South America in Focus – Enhancing LatAm Commercial Efforts in-front of Regional Buildout
In this month’s update, we highlight our commercial strategy in Latin America, and provide more insight into our country-specific activities and views.
In South America, we recently: 1) announced an MOU with Chile-focused CleanTech Lithium, 2) entered into a partnership with Argentina-based MP+, and 3) expanded our stakeholder management efforts with the addition of a LatAm Advisor, Iván Rebolledo.
The lithium reserves in South America are well understood to be among the largest in the world; however, the way in which the countries in the region intend to develop their respective resources is less understood.
We are taking a nuanced approach to proliferating our technology in the region, and while we are excited to work in the three countries in the lithium triangle (Argentina, Bolivia, and Chile), we aim to take the country-specific challenges and opportunities into consideration with our partnership and resource allocation decisions in South America.
Chile – CleanTech Lithium Leading the Way
In Chile, we are excited to have recently executed an MOU with CleanTech Lithium, a leading lithium developer that is developing two lithium projects utilizing the most environmentally conscious and advanced technologies and processes.
The MOU established a commercial framework between our companies and positions KMX to deliver two commercial scale lithium concentration systems to CleanTech, assuming our upcoming demonstration with the company is successful and both parties mutually agree on final terms.
The company’s CEO, Aldo Boitano stated that with the incorporation of KMX’s technology into its operations, “we believe, once in production, we will be one of the greenest lithium producers globally.”
We believe incorporating best available technologies to boost project economics and environmental considerations is crucial for resource developers in Chile as the new government aims to prioritize water protection as part of the country’s mining strategy. As a result, we are excited and proud to be working with CleanTech Lithium due to their thoughtful project development approach and ability to be a technology and ecological lithium leader in Chile.
Figure 1: CleanTech Lithium’s Laguna Verde license area (left image) and Francisco Basin license (right)
Source: CleanTech Lithium
Argentina – MP+ Enhances Commercial Efforts
Argentina represents a significant market opportunity for KMX, as the country looks to maximize production while minimizing water usage. We recently partnered with a mining technology provider based in Salta, Argentina, MP Minería Positiva SRL (“MP+”), led by José de Castro, a thought-leader on sustainable lithium development.
The partnership with MP+, as well as additional relationships we are building in Argentina, positions us well for the unfolding lithium build-out in the country.
Water represents a critical roadblock for project developers in Argentina, as local stakeholders, regulators, and regional representatives aim to ensure water resources are protected and project developers utilize best-in-class technologies and processes.
We hope to share additional details on our partnership with MP+ in the coming months, including a potential demonstration in Argentina, as well as other commercial efforts.
Bolivia – Monitoring Outlook and Opportunity
Bolivia represents a unique case in my view, as the resource-rich country aims to balance a state-led development approach while attracting international technology providers and potentially capital partners. Market reports indicate the country is close to announcing the next steps in its Direct Lithium Extraction (DLE) pilot and bidding round.
However, several key issues must be addressed for Bolivia to successfully develop its resource base and compete for capital and technology with Argentina and Chile, in my view, including: 1) improving the capacity of its domestic institutions, 2) garnering broad-based support for lithium development from communities around the salt flats, and 3) attracting technology providers that can alleviate the challenges associated with Bolivia’s unique geological and ecological particulars.
As stated by Patricia Vasquez, Global Fellow at the Wilson Institute, “For two decades, successive governments have tried to jump-start Bolivia’s lithium industry, attempting both pro-market and statist strategies, with unimpressive results.”
However, we are hoping that the unfolding energy transition and lithium boom, coupled with potential partnerships that bring institutional support, technology, and potentially capital can make the coming decade different for Bolivia’s lithium industry.
As a result, we are monitoring Bolivia with interest and, under the right circumstances, could provide our unique technology and support to the country’s strategic development efforts, which we believe would greatly enhance Bolivia’s ability to maximize production while protecting water resources.
Building on Partnerships
Overall, KMX is positioning to be the preferred lithium concentrator in South America, and aims to partner with a range of stakeholders, building on the ones we are proud to already have in place. A partnership approach is key to us in South American, and I believe will also be key for region’s successful lithium development.
For our next update, we expect to discuss the growing opportunity to utilize our technology in the oil & gas industry, as wastewater that is a byproduct of oil & gas production contains valuable critical minerals, including lithium. The recent rise in oil & gas prices coupled with the renewed focus on energy security positions our technology well to capitalize on opportunities in the emerging lithium landscape as well as in the traditional energy sector.
We are excited about the opportunity to help the oil & gas industry participate in the energy transition through critical mineral recovery and hope to update you on some of our efforts and progress in this area soon!