Commenting on the acquisitions, David Stein, President and CEO said, "Today’s announcement reinforces Rodinia’s vision of building a long-term, low-cost producer of lithium brine. In conjunction with our flagship Clayton Valley project in Nevada, and our previous Argentine acquisition of Salinas Grandes, the acquisitions of Diablillos, Centenario and Ratones builds a strong position in South America, and a stable of high quality lithium brine exploration projects. We plan to work diligently over the coming months to review and prioritize our pipeline of brine prospects".
The Diablillos land package comprises 2,700 hectares and represents the central three-quarters of the entire salar (the "Diablillos Property"). Pursuant to the option agreement entered into between the Company and Borax (the "Diablillos Option Agreement"), the Company has the option to acquire a 100% interest in the lithium-rich brines located on the Diablillos Property. Previously completed studies on the brine chemistry in Diablillos concluded lithium concentrations averaging 960 milligrams per liter with a reported magnesium-to-lithium ratio of 3.96 (Alonso, 1999; Alonso, Jordan, Tabbutt & Vandervoort, 1991; Alonso & Viramonte, 1990). These studies and data are historical in nature and are not National Instrument 43-101 ("NI 43-101") compliant. Accordingly, such historical data should not be relied upon. Pursuant to the terms of the Diablillos Option Agreement, Borax will grant the Company a three year exploration licence to explore the lithium bearing brines and a subsequent forty year mining licence to acquire all recovered metals and minerals from such brines. The mining licence will commence upon the earlier of: (i) the expiry of the exploration licence; or (ii) at the discretion of the Company and may be renewed for an additional 40 year term in accordance with Argentine mining law. In consideration, the Company shall pay Borax an aggregate of USD$1,944,000 as follows: (i) USD$500,000 on or before January 25, 2010; (ii) USD $500,000 on or before July 15, 2010; and (iii) USD$944,000 on or before November 30, 2010. In addition, Borax shall retain a 1.5% net smelter return royalty with respect to the Diablillos Property (the "NSR"). The Company has the option to purchase the NSR for USD$1,500,000 at any time during the term of the Diablillos Option Agreement.
William Randall, Vice President, Exploration commented "Diablillos is reportedly the highest grade salar in the Argentine Puna, ranking alongside the best lithium bearing salars. The project is also adjacent to Silver Standard’s silver-gold deposit of the same name, and only 11 kilometres from Salar del Hombre Muerto where FMC Lithium Corporation has its operating mine. As such, the project has excellent infrastructure for the area."
Centenario and Ratones
The Centenario land package comprises 682 hectares (the "Centenario Property") and the Ratones land package comprises 600 hectares (the "Ratones Property"), both of which are located in the Province of Salta, Argentina.
Pursuant to the option agreement entered into between the Company and Borax with respect to the Centenario Property (the "Centenario Option Agreement"), the Company may acquire a 100% interest in the Centenario Project by paying Borax an aggregate of USD$774,711 as follows: (i) USD$154,711 on or before January 25, 2010; (ii) USD$170,000 on or before July 15, 2010; and (iii) USD$450,000 on or before November 30, 2010. In addition, Borax shall retain a 1% net smelter return royalty with respect to the Centenario Property (the "NSR"). The Company has the option to purchase the NSR for USD$1,000,000 at any time during the term of the Centenario Option Agreement.
To acquire a 100% interest in the Ratones Property, the Company is required to pay Borax an aggregate of US$180,000 as follows: (i) USD$100,000 on or before January 25, 2010; and (ii) USD$80,000 on or before July 15, 2010.
"Based on historical studies, these properties are both believed to have lithium-rich brines with good potential, and enable Rodinia to carry out its exploration and development plans securely," said William Randall. Centenario’s subsurface brines reportedly contain 400 milligrams per litre lithium, while brines within Ratones contain 600 milligrams per litre lithium (Alonso, 1999; Alonso, Jordan, Tabbutt & Vandervoort, 1991; Alonso & Viramonte, 1990). These studies and data are historical in nature and are not NI 43-101 compliant. Accordingly, such historical data should not be relied upon. Borax will retain the rights to mine the surface phase borates at Ratones.
"In addition to its exploration potential, Ratones is within 8 kilometres of Diablillos and connected by an existing road. The close proximity of these projects provides for a lot of production alternatives, including multiple options for the construction of evaporation ponds. The Centenario properties have installations and infrastructure such as housing, weigh scales and storage facilities," said David Stein. "All in all, the addition of these three projects reinforces Rodinia’s position in South America."
William Randall, P.Geo, the Vice President, Exploration of Rodina, a qualified person, as defined in NI 43-101 has reviewed and approved the scientific technical information in this release.
Rodinia Minerals Inc. is a Canadian mineral exploration company with a primary focus on lithium exploration and development in North and South America. The Company is positioned to capitalize on the expected increase in demand for lithium carbonate that is projected to result from the anticipated paradigm shift to mass adoption and use of key lithium applications (lithium-ion batteries, glass ceramics, greases, pharmaceuticals etc.).
Rodinia is currently exploring its 100% owned, Clayton Valley project in Nevada, USA. With its initial 3-hole drill program complete, the Company is actively planning and permitting and expanded 20-hole program that surrounds the only lithium brine producer in North America.