Argentina Lithium & Energy (TSX-V: LIT)(OTC: PNXLF) CEO Niko Cacos on Billion Dollar Investments in Argentina's Lithium Assets
Gerardo Del Real: This is Gerardo Del Real with Resource Stock Digest. Joining me today is the president and CEO of Argentina Lithium & Energy, Mr. Niko Cacos. Niko, how are you today?
Niko Cacos: Well, I'm feeling fantastic. Thank you very much, Gerardo. Thanks for having me on your show. Happy Christmas and Merry holidays for everybody who's listening.
Gerardo Del Real: Merry holidays to everyone. Obviously, including yourself, Merry Christmas, happy New Year to everybody. It seems like there is a lot of news going into the new year. It's been busy in Argentina. The last time you and I spoke, we talked about Millennial getting taken out for $400 million. We just saw Rio Tinto offer $825 million for the Rincon Lithium Project, also, in Argentina. We're talking over a billion dollars US in transactions here the last several months. I've got to believe you and the team are excited to have the type of land position and the projects that you have in Argentina right now, which as we discussed last time, is turning out to be one of the hotter places to be for the end of 2021.
Niko Cacos: Absolutely, it is. I think this really highlights the potential that exists in Argentina and this transaction comes to us while... It's like Christmas come early for Argentina Lithium & Energy. As we announced just a couple of months ago that we acquired a Rincon West project, which is part of the same salar, adjacent to this Rincon lithium project that Rio Tinto just acquired. To see the price tag of owning a piece of property jump up to $825 million is absolutely astounding. I think for a smart company like Rio Tinto, they know what they're doing. It speaks for the lithium market going forward. This puts us in a fantastic position, especially as we're getting geared up to start our exploration work next month, in fact, on our Rincon portion of the project.
Gerardo Del Real: I was just going to ask you about that, Niko. You recently announced a non-brokered private placement that was over subscribed. It went very well. How are you allocating the funds here in the next couple of months?
Niko Cacos: Well, yes, that's right. We are fully funded to meet all our exploration plans for the next year, and then some. We also have a slight side of the budget that we're using for additional acquisitions that we're pursuing concurrently, but I think it's time now, we've got a land position in our portfolio that's significant. We're embarking, in January, to do some geophysics on our Rincon project and then in February, to commence drilling. This is very exciting because there's, really, only two other players in the salar. Well, Rio Tinto now, who's our big neighbor and Argosy Minerals. There's only three players in this entire salar, and those other two players have significant resources that they've demonstrated to be economic. We'll be doing our work. Our fingers are crossed. Our odds are good. This could be a real game changer for our shareholders.
Gerardo Del Real: We saw similar interest in the lithium space back in 2016, 2017. Companies got a bit ahead of themselves. We then had one of the worst bear markets in the resource space ever. This feels different. This feels a lot more sustainable as it relates to the trend, to the demand side of the supply-demand equation and the caliber of players involved this go round, and the checks that are being written. Are you feeling the same way about that, Niko?
Niko Cacos: Absolutely. This is very different because we've been in this lithium market for quite some time, over a decade now. Just in the general population, I think we're seeing a will to electrify our vehicles and to reduce our carbon footprint. This is happening on a global scale, not just in the US and in North America and Europe, but also in China. They're quite serious about it. This is creating an incredible demand on battery metals, especially lithium. There's not that much lithium available today. Experts are calling for a shortage, a supply gap and Argentina being one of the most unexplored countries in the world with some of the best potential is here, displaying its potential of making new lithium discoveries. I think we're extremely well positioned to deliver on that.
Gerardo Del Real: The Grosso Group pioneered mining in Argentina. I get excited when I hear that you're still on the M&A hunt. Obviously you're cashed up and you, obviously, have the network to be able to gather some of the better projects that are available. Niko, a pleasure as always. Anything to add to that?
Niko Cacos: No. All I can add, this sets the tone, I think, for 2022. It's going to be a pivotal year for Argentina Lithium and our shareholders. I encourage everybody to watch us and to keep an eye on us, because I think we've got some fantastic developments coming forward.
Gerardo Del Real: Looking forward to it. Merry Christmas, happy holiday, happy New Year. We'll chat on the other side of this year.
Niko Cacos: Merry Christmas. Thank you, Gerardo.
Gerardo Del Real: Thank you.Click here to see more from Argentina Lithium & Energy