General Base Metals
Argentina Lithium & Energy (TSX-V: LIT)(OTC: PNXLF) CEO Niko Cacos on Positioning for Multiple Discoveries in Argentina’s Lithium Triangle in a Red-Hot Lithium Market
Gerardo Del Real: This is Gerardo Del Real with Resource Stock Digest. Joining me today is the president & CEO of Argentina Lithium — Mr. Niko Cacos. Niko, how are you today?
Niko Cacos: I'm doing very well this morning here… even though it's a rainy, cool morning in Vancouver… but the lithium is looking hot and I'm keeping nice and warm!
Gerardo Del Real: You stole my line, Niko! I was going to say, it may be cool and wet in Vancouver and rainy, but man, lithium is hot! Lithium in Argentina is hot! And we know that Lithium Americas just offered $400 million for Millennial Lithium. I couldn't think of a better time to have you back on.
You just announced that you signed the definitive agreement to acquire the Rincon West and Pocitos properties in Salta Province, Argentina. Can you give us just a brief overview of Argentina Lithium, the company, for people that are maybe looking at what happened with Millennial and saying, Okay, wait a minute… Argentina's jurisdiction is now emerging as a bastion of stability!
I joked with you off air but given all the recent developments in South America — Argentina looks like a great place to be discovering for, exploring, and developing commodity deposits. Am I wrong in that?
Niko Cacos: Oh, you could not have said a word out of place there. Argentina, for commodities in general, is probably one of the world's most prospective places because it's been vastly underexplored in its history. But especially for lithium.
When we look at the Lithium Triangle, which encompasses parts of Chile, Bolivia, and Argentina — and we know that more than 60% of the world's known lithium reserves reside there and almost none in Argentina because of its unexplored status — Argentina probably has the world's most prospective region for making new lithium discoveries.
And we've seen that for a long time coming, and it's happening now. We're seeing, like what you said with Millennial’s bid to get bought out, and there's Neo Lithium which got bought out not that long ago. And I'm hearing down the grapevine, there's a lot more activity coming from Chinese and North American companies and European companies. It's really, really heating up there. This is a very exciting time to be working in that part of the world.
Gerardo Del Real: And the Grosso Group, obviously, pioneers when it comes to mining in Argentina. I don't think that can be overstated. I like to mention it every time that you and I have a conversation because I think it's underappreciated in the sector just how much of a pioneer the group has been in Argentina.
And, of course, what that translates into is access to a network that allows for agreements and vending in properties that aren't just trend-chasing properties. They're actually properties of merit that are very prospective. I know that Rincon West and Pocitos fit that description. Can you talk a bit about those properties?
Niko Cacos: Absolutely. And you're right, with the Grosso Group, which is our management team, we've been active in Argentina for nearly 30 years now. And the head of our organization, Joe Grosso, he's been Mining Man of the Year. He's been inducted into Argentina's Mining Hall of Fame. It gives us a tremendous stature and presence in that country.
And it's interesting, in the last few years, when a lot of countries, and especially Argentina, shut down because of COVID, we had a big presence in Argentina. And while other companies were staying away, we were actively looking and negotiating and acquiring projects.
And this Rincon West project is a case in point. Rincon West is a very prospective salar. We've got two other companies that basically control the bulk of the salar, which is Rincon Limited and Argosy Minerals. They both have proven reserves on there.
And the fact that we can make a deal and acquire a significant property presence on Rincon West, I think, speaks to our ability. I think this is a very, very exciting project.
Gerardo Del Real: You're raising nearly C$5 million. You're doing it at a substantial premium to the last time that you financed, if I'm not mistaken. Again, I think your timing is perfect. Tell me where that C$5 million will go.
Niko Cacos: We're planning a geophysics and drill program for Rincon West. We're going to begin that in the first quarter of the new year.
And getting cashed-up right now and ensuring that we've got funds to drill — not just this project but also other projects that we've acquired and more that we're looking at acquiring — I think puts us in a financially very stable position and sets us up for potentially announcing repetitive lithium discoveries.
That's the business that we're in!
Gerardo Del Real: And again, can you just remind everyone about the portfolio of properties that you've been able to put together?
Niko Cacos: Well, we've got, right now, just under 60,000 hectares of property in the Argentinian portion of the Lithium Triangle. These are all in four different salars. In one case, in Incahuasi, we own the entire salar. We are in a very, very desirable position.
And it's interesting that now we're getting contacted every day for potential joint ventures or for potential acquisitions. But at this point, I think we've got the money… we've got the projects… we've got a few more that are coming in.
And our shareholders deserve the benefit of the exploration work that we're about to begin because, as we discover and make announcements of new lithium discoveries, I think we're going to see a vast revaluation of this company.
Gerardo Del Real: It's an exciting time… a discovery of merit in this cycle, which I predict will last years. This isn't a one year or two year thing. I think lithium demand is projected out well for the next decade.
And it's going to take quite a few discoveries to actually come to market and quite a bit of scaling out of the majors' current deposits in order to come close to remotely meeting the demand that I see exploding here over the next couple of years.
Niko, it's a pleasure as always. Anything else to add to that?
Niko Cacos: No, I think you hit the nail right on the button there. I think that demand is going to continue going for years and years. Lithium is a very integral part of the new clean air economy. And with Argentina Lithium, we're positioning ourselves to be a significant contributor to that effect.
Gerardo Del Real: I mentioned the C$5 million financing. It's coming at a premium to the last one but it's also coming with a full warrant, which is very attractive. If anyone is accredited, listens to this interview, and is interested — can they write in… can they go to the website and contact you and inquire about potentially investing in the placement?
Niko Cacos: By all means. We welcome people who are accredited to reach out to us, and we can discuss if anyone has any interest.
Gerardo Del Real: Excellent!
Niko Cacos: Although I have to add that this thing is being subscribed at record speed right now.
Gerardo Del Real: Well, there you go! If anyone out there is interested, send me a note ASAP… send Niko a note ASAP… and we will make sure you get in touch. First come first served! You know how it goes… when it's hot, it's hot! And this one is a hot one.
Niko, thank you so much for your time today.
Niko Cacos: Thank you very much, Gerardo. A pleasure as always.
Gerardo Del Real: Chat soon.Click here to see more from Argentina Lithium & Energy