Lake Resources restructures board in a move to service critical North American supply chain

Lake Resources ASX LKE Executive Chairman Stu Crow
Lake Resources has appointed Stu Crow as interim executive chairman, tasked with overseeing the appointment of a new chief executive officer, board members and the establishment of US offices.

Clean lithium developer Lake Resources (ASX: LKE) has appointed chairman Stu Crow to the role of executive chairman for a period of six months while the company aligns its operations to service the critical North American supply chain.

In his interim role, Mr Crow will oversee the appointment of a new chief executive officer and board members and the establishment of US offices.

The company currently has more than 150 people working across four lithium brine projects in Argentina.

When combined, the acreage totals 2,200 square kilometres and is believed to be one of the largest lithium lease holdings in the country, with the majority of leases owned 100% by Lake.

North American presence

Mr Crow said Lake is focused on establishing a North American presence to serve its offtake customers.

“Our aspirational target is to reach [production] capacity of 100,000 tonnes per annum by 2030, which will underpin our ambition to become a leading global producer of sustainable high purity lithium,” he said.

“We are aligning our project delivery, extraction technology and operations [and] we are interviewing experienced candidates for the roles of chief executive officer, managing director and board members to reflect the growth of our company in US markets.”

MD departure

He said current managing director Steve Promnitz will depart the role after establishing Lake’s dominant position in Argentina.

“We are exceptionally grateful for Steve’s pioneering efforts in project generation to establish Lake’s presence in this part of the world,” Mr Crow said.

“He has been key to the early identification of direct lithium extraction and our alignment with [US technology partner] Lilac Solutions.”

Lithium extraction

Lilac’s lithium extraction technology is an adaption of a known water treatment and involves returning 99% of the brine back to its source without changing the chemistry.

Unlike traditional processes, the technology does not require evaporation, consumes much less water and has a smaller environmental footprint.

Additionally, Lilac’s process has been found to generate higher lithium recovery rates of between 80% and 90% and is able to produce a 99.97% pure lithium carbonate product.

“As project financing becomes increasingly tied to ESG (environmental, social and governance) credentials, new lithium projects will need to adhere to stricter standards and Steve recognised this very early on [in working with Lilac],” Mr Crow said.

Kachi debt financing

Last week, Lake announced it had appointed investment banks Citi and JP Morgan as joint co-ordinators for the debt financing stage of the Kachi lithium development.

The banks will work together on a debt financing package for the 50,000tpa lithium carbonate equivalent (LCE) project, with support from Lake’s advisors GKB Ventures and SD Capital Advisory.

The proposed package will be based on indicative support by credit agency UK Export Finance to cover approximately 70% of the total project funding requirement.

Export Development of Canada is expected to participate alongside UK Export Finance as joint lead export credit agency for the deal.

The exact amount of debt financing will be governed by the outcomes of Kachi’s definitive feasibility study currently underway.

Mr Crow said the appointment of Citi and JP Morgan advances the Kachi project towards final credit approval.

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