TORONTO, ONTARIO–(Marketwired – Dec. 29, 2015) – ABERDEEN INTERNATIONAL INC. (“Aberdeen”, or the “Company”) (TSX:AAB) is pleased to announce that it has closed the share purchase agreement with Rodinia Lithium Inc. (“Rodinia”) to purchase all of the shares of Potasio y Litio de Argentina SA. (“PLASA”), which holds the Diablillos lithium-potash project in Argentina.
In consideration for the shares, Aberdeen will make aggregate payments to Rodinia of CDN$5,000,000, with CDN$3,000,000 to be paid on closing and CDN$2,000,000 to be paid within six months of closing. In addition, Rodinia will retain a 2.0% net smelter royalty in respect of the project, while Aberdeen will have the right to purchase half of this royalty for CDN$2,000,000 within 24 months of closing.
David Stein, President and CEO of Aberdeen International commented: “We are thrilled to have completed the acquisition of Diablillos as our second principal investment of the year, and like African Thunder, the development of this investment will be important in management’s plan to build shareholder value going forward. While historical studies have suggested Diablillos will have very low costs and a high return in the current lithium price environment, perhaps more importantly, the project is scalable. This will allow Aberdeen to “right-size” the project based on the availability of capital. In additional, Aberdeen is reviewing options to get into production more quickly than previously expected with a larger project.” Aberdeen expects to provide a further update on its development plans for Diablillos in the first quarter of 2016.
Diablillos Lithium-Potash Project
The Diablillos lithium-potash brine project covers over 95% of the Salar de Diablillos located in Salta, Argentina at an average elevation of approximately 4,050 metres above sea level, and is comprised of 32 mining claims covering approximately 8,156 hectares.
To date, over CDN$19 million has been spent on the project, including extensive exploration and definition drilling, pump tests, seismic & gravity geophysical surveys, basin and solute transport models; all of which collectively account for the bulk of work towards an updated pre-feasibility or feasibility study on the project which is still to be completed.
The latest resource statement (dated December 22, 2011) contains a recoverable inferred brine resource of 2.8 million tonnes lithium carbonate equivalent from an in-situ inferred brine resource of 4.9 million tonnes lithium carbonate equivalent. The project also contains a recoverable inferred brine resource of 11.2 million tonnes potassium chloride equivalent from an in-situ inferred brine resource of 19.83 million tonnes potassium chloride equivalent.
On December 22, 2011, a preliminary economic assessment for the Project was completed by SRK Consulting (US) (the “PEA”) which outlines an operation producing 15,000 tonnes lithium carbonate (“LC”) per year and approximately 51,000 tonnes of potash (“KCl”) per year, projecting a 34% internal rate of return (“IRR”) pre-tax and a US$561 million pre-tax net present value (“NPV”) at an 8% discount rate. The PEA also outlines Rodinia’s available option to increase production to 25,000 tonnes LC and 85,000 tonnes potash per year. This increased production scenario generates a much higher pre-tax NPV estimate of US$964 million, along with a pre-tax IRR of 36%.
Note: The Company notes that this does not include an analysis of after tax economics. Generally speaking, applicable taxes for mining in the Puna region of Salta, Argentina are subject to a federal income tax rate of 35% and export duties, or retentions, of 5% on industrialized products that are exported from the country. However, as per certain resolutions passed by the Argentine Federal Ministry of Economy, lithium, lithium oxide, lithium hydroxide, lithium carbonate and lithium chloride are subject to a special benefit which provides a 5% reimbursement of value of exports of such products extracted from the Puna Region. In addition, the Company would be subject to royalties in the amount of 3% payable to the Province of Salta. Generally speaking, Law Nº 24,196, known as the Federal Mining Investments Promotion Law in Argentina grants several privileges to mining companies registered with the Federal Mining Secretariat. As the Company’s wholly-owned subsidiary which holds the property is registered pursuant to Law Nº 24,196 with the Federal Mining Secretariat, the Company has the benefit of a tax stability regime which provides that for thirty (30) years from the date a feasibility is filed a company will only be subject to the federal, provincial and municipal taxes in effect at the time of filing and that any increase in tax rates or new taxes will not apply to a company so registered. In addition, by virtue of being registered with the Federal Mining Secretariat: (i) sums invested in prospecting, exploration and in any other expenses necessary to determine the feasibility of the project incurred before the filing of the feasibility study enjoy double deductibility; (ii) accelerated depreciation regime is applicable to new mining projects and to the enlargement of the existing ones, as well as all the capital investments made during exploitation; (iii) profits that its shareholders may gain from the contribution of mines or mining rights as capital are exempt from income tax; and (iv) investors may capitalize up to fifty percent (50%) of the assessment of economically exploitable mining reserves certified by an authorized professional.
The technical and scientific content of this release has been reviewed by Blake Hylands, P.Geo., a “qualified person” as such term is defined in National Instrument 43-101. Mr. Hylands is an employee of Sulliden Mining Capital, a minority shareholder of Aberdeen International.
Except for statements of historical fact contained herein, the information in this press release constitutes “forward-looking information” within the meaning of Canadian securities law. Such forward-looking information may be identified by words such as “plans”, “proposes”, “estimates”, “intends”, “expects”, “believes”, “may”, “will” and include without limitation, statements regarding, proceeds to be received on closing or subsequently, the ability of the Company to generate additional value for shareholders as a result of such transactions, past success as an indicator of future success; net asset value of the Company; the potential of investee companies and the appreciation of their share price; the Company’s plan of business operations; industry opportunities and dynamics and anticipated returns. There can be no assurance that such statements will prove to be accurate; actual results and future events could differ materially from such statements. Factors that could cause actual results to differ materially include, among others, metal prices, competition, financing risks, acquisition risks, risks inherent in the mining industry, and regulatory risks. Most of these factors are beyond the control of the Company. Investors are cautioned not to put undue reliance on forward-looking information. Except as otherwise required by applicable securities statutes or regulation, the Company expressly disclaims any intent or obligation to update publicly forward-looking information, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise.Contact Information:
Aberdeen International Inc.
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Aberdeen International Inc.
President and Chief Executive Officer