VANCOUVER, British Columbia, Aug. 01, 2019 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Bearing Lithium Corp. ("Bearing" or the "Company") (TSX Venture: BRZ) (OTCQB: BLILF) (FRANKFURT: B6K2) announces that the joint venture company, Minera Salar Blanco S.A. (“MSB”), has entered into a non-binding Memorandum of Understanding (“MOU”) with the Chilean State-owned mining company, CODELCO. The MOU will define terms for the negotiation of a definitive agreement to form a new joint venture allowing for the development of the Maricunga Salar into a significant lithium brine producer.
Terms and details of the definitive agreement will be finalized in coming months. The agreement will be subject to mutual due diligence, detailed documentation, the establishment of a “NewCo” under Chilean corporate law and the finalization of a “NewCo” Shareholders Agreement, among other conditions.
The Maricunga Project is wholly owned and operated by the joint-venture company, Minera Salar Blanco (“MSB”) and Bearing holds an 18% interest in MSB along with Minera Salar Blanco SpA at 31% and Lithium Power International at 51%.
Minera Salar Blanco’s Chief Executive Officer, Cristobal Garcia-Huidobro, commented:
“The Company is extremely pleased to reach this MOU with CODELCO, following significant negotiations. The objective of the MOU is to define the terms for a definitive agreement to develop a joint project in the Maricunga Salar under a public-private alliance model, which would allow it to become the third lithium producer in Chile.
“This JV would allow for a very robust and scalable project, and would also fast-track the Maricunga development, including provision of all the necessary permits. It would include CODELCO's key CEOL contract and the Nuclear Commission permit covering the entire salar, which would complement the expected approval of MSB's EIA before year-end. This means there would be greater certainty regarding the permitting of the project.
“Consolidation of the mining concessions would include an option to increase production capacity and/or extend the life of the mine beyond its expected 20-year span, therefore creating additional value for all shareholders.
“Focus will now be on the finalization of the environmental approval process (EIA) and ongoing negotiations with potential financing and strategic partners. The aim is for initial construction to commence during the first half of 2020, after the finalization of the terms of the definitive JV agreement."
Bearing Lithium’s Chief Executive Officer, Jeremy Poirier, commented:
“We are excited to have reached this MOU with CODELCO for advancing the Maricunga project forward. The Maricunga project represents one of the most advanced development-stage lithium brine project in Chile and we are confident that this will be the next project to be built in Chile.”
MSB’s Maricunga lithium brine project is Chile’s highest grade, and most advanced lithium project outside the Salar de Atacama. A January 2019 Feasibility Study (FS) outlined annual production of 20,000 tonnes per annum of lithium carbonate equivalent (LCE) over 20-years with a pre-tax NPV of US$1.302 billion (c.f. Definitive Feasibility Study of MSB Blanco Lithium Carbonate Project filed on SEDAR on January 22, 2019). MSB submitted its Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) in September 2018. The EIA is currently in its final stage of the evaluation process, with approval expected before year’s end.
CODELCO is Chile’s state-owned copper mining company and is one of the largest copper producers in the world, with revenues of US$14.3 billion in 2018. During its 46 years of operation, it has produced more than 59 million tons of copper and it currently has close to 18,000 employees.
About Bearing Lithium Corp.
Bearing Lithium Corp. is a lithium-focused mineral exploration and development company. Its primary asset is an 18% interest in the Maricunga Lithium Brine Project in Chile. The Maricunga Project represents one of the highest-grade lithium brine salars globally and the only pre-production project in Chile. Over US$30 million has been invested in the Maricunga Project to date and all expenditures through to the delivery of a Definitive Feasibility Study have been fully-funded by the earn-in joint-venture partner.
Rob Cameron, P.Geo., who is a technical consultant to the Company and is a qualified person within the context of National Instrument 43-101, has read and takes responsibility for this news release.
ON BEHALF OF THE BOARD
Signed "Jeremy Poirier"
Jeremy Poirier, President and CEO
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION PLEASE CONTACT:
Jeremy Poirier-- President and CEO Bearing Lithium - Telephone: 1-604-262-8835
Neither the TSX Venture Exchange nor its Regulation Services Provider (as that term is defined in the policies of the TSX Venture Exchange) accepts responsibility for the adequacy or accuracy of this release.
Cautionary Statements Regarding Forward Looking Information
This press release includes certain "forward-looking information” and "forward-looking statements” (collectively "forward-looking statements”) within the meaning of applicable Canadian and United States securities legislation including the United States Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. All statements, other than statements of historical fact, included herein, without limitation, statements relating the future operating or financial performance of the Company, are forward-looking statements.
The words "expect", "target", "estimate", "may", "will" and other similar expressions identify forward-looking statements. These forward-looking statements relate to, among other things, the Company’s ability to reach a definitive agreement with CODELCO, and the future prospects of the Maricunga Project. Forward-looking statements involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors which are beyond Bearing’s ability to predict or control and may cause Bearing’s actual results, performance or achievements to be materially different from any of its future results, performance or achievements expressed or implied by the forward-looking statements. These risks, uncertainties and other factors include, but are not limited to, strategic, legal, planning and other risks, the impact of changes in, or to the enforcement of, laws, regulations and government practices, potential defects in title to the Maricunga Project that are not known as of the date hereof, the occurrence of unexpected financial obligations, fluctuations in the price of lithium and other commodities, fluctuations in the currency markets, changes in national and local government, legislation, taxation, controls, regulations and political or economic developments, risks and hazards associated with the business of mineral exploration, development and mining (including environmental hazards, industrial accidents, unusual or unexpected formations, pressures, cave-ins and flooding), risks related to operational matters and geotechnical issues, the success of future exploration and development activities, the occurrence of any labour unrest, the ability to accurately predict decommissioning and reclamation costs, the risk of budget and timing overruns, potential opposition to the Maricunga Project by local communities and the ability to secure construction financing. Such forward-looking statements are also based on a number of assumptions which may prove to be incorrect including changes in Maricunga Project parameters as plans continue to be evaluated as well as those factors disclosed in the Company's documents filed from time to time with the securities regulators in the Provinces of British Columbia and Alberta. Accordingly, readers should not place undue reliance on forward-looking statements. Bearing undertakes no obligation to update publicly or otherwise revise any forward-looking statements contained herein whether as a result of new information or future events or otherwise, except as may be required by law.