Lithium Americas Corp. (TSX:LAC) ("Lithium Americas" or the "Company"), is pleased to announce the achievement of another major milestone in the Company's continued accelerated development of its lithium brine project in Argentina with the opening of its on-site pilot evaporation and analytical laboratory facilities.
Having already defined a process path for the recovery of lithium and potassium from its brine at the laboratory level, the Company is looking forward to achieving similar positive results at the site.
"We believe that our sophisticated on-site pilot evaporation and laboratory facilities will be of tremendous assistance to our team of highly experienced engineers and consultants as we continue to make great strides in advancing our project to feasibility," said Waldo Perez, President and CEO of Lithium Americas. "Having recently announced the engagement of ARA WorleyParsons to conduct engineering services, and now having opened our on-site evaporation and laboratory facilities, Lithium Americas is taking aggressive steps in order to quickly advance our world-class lithium brine deposit".
The laboratory facilities have full analytical capabilities to analyze lithium, potassium, magnesium and all relevant elements present in the brine. In addition, the laboratory facilities have the ability to produce laboratory scale quantities of lithium carbonate, expected to be produced by Q4 2010. The evaporation facility has the capability of simulating at a small scale, via successive metal pans sunk in the ground, the evaporation process of a future full scale production facility.
While Lithium Americas is focussing on the research and development of the proven low-cost evaporation technology currently used by the industry, Mitsubishi Corporation, a strategic shareholder in Lithium Americas, is performing studies on alternative recovery technologies for lithium as per a technical collaboration letter and a memorandum of understanding that the two parties previously signed. Should the results of Mitsubishi Corporation's study indicate that more efficient or effective brine recovery technologies exist versus the technology that the Company is developing, Lithium Americas and Mitsubishi Corporation will commence discussions regarding further development and commercialization of such technology. Lithium Americas believes that having both of these lithium brine recovery studies taking place simultaneously is a significant advantage in defining the best technology to develop the Company's resource.