Transcription of Finance News Network Interview with Lithium Power International Limited (ASX:LPI) CEO, Martin Holland
Carolyn Herbert: Hello I’m Carolyn Herbert from the Finance News Network and joining me to discuss its new lithium joint venture in Chile and project plans, is Lithium Power International Limited (ASX:LPI) CEO, Martin Holland. Martin, welcome back.
Martin Holland: Thank you.
Carolyn Herbert: For investors who aren’t familiar, can you start by giving us an introduction to Lithium Power International?
Martin Holland: Lithium Power International was incorporated to focus on the commodity lithium, and to be a pure play lithium explorer and now developer. Recently IPO’d in June 2016, we raised $8 million into our IPO and now we’re looking to advance our projects we have inside the company.
Carolyn Herbert: Now to the Maricunga project. What attracted you to it, what does it contain and what is planned?
Martin Holland: The asset itself is a world-class lithium brine deposit. It’s been rated the fourth best deposit in the world as it currently sits, and with further exploration, it can get to be the second best lithium brine deposit in the world. And second only to that is the Atacama, which is run by Soquimich (NYSE:SQM). The grade itself is very attractive; it’s almost twice the grade of the Argentinian asset, such as Orocobre Limited (ASX:ORE) etc. And has also a good credit of potash as a by-product as well, which will become quite valuable as the time moves on.
A number of other reasons as well, a number of the tenements are on old code, which allows exploiting of the lithium straightaway. It’s right next to the main highway, which is Highway 31, which joins Argentina and Chile together. Very close to port, the Argentine assets have to cross border, pay extra taxes at Chile etc. and further away from port. So we’re close to the port, close to infrastructure, the highest-grade deposit going around, closest to production and the list goes on. So we’re very excited for the company to have this opportunity, to earn into a project with a Chilean family office, who is very well respected. And we’ll continue with our government relations building and trying to get this project into production, over the next few years.
Carolyn Herbert: What is the size of your portfolio in total now, and where does this put you in comparison to other lithium explorers?
Martin Holland: The size of our portfolio in total is now purely diversified between both hard rock spodumene in Western Australia, and lithium brine assets in South America. So we have two assets in hard rock in the Pilbara region, which is the new hotspot for hard rock lithium. We’ve also got assets in the Greenbushes region, next to the largest lithium mine in the world. And we have a further asset in Argentina. And as we talked about recently, the overall diversification has now been pretty much finalised, from the recent joint venture we’ve done on one of the best pre-production lithium deposits in the world.
Carolyn Herbert: In terms of news flow, what can shareholders expect over the coming months?
Martin Holland: Shareholders will expect the closure of the joint venture agreement. Shareholders will also get exposure to the 16 diamond holes that we’re putting into the current project in Chile. We’re expecting to have a resource upgrade by the yearend, with an update of 43-101 Report and a new updated JORC classification, on this deposit.
Carolyn Herbert: Finally Martin, with Tesla Motors Inc. (NASDAQ:TSLA) opening its multibillion-dollar Gigafactory, the future of lithium looks pretty well assured. So what’s your long-term ambition for Lithium Power International?
Martin Holland: Our long-term ambition necessarily isn’t that long-term. We’ll have a bankable feasibility study completed by the end of 2018. We’ll aim to get into production 2019/2020 and then the world will open up to us. We believe that the demand is going to continue for this commodity. And the likes of Tesla is one company that’ll be after the supply. It’ll come from these projects that we have inside Lithium Power, although there’s many companies out there as well.
And I can talk for a long period of time about all the other companies, such as Toyota Motor Corp (TYO:7203), Mitsubishi Corp (TYO:8058), Foxconn Technology Co Ltd (TPE:2354), BYD Electronic Co Ltd (HKG:0285), of which Samsung Electronics Co Ltd (KRX:005930) just invested $500 million into recently, and the list continues. So I think we’re in a great position as a company, and I believe that the demand will continue. And Lithium Power will be a company that will be able to supply the market.
Carolyn Herbert: Martin Holland, thanks for the update on Lithium Power International.
Martin Holland: Thanks for your time again, I appreciate it.