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Latest Lithium Takeover Bid Sparks Speculation on More M&A Activity to Come




FN Media Group Presents USA News Group News Commentary

VANCOUVER, B.C., Jan. 12, 2024 /PRNewswire/ — USA News Group  –  A new wave of mergers and acquisitions is on the rise in the lithium sector, in the wake of the latest successful takeover bid of Alpha Lithium Corporation by a leading Latin American energy company, Tecpetrol. After already announcing the acquisition of 102,692,615 common shares (54% equity) at a per-share bid price of C$1.48, Tecpetrol has officially now spent over C$150M on the Alpha transaction. That number could still climb, as the remaining ALLI shareholders have until Oct 31 to accept the offer for themselves, meaning even more lithium shareholders could be flooding the market with new cash to spend on other lithium plays with upside. This latest deal comes in the wake of the mega-merger between Allkem Limited (TSX:AKE) (OTCPK:OROCF) and Livent Corporation (NYSE:LTHM), analysts are turning their eyes toward more M&A activity in the space and other potential near-term takeout targets, such as Lithium South Development Corporation (TSXV:LIS) (OTCQB:LISMF), and Argentina Lithium & Energy Corp. (TSXV:LIT) (OTCQX:LILIF).

In the case of Lithium South Development Corporation (TSXV:LIS) (OTCQB:LISMF), the lithium developer recently announced that it had expanded it’s HMN Li Project  resource  by 175%. This material change in their flagship asset HMN Li’s resource estimate almost immediately gave Lithium South license to commission an updated Preliminary Economic Assessment (PEA) and expand upon its production goals.

“We are very pleased with our new updated lithium resource at the HMN Li Project,” said Fernando Villarroel, Company C.O.O. and Project Manager of Lithium South when the company announced the resource expansion. “The quality of the brine has exceeded our expectations.”

The company has already begun a pumping well/production well installation program  for three of the five claims that make up the HMN Li Project. The first well has been completed at the Natalia Maria claim block to a depth of 60 meters to take advantage of the observed geology. At this location, a core well returned an impressive 1176 mg/l Li back in April 2023.

Lithium South originally published an NI 43-101 PEA for the project back in 2019, when it only had a defined resource of 0.57 Mt Lithium Carbonate Equivalent (LCE) and the market price for lithium was assumed to be US$12,420 per tonne over the duration of the project. Today in 2023, the HMN Li has a newly calculated resource of 1.583Mt of LCE (with 90% attributed to the top ‘Measured’ category), and the lithium market price has stabilized at around $ 22,000  per tonne.

As well, the salt flat called Salar de Hombre Muerto, where HMN Li is located, has attracted billions of dollars in investment—most notably from Korean giant POSCO. Back in 2022, POSCO committed to investing US$4 billion on its Sal de Oro Lithium project, which is located immediately adjacent to the edge of the HMN Li project’s border. Now in 2023, POSCO has announced a US$800M investment then another US$1.7B investment into Argentina to support the project. Most recently, POSCO also announced a potential investment in a direct lithium extraction technology ( DLE ) )being developed by EnergyX . While not a yet commercially applied technology, DLE is gaining market interest as it can boast high recovery rates.

All of this nearby activity is reflecting upon projects like Lithium South’s, as well as for peers such as Argentina Lithium & Energy Corp. (TSXV:LIT) (OTCQX:LILIF) which recently commenced drilling on at Rincon West project in a campaign designed to explore the contiguous Rinconcita II concession and provide an eastward extension of their flagship project. So far the project has already captured the attention of Stellantis, to the tune of a US$90M equivalent investment from the auto giant.

“The USD 90MM equivalent investment in our company by automotive giant Stellantis comes with the mandate to accelerate exploration at our core projects, with the aim of advancing to the assessment of development potential as quickly as possible,” said Nikolaos Cacos, CEO of Argentina Lithium. “We anticipate increasing the scale and number of our exploration programs as permits are received for our projects. This is a big undertaking, and we are now well financed to aggressively move forward with this work.”

According to the company, the Rinconcita II property extends Argentina Lithium’s holdings eastwards over the salt flat that has not previously been explored. The current drill program is intended to verify the presence and lithium grades of these brines, in order to incorporate them into the resource model they’re building for Rincon West.

Within the Argentina portion of the prolific Lithium Triangle, the mega-merger between Allkem Limited (TSX:AKE) (OTC:OROCF) and Livent Corporation (NYSE:LTHM) is set to reshape the lithium landscape to create the world’s third largest lithium miner by production capacity. Now that all competition and foreign approvals have been acquired, there is a lot of momentum behind the $10.6-billion merged entity.

“It really comes down to one key point which is: Our customers need us to get bigger,” said Livent CEO Paul Graves, who will lead the new entity. “They need more lithium, and developing lithium resources is not a game for small companies.”

According to Graves, combining Allkem and Livent should create a company with greater scale, a larger product range and a wider geographic footprint to meet the growth in lithium demand. This results from putting together Livent’s expertise in lithium processing, with Allkem’s large resource base and skill set in producing lithium using both brine-extraction and hard rock mining techniques.

Now with the entry of Tecpetrol into the space through the successful takeover bid of Alpha Lithium Corporation there’s another major player in the scene. In the wake of the takeover’s conclusion, Alpha announced it had completed drilling two wells on one of its existing properties in Hombre Muerto. Both wells encountered multiple brine bearing zones and, as they were both drilled as producing wellbores, are currently being flow-tested. Samples from each well were collected during initial pumping, serving as composite chemistry for the entire screened interval of the well and are more representative of the chemistry that would be expected from that well during production pumping.

Moving forward, in the near term, shareholders of ALLI have an expiry time of October 31, 2023 to tender their shares if they want to sell to Tecpetrol. As of the timing of the announcement, there are already 102,692,615 common shares bought out by the buyer, which leaves the market with a potential spot cash injection for those previous lithium stock owners to move to new projects with similar future takeout potential.


Article Source: 

USA News Group 
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Fintech PR

Velo Is Enhancing Its Own Ecosystem Through Interoperability




Interoperability in Velo: To Infinity and Beyond

BANGKOK, March 5, 2024 /PRNewswire/ — As new blockchains and blockchain-based platforms emerge, it’s crucial for these ecosystems to be interconnected, enabling users to seamlessly transfer their assets without complications. Velo is enhancing its own ecosystem through interoperability, aspiring to become a pivotal connection point for various blockchains.

A significant update within Universe is its support for multiple wallet addresses on a single platform, catering to users who possess multiple wallets across different platforms. This feature is essential for managing diverse assets conveniently.

Furthermore, Universe is integrating multi-chain login and registration support for networks such as Solana and Tron, thereby improving Velo’s accessibility and usability. Efforts are in place to refactor the user database and management code, ensuring a smooth and secure experience.

Velo is advancing its blockchain integration by incorporating the Solana and Tron networks, aiming to offer enhanced deposit and withdrawal functionalities to enrich its ecosystem. This initiative involves deploying Solana and Tron chain-node and full-node functionalities, thereby broadening the network’s diversity and user options. Additionally, Universe is introducing a dedicated user interface (UI) for Solana transactions, encompassing deposit-withdrawal and account management across Webplus and mobile platforms, ensuring a seamless user experience.

This streamlined approach guarantees that Velo’s users have comprehensive and intuitive access to a broader range of transaction options, significantly boosting the platform’s utility and user engagement.

The integration with the Lightning Network marks a significant advancement in improving Bitcoin transactions. By implementing Lightning chain-node and deploying a BTC full-node, Orbit aims to streamline Bitcoin deposits and withdrawals, making them faster and more cost-efficient.

Velo’s dedication to ensuring inclusivity and connectivity with other blockchains is evident through the concrete steps it has taken. With aggressive strides towards unlocking the full potential of the Velo Protocol, Velo is poised for significant growth and innovation.

About Velo Labs

Velo Labs is a global pioneer in Web3-based financial solutions, offering a cutting-edge liquidity and settlement network for secure, efficient value transfers. Backed by Stellar Network and CP Group, our reach has expanded beyond Southeast Asia and the Pacific, now serving partners worldwide. We connect and complement the gap between traditional banking infrastructure and Web3, leading the way in blockchain mass adoption. Our extensive Web3-based payment network and Lightnet, our licensed settlement partner, position us as a global heavyweight. Velo Labs offers a diverse range of Web3-based products, notably Orbit, tailored for individuals, merchants, corporations, and enterprises worldwide — dedicated to empowering global financial connectivity and expanding accessibility globally.

Follow us for more info: Twitter / Telegram / Website

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CGTN: China vows to develop new quality productive forces in modernization drive




BEIJING, March 5, 2024 /PRNewswire/ — China saw the number of contracted technology transactions grow by 28.6 percent in 2023, an achievement that speaks volumes of the country’s enhanced capacity for innovation-driven development.

China will leverage the leading role of innovation, spur industrial innovation through advancements in science and technology, and press ahead with new industrialization, according to a government work report submitted on Tuesday to the national legislature for deliberation.

Chinese Premier Li Qiang delivered the report at the opening meeting of the second session of the 14th National People’s Congress in the Great Hall of the People in Beijing.

The report says that the country will strive to modernize the industrial system and develop new quality productive forces at a faster pace.

Developing new quality productive forces

With innovation leading the way, new quality productive forces mean going beyond the traditional models of economic growth. This path features high technology, high efficiency and high quality, and aligns with China’s new development philosophy.

In order to develop these new quality productive forces, the government work report lists a series of tasks.

It calls for improving and upgrading industrial and supply chains besides cultivating emerging and future-oriented industries, such as hydrogen power, new materials, biomanufacturing, commercial spaceflight, quantum technology and life sciences.

The report also says that innovative development of the digital economy will be promoted, an Artificial Intelligence Plus initiative will be launched, and the country will consolidate and enhance its leading position in industries such as intelligent connected new-energy vehicles.

Moreover, China has set an economic growth target of around 5 percent for 2024 and vowed to promote high-quality development. It will issue ultra-long special treasury bonds annually over the next several years for implementing major national strategies and building up security capacity in key areas, starting with 1 trillion yuan of such bonds this year, according to the report.

The report also stresses efforts for invigorating China through science and education and consolidating the foundations for high-quality development.

China will speed up efforts to build a contingent of personnel with expertise of strategic importance and cultivate more first-class scientists and innovation teams.

The country will develop platforms for identifying basic research talent, train high-performing engineers and highly-skilled workers, and enhance support for young scientists and engineers, according to the report.

Acting on people-centered development philosophy

China will make efforts to ensure and improve the people’s welling and promote better and new ways of conducting social governance, the report says.

It highlights that China will deliver real benefits to the people to their satisfaction by acting on the people-centered development philosophy.

In 2023, China’s per capita disposable income of residents increased by 6.1 percent, and over 66 million taxpayers benefited from an increase in the special additional deductions for individual income tax, which cover children nursing expenses, children’s education and elderly care expenses, according to the report.

In 2024, the country expects to create over 12 million jobs in urban areas and keep the surveyed urban unemployment rate at around 5.5 percent.

China will also enhance ecological conservation and promote green and low-carbon development, including taking comprehensive steps to improve the environment and boosting the green and low-carbon economy, according to the report.

In 2023, China’s installed renewable energy capacity surpassed its thermal power capacity for the first time in history and it accounted for over half of newly installed renewable energy capacity worldwide, according to data released by the National Energy Administration.

The country will advance the energy revolution and actively and prudently work toward peaking carbon dioxide emissions and achieving carbon neutrality, according to the report.

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SK chemicals, Hyosung Advanced Materials, and Hankook Tire Commercialize South Korea’s First Chemically Recycled PET Tire



  • Establishing a circular economy that extends from recycled PET to high-strength tire cords and electric vehicle-exclusive tires
  • Leading the global tire industry’s sustainable management by commercializing products with 45% eco-friendly certified materials

SEONGNAM, South Korea, March 5, 2024 /PRNewswire/ — To reduce carbon emissions, the South Korean industrial sector has developed and commercialized the country’s first tire using chemically recycled PET.

SK chemicals (CEO Ahn Jae-hyun), Hyosung Advanced Materials Co., Ltd. (CEO Cho Yong-soo), and Hankook Tire & Technology Co., Ltd. (CEO Lee Soo-il, hereafter Hankook Tire) announced on the 5th that they have successfully developed the electric vehicle-exclusive tire “iON” applying “circular recycled PET (polyester) fiber tire cords.” Circular recycling is an exclusive chemical recycling technology of SK chemicals that breaks down discarded plastics through chemical reactions into molecular units and then uses these raw materials to produce recycled plastics.

Before the commercialization phase, there were instances where chemical recycling technology was applied to concept tires or prototypes, but the release of a tire product to the market using chemically recycled PET-based tire cords through to commercialization is a first in South Korea.

SK chemicals, Hyosung Advanced Materials, and Hankook Tire have collaboratively developed this tire over a period of about two years. SK chemicals has reliably supplied the circular recycled PET “SKYPET CR”, and Hyosung Advanced Materials developed the high-strength recycled PET-based tire cords using this as a raw material. The developed tire cords were applied to Hankook Tire’s premium electric vehicle tire brand, iON. The iON tire, with a 45% sustainable material content, has recently passed the stringent reliability verification by a European automotive manufacturer, securing final approval for use and being mounted as tires for new vehicles.

Tire cords are fiber reinforcement materials that help maintain the shape of the tire and withstand the load and impact applied during driving, enhancing the tire’s durability, driving performance, and ride comfort.

SK chemicals’ “SKYPET CR” has the advantage of maintaining high-quality properties and safety even after infinite recycling, compared to the physical recycling method of washing discarded plastics or cutting them into flakes for reuse, and it can achieve properties equivalent to petrochemical-based materials.

The iON model developed by Hankook Tire incorporates 45% sustainable materials, including bio-based, circular, and bio-circular polymers, bio-based silica along with Hyosung Advanced Materials’ tire cords, and the model is the first tire to bear the ISCC PLUS certification logo.


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