Galan Lithium (ASX:GLN) - lithium brine developer


by Rachael Jones

Galan Lithium Limited (ASX:GLN) Managing Director, Juan Pablo Vargas de la Vega talks about the company's lithium brine projects located within the South American Lithium Triangle in Argentina strategy and near-term targets.

Rachael Jones:
Hello, I'm Rachel Jones for the Finance News Network. Joining me from Galan Lithium is managing director Juan Pablo Vargas de la Vega. Juan Pablo, welcome to FNM.

Juan Pablo de la Vega: Thank you, Rachel.

Rachael Jones: Now, first up, could you provide an introduction to the company?

Juan Pablo de la Vega: Of course. Galan Lithium has been in the past couple of years an explorer looking for lithium at the Hombre Muerto salt flat. The Hombre Muerto salt flat is a very important part of the lithium triangle in Argentina. They have three large company. The first one is the Livent Corporation that has been producing lithium for more than 20 years, the second is POSCO, and the third one is Galaxy Resources. So interestingly enough, now we have moved from being an explorer to our early stage of development. We are doing the engineering studies and evolution studies, all economical trade off. And I'm glad to say that we have started our scoping study PFS a couple of weeks ago, so this is fantastic.

Rachael Jones: Now to your projects. Can you tell us more, starting with your projects in Argentina and the stage of the projects?

Juan Pablo de la Vega: Okay. We have two projects and luckily, as I mentioned, three years of hardworking has yield two projects, and we have an inventory for around 2.1 million tons of lithium carbonate equivalent.

And our first project was called Candelas or it is called Candelas, and our second project is Hombre Muerto West. Hombre Muerto West is now our flagship and this is this break that we have taken into economic studies. And why we're so excited about our project, we are neighbouring as mentioned of the companies that are there, we are neighboring the Livent Corporation, and Livent has been a very important part of the lithium battery history. Previously, he produces the lithium for the Sony Handycams batteries, and more recently the Livent Corporation has been providing a high quality lithium to Panasonic. Panasonic, as you know, has been the key manufacturer of batteries for the Tesla cars. So in all those Tesla cars are being driven around, there's a part of our salt flat and high quality lithium in the area. So we are very excited that we are doing our own studies. And I'm also pleased to say, with the exploration and the resource that we came out with, we have match the high lithium grade, and the low impurity settings that Hombre Muerto has. So with all of those key things, while we have a sound and excellent project.

Rachael Jones: That's excellent news. So where are you at now with exploration?

Juan Pablo de la Vega: Well, we have put a little handbrake on exploration, and we focus on development. So we have an explorations upsite and it's fantastic. And we have proven that we have 2.1 million tons of lithium carbonate equivalent, just to give a bit of a flavor. Bosco bought 2.5 million tons of lithium carbonate equivalent to galaxy resources. And that was finalised in March last year. And that transaction was $290 million, quite exciting in when all of this happened, and we are very excited that our project has, and it's getting close to that number in terms of that resource size. We did have exploration upsite, but we also have enough to demonstrate that we have something that can become a project.

Rachael Jones: Now let's talk about finances and strategy. Who's been backing the company and what's your strategy, given the current markets?

Juan Pablo de la Vega: Our most of our investor base has been an Australian base with a strong flavor on WA. Although we have high net worth people that have been back in the South, pretty much almost since inception. We have rights today, approximately $10 to $12 million to finance all the exploration that we've done. We have around $1.6 million in the bank, and we have enough to complete our first pass study to also in the pipeline. We see that we need to take our brine, and we're preparing ourselves to take our physical brine to go to the lab and physically test out all our metrics that we, that currently under study.

So this is a trade off. We do all the modeling, but we need to calibrate that with real data. So within the next six months, we should have a little bottle saying that we have produced lithium carbonate battery grade. So within four months, we should finalise the study. Within the next six months, we should calibrate a model to get all our stages of fairly early stages of the study accomplish. And now sooner after we learned to pass into a piloting. And so for them, for that reason, we will be asking for the pilot permits and then move forward.

Rachael Jones: And could you provide a comment on the share price?

Juan Pablo de la Vega: Our share price is currently at around 15 cents. So our market cap is around $27, $28 million. We have seen a bit of volatility as everyone else in the market. We like to go back to the levels that we were early on this year, but I cannot fire the market, but what I can do is deliver results. So within the next four months, we'll have a pre economic assessment done. Within the next six months, we will have our bench bank studies from the lab in publish, and then on, we will start with our pre feasibility study, and we want to have a piloting plant in sometime next year.

Rachael Jones: And just to the last question now, is there anything else you'd like to add?

Juan Pablo de la Vega: Yes, indeed. We have a fantastic team and great people with a lot of lithium experience. In our board, we have our Daniel Jimenez, which was the ex vice president of commercial for SQM. He has 28 years experience directly in lithium brine. Our team in Argentina is quite solid. We have a fantastic product that has high grade, low impurities, and we are now moving into the study phase. So not many companies can accomplish and say that we've done in the timeframe that we have, but we have a very critical balance of a fantastic project and great people that I truly believe that we are going to be delivering fantastic results and great result for our shareholders.

Rachael Jones: Juan Pablo Vargas de le Vega, thank you very much for that introduction.

Juan Pablo de la Vega: Thank you very much, Rachael.