An anonymous director reports
LITHIUM AMERICAS REPORTS THIRD QUARTER 2020 RESULTS
Lithium Americas Corp.
has released financial and operating results for the third quarter ended Sept. 30, 2020.
This news release should be read in conjunction with Lithium Americas' unaudited condensed consolidated interim financial statements and management's discussion and analysis for the nine months ended Sept. 30, 2020, which are available on the company's website and SEDAR. All amounts are in U.S. dollars unless otherwise indicated.
Cauchari-Olaroz lithium project:
Construction activities at Cauchari-Olaroz are under way with enhanced COVID-19 protocols.
As of Sept. 30, 2020, $458-million (81 per cent) of the $565-million budgeted capital expenditure was committed, including $347-million (61 per cent) spent.
Significant progress has been made on the lime plant, SX plant, concrete works on the carbonate plant units and solar evaporation ponds.
All critical equipment remains on track to be delivered by the end of 2020.
Based on the current remobilization plan, which follows health and safety guidelines requiring a reduced work force at site, the company expects construction to be complete by the end of 2021 with production in early 2022.
Thacker Pass lithium project:
Permitting continues as planned with all major permits expected to be received by the end of first quarter 2021.
The draft environmental impact statement was released by the Bureau of Land Management with the 45-day public comment period completed in September, 2020.
In September, 2020, the Nevada Governor's Office of Economic Development unanimously approved tax abatements for Thacker Pass, which are expected to be granted for the first phase of the construction period. The tax abatements total $9-million, and include partial sales, property and payroll tax abatements.
The process testing facility in Reno, Nev., continues to operate with COVID-19 protocols in place.
Over 15,000 kilograms of high-quality lithium sulphate has been produced at the process testing facility.
Based on discussions with potential customers and joint venture partners, the company is continuing to assess changes to the assumptions of its definitive feasibility study to target a higher production capacity than the 20,000 tonnes per annum of lithium carbonate equivalent and revised product mix. The company expects to provide an update on the definitive feasibility study in early 2021.
The company continues to explore financing options for Thacker Pass's construction, including the possibility of a joint venture partner.
As at Sept. 30, 2020, the company had $72-million in cash and cash equivalents, including $18-million drawn from its credit facilities to finance Cauchari-Olaroz.
As at Sept. 30, 2020, the company had $184-million in undrawn credit. The company has drawn $96-million of the $205-million senior credit facility and $25-million from its $100-million unsecured, limited-recourse, subordinated loan facility.
The company remains fully financed to advance Cauchari-Olaroz to production and expects to have excess liquidity available under its credit facilities.
On Aug. 27, 2020, the company and Ganfeng Lithium Co. Ltd. closed the previously announced transaction, whereby Ganfeng invested $16-million in Cauchari-Olaroz and increased its interest from 50 per cent to 51 per cent, with Lithium Americas owning the remaining 49 per cent. In addition, Lithium Americas received $40-million in cash from the proceeds of non-interest-bearing loans from Ganfeng.
In October, 2020, the company established an at-the-market equity program (ATM program) that allows it to issue up to $100-million of common shares from treasury to the public from time to time, at the company's discretion. As of Nov. 16, 2020, the company raised gross proceeds of approximately $48-million from issuance of common shares under the ATM program.
In November, 2020, Lithium Americas published its inaugural 2019 sustainability report prepared with reference to the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) standards, which includes reporting on the United Nations' sustainable development goals (SDGs).
Selected consolidated financial information is presented in the attached tables.
(in millions of U.S. dollars except per-share information)
Three months ended Sept. 30, 2020 Three months ended Sept. 30, 2019
Expenses ($5.7) ($3.3)
Net (loss)/gain (6.5) 69.0
(Loss)/gain per share -- basic (0.07) 0.77
(in millions of U.S. dollars)
As at Sept. 30, 2020 As at Dec. 31, 2019
Cash and cash equivalents $71.9 $83.6
Total assets 232.6 293.8
Total long-term liabilities (126.1) (119.2)
During the nine months ended Sept. 30, 2020, total assets decreased primarily as a result of closing the transaction with Ganfeng and the cessation of proportional consolidation of Cauchari-Olaroz with transition to equity accounting for the project investment. Cash decreased mainly due to capital expenditures on Cauchari-Olaroz and operating activities, including exploration expenditures on Thacker Pass, offset with the $40.0-million of loans repaid to the company upon closing of the transaction with Ganfeng. Total long-term liabilities increased primarily as a result of a $24.7-million drawdown on the company's limited-recourse loan facility and a $12.0-million drawdown on the company's senior credit facility, partially offset by the effect of closing the transaction with Ganfeng.
Net loss for the three months ended Sept. 30, 2020, was $6.5-million compared with net gain of $69.0-million for the three months ended Sept. 30, 2019. Net gain in Q3 2019 was a result of the gain on dilution of interest in Cauchari-Olaroz.
The scientific and technical information in this news release has been reviewed and approved by Dr. Rene LeBlanc, a qualified person for purposes of National Instrument 43-101 by virtue of his experience, education and professional association. Dr. LeBlanc is the chief technical officer of the company. Information on the company's data verification and quality assurance/quality control procedures is contained in Lithium Americas' current technical reports for Cauchari-Olaroz and Thacker Pass, available at SEDAR.
About Lithium Americas Corp.
Lithium Americas is a development-stage company with projects in Argentina and Nevada. The company trades on both the Toronto Stock Exchange and on the New York Stock Exchange, under the ticker symbol LAC.
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