Amid growing demand for the metal used in electric vehicle batteries, developers of critical minerals such as rare earths and lithium have turned to export agencies for early project funding as major banks are still reluctant to lend to the sector.
The trade agency was drawn to Lake’s method of production, which has a much smaller environmental footprint than other types, such as brine evaporation, as well as lower carbon output than lithium. produced from hard rock spodumene, said managing director Stephen Promnitz. “They really liked the ESG advantage that comes with this lithium production process,” he told Reuters.
Lake Resources said the funding is not yet binding and is subject to off-take contracts, due diligence and the completion of a project feasibility study in Argentina’s Catamarca province.
The export agency is expected to offer financing once the feasibility and environmental studies are completed after the first quarter of next year, with construction expected to begin in mid-2022.
Lake Resources is in no rush to close supply deals despite renewed interest in the past two months as it seeks specific terms including a minimum floor price and forward payment, Promnitz said.
“The number of active buyers has increased dramatically over the past eight weeks. This tells us that the shortfall that industry commentators say will happen in 2024 will come sooner – possibly as early as next calendar year. “
Australian Core Lithium announced this week that China’s Ganfeng Lithium will purchase spodumene concentrate from its Finniss project in the Northern Territory while Vulcan Energy Resources signed a supply agreement with Renault SA earlier this month.
(By Melanie Burton and Nikhil Kurian Nainan; Editing by Ramakrishnan M and Edwina Gibbs)