clean lithium developer Lake Resources (ASX:LKE) has appointed chairman Stu Crow as executive chairman for a six-month term as the company aligns its operations to serve the critical North American supply chain.
In his interim role, Mr. Crow will oversee the appointment of a new CEO and board members as well as the establishment of offices in the United States.
The company currently has over 150 people working on four lithium brine projects in Argentina.
When combined, the area totals 2,200 square kilometers and is considered one of the largest lithium concessions in the country, with the majority of the concessions being 100% owned by Lake.
North American presence
Crow said Lake is focused on establishing a North American presence to serve its pick customers.
“Our ambitious goal is to achieve [production] capacity of 100,000 tonnes per year by 2030, which will support our ambition to become one of the world’s leading producers of sustainable high-purity lithium,” he said.
“We are aligning our project delivery, mining technology and operations [and] We interview experienced candidates for CEO, Managing Director and Board member positions to reflect our growing business in the US markets.
He said current general manager Steve Promnitz will step down after establishing Lake’s dominant position in Argentina.
“We are exceptionally grateful for Steve’s pioneering efforts in generating projects to establish Lake’s presence in this part of the world,” Mr. Crow said.
“He was instrumental in the early identification of direct lithium mining and our alignment with [US technology partner] Lilac solutions.
Extraction of lithium
Lilac’s lithium extraction technology is an adaptation of a known water treatment and involves returning 99% of the brine to its source without changing the chemistry.
Unlike traditional processes, the technology does not require evaporation, consumes significantly less water and has a smaller environmental footprint.
Additionally, Lilac’s process has been shown to generate higher lithium recovery rates of between 80% and 90% and is capable of producing a 99.97% pure lithium carbonate product.
“As project financing becomes increasingly tied to ESG (environmental, social and governance) benchmarks, new lithium projects will need to meet higher standards and Steve recognized this early on. [in working with Lilac]“, Mr. Crow said.
Kachi Debt Financing
Last week, Lake announced that it had appointed investment banks Citi and JP Morgan as co-coordinators for the debt financing stage of Kachi’s lithium development.
The banks will work together on a debt financing package for the 50,000 tpa lithium carbonate equivalent (LCE) project, with support from Lake advisors GKB Ventures and SD Capital Advisory.
The proposed package will be based on indicative support from the UK Export Finance credit agency to cover approximately 70% of the total financing requirement for the project.
Export Development of Canada is expected to participate alongside UK Export Finance as the joint lead export credit agency for the deal.
The exact amount of debt financing will be governed by the results of Kachi’s definitive feasibility study currently underway.
Mr Crow said the appointment of Citi and JP Morgan moves the Kachi project forward to final credit approval.