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Pair of Rejected Bids Show Mining Giants Can’t Easily Acquire Critical Battery Metals Assets

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USA News Group Commentary

VANCOUVER, BC, April 26, 2024 /PRNewswire/ — USA News Group – Already in 2023 there have been two multibillion-dollar takeover bids rejected that would’ve involved critical battery metals assets. The first to go down was Liontown Resources turning down a US$3.6 billion offer from Albemarle Corporation (NYSE:ALB), followed by Teck Resources Limited (NYSE:TECK) (TSX:TECK-A) (TSX:TECK-B) rejecting a US$23.2 billion merger proposal from Glencore plc (OTC:GLNCY). Meanwhile, mining giant Rio Tinto Group (NYSE:RIO) is rumored to be on the prowl for more lithium assets after already buying a lithium mine for $825 million in Argentina, in the same province (Salta) as Lithium South Development Corporation’s (TSXV:LIS) (OTC:LISMF) Hombre Muerto North Lithium project (HMN Li Project).

At this latter project, Lithium South Development Corporation (TSXV:LIS) (OTC:LISMF) recently completed the final drill hole of a resource expansion program, designed to expand upon the HMN Li Project’s maiden resource of 0.57 MT Li2CO3 equivalent (M+I) from 2019.

“We are pleased to have completed the 2022-2023 resource expansion program at the HMN Li Project,” said Lithium South’s President and CEO, Adrian F. C. Hobkirk. “We look forward to full results and the delineation of a new lithium resource.”

Throughout this 2023 resource program to date, Lithium South has received excellent lithium values from all holes completed to date. These included an average of samples of 663 mg/L Li, with a range of 320-752 mg/L Li, and ranging from 569 mg/L Li to 708 mg/L Li in another drill hole. The latest results also include nine packer samples collected between 24 and 189 meters, with a density range of 1.215 to 1.218 g/mL and a conductivity range of 196.3 to 209.5 mS/cm.

So far there’s been significant progress made on the HMN Li, as Lithium South completed a Preliminary Economic Assessment (PEA) in April 2019, expanded drilling efforts, and joined up with multiple experts in Direct Lithium Extraction (DLE) technology, to potentially increase the profitability of the project.

However, the original 2019 PEA assessment was based only the project’s original 383-hectares of claims (Tramo), whereas now the project covers 5,687 hectares spread across 9 mining concessions. Now the goal of Lithium South’s current expansion program is to not only increase the resource size, but also move closer towards a full Feasibility Study. The Project is already surrounded by two leading lithium producers, Livent and POSCO, which acquired the property from Galaxy Resources (now Allkem) for US$280 million.

With regards to testing the potential of DLE, Lithium South has provided three 2,000-liter bulk samples of high-quality HMN Li brine for testing by its three strategic partners: China’s Chemphys Chengdu, Argentina’s Eon Minerals, and California-based Lilac Solutions.

Located in the same Salta Province of Argentina, Rio Tinto Group (NYSE:RIO) completed its acquisition of the Rincon lithium project for $825 million back in May 2022.

“Rincon strengthens our battery materials business and positions Rio Tinto to meet the double-digit growth in demand for lithium over the next decade, at a time when supply is constrained,” said Jakob Stausholm, CEO of Rio Tinto. “We will be working with local communities, the Province of Salta and the Government of Argentina as we develop this project to the highest ESG standards.”

To optimise the process and recoveries, Rio Tinto continued to produce battery-grade lithium carbonate from raw brine from the existing pilot plant operating at site. Early construction activities have progressed on phase one camp facilities with rooms for 250 persons completed, while airstrip permits were received and contractors mobilised.

Detailed studies for the full scale operation have advanced, and Rio Tintos exploration campaign progressed to further understand Rincon’s basin and brine reservoir. The plan is to have the starter plant serve as a pilot for a much larger, 50,000-tonne/year plant there. As well, Rio Tinto has also signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Ford Motor Company for delivery of lithium carbonate from the Rincon salar.

Lithium giant Albemarle Corporation (NYSE:ALB) currently sources its lithium production from several locations worldwide. However, Albemarle’s largest source of lithium production is from its operations in Chile, where it extracts lithium from the Salar de Atacama, one of the world’s largest and richest lithium brine deposits. While also having lithium production facilities in the USA, Australia, and China, it was recently rebuffed in an attempt to secure more lithium through the now-rejected US$3.7 billion takeover bid of Liontown Resources and its Kathleen Valley project slated for first production in mid-2024, located in Western Australia.

The Kathleen Valley project is among the world’s largest and highest-grade hard rock lithium deposits. Much like Rio Tinto, Liontown has also signed a supply agreement with Ford Motor Company.

The rejection by Liontown didn’t end Albemarles takeover attempts. In fact, Albemarle began canvassing Liontown’s shareholders, all while refusing to budge from its rejected $2.50 per share bid, which came at a 63% premium to the previously undisturbed price.

Teck Resources Limited (NYSE:TECK) (TSX:TECK-A) (TSX:TECK-B) rejected a lot more than Liontown did, when it turned down a US$23.2-billion merger proposal from Glencore plc (OTC:GLNCY) (OTC:GLCNF). It’s believed that Teck is unlikely to accept an improved proposal from Glencore due to the “significant value leakage” from merging with the large public coal company and the “elevated” regulatory risks involved. There’s also a patriotic aspect in play, as Teck is Canadian focused, while Glencore is Swiss-based.

“There’s more to all of this than what the share price would be in the offer because I think that Teck is a national champion for Canada,” said Patricia Mohr, an economist and former vice-president at the Bank of Nova Scotia. “There are benefits for the Canadian mining industry associated with this. I think it would, personally, be a pity if we lost another of our major international players in the mining industry.”

Late in 2022, Glencore had expressed its intent to add lithium to the suite of metals that it trades, citing the raw material’s hot demand. Glencore doesn’t own lithium mines but produces copper, nickel and cobalt, other raw materials that it terms “commodities of the future,” as they are needed to manufacture batteries, electric cars and renewable infrastructure that will help the world transition to a greener economy.

Source: https://usanewsgroup.com/2023/04/11/quite-possibly-the-best-lithium-resource-in-argentina-perhaps-the-world/ 

CONTACT:
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DISCLAIMER: Nothing in this publication should be considered as personalized financial advice. We are not licensed under securities laws to address your particular financial situation. No communication by our employees to you should be deemed as personalized financial advice. Please consult a licensed financial advisor before making any investment decision. This is a paid advertisement and is neither an offer nor recommendation to buy or sell any security. We hold no investment licenses and are thus neither licensed nor qualified to provide investment advice. The content in this report or email is not provided to any individual with a view toward their individual circumstances. Equity Insider is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Market IQ Media Group, Inc. (“MIQ”). MIQ has been paid a fee for Lithium South Development Corporation advertising and digital media from the company directly. There may be 3rd parties who may have shares of Lithium South Development Corporation, and may liquidate their shares which could have a negative effect on the price of the stock. This compensation constitutes a conflict of interest as to our ability to remain objective in our communication regarding the profiled company. Because of this conflict, individuals are strongly encouraged to not use this publication as the basis for any investment decision. The owner/operator of MIQ own shares of Lithium South Development Corporation which were purchased as a part of a private placement. MIQ reserves the right to buy and sell, and will buy and sell shares of Lithium South Development Corporation at any time thereafter without any further notice. We also expect further compensation as an ongoing digital media effort to increase visibility for the company, no further notice will be given, but let this disclaimer serve as notice that all material disseminated by MIQ has been approved by the above mentioned company; this is a paid advertisement, and we own shares of the mentioned company that we will sell, and we also reserve the right to buy shares of the company in the open market, or through further private placements and/or investment vehicles.

While all information is believed to be reliable, it is not guaranteed by us to be accurate. Individuals should assume that all information contained in our newsletter is not trustworthy unless verified by their own independent research. Also, because events and circumstances frequently do not occur as expected, there will likely be differences between any predictions and actual results. Always consult a licensed investment professional before making any investment decision. Be extremely careful, investing in securities carries a high degree of risk; you may likely lose some or all of the investment.

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Unlock an Exclusive Olympic Experience: Celebrating Live4Well’s Sold-Out Genesis NFT

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HONG KONG, May 25, 2024 /PRNewswire/ — The buzz surrounding Live4Well’s successful Genesis NFT membership launch on May 23 has captivated both traditional and web3 communities. Combining the power of AI technology and decentralized physical infrastructure (DePin) concept, Live4Well has infused new life into the NFT market. The overwhelming response to their first NFT sales, showcases the project’s immense potential. Renowned web3 community leaders from Azuki, Bored Ape, Pudgy Penguins, WELL3, etc have joined forces with Live4Well, propelling the Genesis NFT membership collection to its resounding success.

Live4Well aims to transform the wellness industry by creating a reward-based infrastructure that connects global fitness data, enhances their AI database, and drives the development of sports and wellness. Backed by a multi-billion family office, which recently invested $20 million in Live4Well, the project has gained support in both web3 and traditional spaces. The team believes that every drop of sweat and effort toward better health should be rewarded, fostering motivation and integrating exercise into daily lives for enhanced well-being.

Live4Well’s announcement of an Olympic-themed raffle for Genesis NFT holders reflects their commitment to connecting wellness between Web2 and Web3 platforms. This testament to Live4Well’s demand and innovative vision solidifies their position as a promising leader in the industry. Their integration of the Olympic signifies their determination to inspire a global audience, leveraging blockchain technology to create an immersive ecosystem that revolutionizes how individuals engage with fitness on a daily basis for better health. Live4Well’s dedication to bridging the gap between traditional practices and the digital landscape sets them apart as pioneers in promoting well-being on a global scale.

What is Genesis NFT membership?

The Genesis NFT unlocks a multitude of benefits for holders, including the opportunity to cash out their sportive income and access a range of exclusive physical products and services. In addition to future airdrops and angel round whitelist privileges, Genesis holders will receive VIP tailor-made product packs from an innovative German sportswear company, elevating their exercise performance to new heights. With over 400 million sweat points farmed by their users, they are eager to redeem through the Genesis NFT membership. These enticing incentives explain why there was a widespread eagerness to participate in this thrilling event.

Unlike typical projects that raise funds before launching products or services, Live4Well has already released its AI-powered app, amassing over 250,000 users as a community base actively engaging in daily exercise. This early success has fostered a promising community within the wellness industry, as users trust Live4Well’s roadmap and collaborative ventures. The growing traction from both ordinary individuals and web3 enthusiasts has intensified the demand for redeeming and cashing out sweat points, the project’s exercise-based rewards. Obtaining the Genesis NFT membership is now seen as an essential step for accessing the highest tier of benefits and cashing out sportive income.

(PRNewsfoto/Live4Well)

What’s next for Live4Well?

Following the Genesis sales, Live4Well’s team will shift their focus to the upcoming token generation event (TGE) and a series of farming events. They also have exciting plans for partnerships and other collaborations in the global wellness and fitness industries. If you missed the initial launch, be sure to stay updated on Live4Well’s journey and join this extraordinary revolution.

(PRNewsfoto/Live4Well)

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CGTN: Eyeing Chinese modernization, China doubles efforts to further deepen reform on all fronts

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BEIJING, May 25, 2024 /PRNewswire/ — Built after China’s reform and opening up, Rizhao Port in east China’s Shandong Province is a vital global hub for the transshipment of energy and bulk raw materials.

Through recent technological innovation, the port has been upgraded into a modern port, serving as a key node for the New Eurasian Land Bridge and an important hub for the Belt and Road Initiative.

Rizhao Port, together with Qingdao Port, Yantai Port and Bohai Bay Port, formed Shandong Port Group Co., Ltd. five years ago. Last year, the total cargo throughput of the four ports exceeded 1.7 billion tonnes, ranking first in the world.

As part of his first leg of an inspection tour in Shandong Province from Wednesday to Friday, Xi Jinping, general secretary of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee, visited the port, recognizing its achievements and urging the province to build a high-level platform for major international exchanges and cooperation.

“Reform is the driving force for development,” Xi emphasized on Thursday while chairing a symposium in Shandong’s capital of Jinan, attended by representatives from businesses and academia.

To deepen reform further on all fronts, efforts should be focused on the overarching goals of improving and developing the socialist system with Chinese characteristics and modernizing China’s governance system and capacity, he stressed.

Deepening reform centered on Chinese modernization

Xi’s trip to Shandong is the first local inspection he has made since the CPC Central Committee Political Bureau held a meeting on April 30, which decided that the third plenary session of the 20th CPC Central Committee will be held in Beijing in July, and the session will primarily examine issues related to further comprehensively deepening reform and advancing Chinese modernization.

Over the years, China’s reform of the economic system has been continuously improved, and the reform of its political and cultural systems has been steadily advanced and innovated.

Meanwhile, the reform of the ecological civilization system has been accelerated, and the reform of national defense and the military has achieved historic breakthroughs.

Comprehensively deepening reform has placed the construction of the national governance system and governance capabilities in a more prominent position. China has convened about 40 meetings of the Central Leading Group for Comprehensively Deepening Reform and 30 meetings of the Central Commission for Comprehensively Deepening Reform to improve the top-level design of reform.

From implementing the Foreign Investment Law and building pilot free trade zones to hosting a slew of major expos and accelerating the construction of Hainan Free Trade Port, China unswervingly deepens reforms and expands high-level opening up, injecting positive energy into global development and bringing tangible benefits to people worldwide.

At Thursday’s symposium, Xi said China should take resolute steps to remove the ideological and institutional barriers hindering the advancement of Chinese modernization and double down on its efforts to resolve deep-seated institutional challenges and structural issues.

Economic system reform should start with meeting realistic needs and tackling the most urgent matters, and it should advance theoretical and institutional innovation in the process of solving practical problems, he added.

A better life for the people

Xi has been stressing that reform should focus on what the people care about and expect the most. The aim, he has said, is to give the people a stronger sense of fulfillment.

Focusing on resolving the most practical problems that are of the greatest and most direct concerns to the people, China has continued to advance major reforms and system construction in the field of people’s livelihoods to allow the results of reform to benefit all people equally and promote their comprehensive development.

The Civil Code, anticipated for decades, finally came to life and was adopted in 2020, highlighting the respect and protection of individual freedom, dignity, interests and rights.

Since the 18th CPC National Congress, the country has built a total of more than 59 million units of various types of affordable and shantytown-renovated housing, helping settle over 140 million people into new homes.

“The Chinese people’s aspiration for a better life is the goal we have been striving for, and the ultimate purpose of advancing reform and promoting development is to improve the livelihood of the people,” Xi said.

Stressing the need to plan and advance reform based on the overall, fundamental and long-term interests of the people, Xi urged efforts to identify the key areas of reform and achieve breakthroughs based on the pressing concerns and aspirations of the general public, including employment, income growth, education, healthcare, housing, government services, childcare, elderly care, personal safety and property security.

https://news.cgtn.com/news/2024-05-24/Eyeing-Chinese-modernization-China-doubles-efforts-to-deepen-reform-1tRFe7yRTUY/p.html

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PagBank records its highest recurring net income in Q124, reaching 522 million BRL – an increase of +33% in the annual comparison

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TPV reached 112 billion BRL (+27% YoY), more than twice the industry’s growth and 31 billion BRL in deposits, reinforcing the balance sheet for expansion of receivables anticipation and credit concession.

SÃO PAULO, May 24, 2024 /PRNewswire/ — PagBank (NYSE: PAGS), a complete digital bank in financial services and payments solution and one of the largest digital banks in Brazil, announces its results for the first quarter of 2024 (Q124). The main highlights of the period include a record recurring net profit  of 522 million BRL (+33% YoY), while the net accounting profit reached 483 million BRL (+31 YoY%).

Alexandre Magnani, CEO of PagBank, points out the continuity of the good results presented in the last quarters, highlighting the expressive gain of market share in payments (acquirings), balancing growth with profitability, while the Company establishes itself among the largest financial institutions in Brazil in number of clients:

“We are more than 31 million customers and our execution has been consistent. We have consolidated our value proposition for micro, small, and medium-sized enterprises, facilitating the financial life of individuals and businesses. At the same time, we have captured opportunities for client-consumers who do not have a relationship with payment machines through payroll loans, our broad investment platform, and the offer of a complete bank,” says the CEO of PagBank.

In acquirings, the TPV registered was 112 billion BRL (+27% YoY), growing in all segments (MSMBs and Large Companies, E-commerce, and Cross-border businesses1). In digital banking, PagBank reached 66 billion BRL in Cash-In (+48% YoY), a metric that represents the financial volume received from other financial institutions in PagBank accounts, excluding acquisition, especially Pix, business account products, and salary portability.

The substantial volumes of TPV and Cash-in led deposits to record numbers of nearly 31 billion BRL (+64% YoY and +11%QoQ) despite the less favorable seasonality of the period, given that in the first months of the year, customers have more significant disbursements to honor the payment of taxes, such as IPTU and IPVA, and school yearly supplies, among other expenses.“We stand out for offering instant settlement for our customers and carrying out easy operations via Pix, leveraging our TPV and Cash-In volume in PagBank accounts. This, added to the fact that we have a banking license since 2019, means that we have the agility of a fintech and low funding costs like a traditional bank,” says Magnani. 

According to Artur Schunck, CFO of PagBank, operational growth does not harm the Company’s capital allocation. On the contrary, the acceleration of revenue growth and discipline in costs and expenses were the main levers of the record result. “The financial margins of the consolidated business were high. Our profit grew more than 30% compared to the Q1 2023, even with additional disbursements linked to the new cycle of growth and diversification of the operation, including geographical expansion and marketing actions in the period”, says Schunck.

The credit portfolio resumed growth and reached 2.7 billion (+8% QoQ) at the end of March, focusing on low-risk products such as consigned credit, the anticipation of the year withdrawal of FGTS (Severance Pay Fund), and credit cards with a limit attached to PagBank’s CDBs (a type of fixed-income investment). Schunck believes that despite short-term macroeconomic uncertainties regarding interest and inflation behavior, the worst is in the past, and he is confident in the credit strategy:

“We crossed the pandemic, the significant high-interest rate period, and one of the worst credit cycles in Brazil and still we have built a robust balance sheet and diversified our credit portfolio in terms of customers, products, and risks. Now, we are opening up opportunities to accelerate the concession and gradually expand the offer of credit products from the next few months,” says the CFO of PagBank. 

Other Highlights

Net revenue in the quarter was 4.3 billion BRL (+15% YoY), driven by the strong growth of the acquirings, led by MSMBs (micro, small and medium-sized businesses) and the advance in large accounts, with emphasis on online, cross-border, and automation, as well as the growth of higher margins in financial services. The number of clients reached 31.4 million, reinforcing PagBank’s position as one of the largest digital banks in the country.

In the period, PagBank was recognized as the best bank in Brazil and awarded the RA1000 seal of quality in service, both granted by the Reclame Aqui ranking and as one of the 50 most valuable brands in the country, according to a survey conducted by Kantar BrandZ.

Among the launches of the quarter, main highlights were PagBankPartnerships, a relationship and integration program with software companies and commercial automation; Seguro Empresarial (Business Insurance) offering coverage against fires, electrical damage, theft, burglary, and natural disasters, among others; and Tap to Pay Online, a new and exclusive technology in Latin America that allows the customer to run online transactions by bringing credit or debit card closer to the mobile phone on e-commerce platforms. In addition, PagBank has started to offer 1% cashback on all purchases made with the digital bank credit card and new investment options, such as the CBD, with a 130% CDI rate-variation yield.

“This current moment reminds us very much of our phase between 2018 and 2019, in which we grew in a fast and profitable way, and launched several products. We are very optimistic about the coming months and years of the Company”, says the CEO of PagBank. 

Rio Grande do Sul

PagBank has closely monitored the potential impacts of the ongoing climate tragedy in the state of Rio Grande do Sul and the developments in its operations. The Company’s TPV exposure in the state is similar to the state’s share in national GDP – around 5%. The Company says t is early to share some numbers since consumption in the affected regions have decreased due to the temporary closure of the business, while moving people to neighboring cities and states can increase consumption in unaffected areas.

“At this time, our focus is on supporting flood victims, especially our professionals working in the state of Rio Grande do Sul, through donations from PagBank and its professionals, in cash and goods, as well as offering special support to our affected customer,” says Magnani. 

Check out the financial results of PagBank in Q124 here.

About PagBank
PagBank promotes innovative solutions in financial services and means of payment, automating the purchase, sale, and transfer process to leverage individuals’ and enterprises’ businesses simply and securely. A company of the UOL Group – leader of the Brazilian Internet – PagBank acts as an issuer and acquirer, offering digital accounts and providing complete solutions for online and face-to-face payments (by mobile devices and POS devices). 

PagBank also has a wide variety of means of payment, such as credit and prepaid cards, bank transfers, payments by billet, and balance in the account, among others. PagBank (PagSeguro Internet Payment Institution S.A) is regulated by the Central Bank of Brazil as an electronic money-issuing payment institution, issuer of post-paid instruments and acquirer, having partnerships with the leading credit card issuers. Its parent company, PagSeguro Digital, is listed in the U.S. (NYSE: PAGS) and regulated by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). The distribution of investment funds is carried out by BancoSeguro S.A., authorized by the Central Bank of Brazil, the Securities and Exchange Commission, and affiliated with ANBIMA. 

Visit the PagBank Press Room

1 GCECs: The Brazilian acronym for large companies (annual revenues above 12 million BRL), e-commerce and cross-border businesses.

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