LIMA, Peru, June 9, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Li3 Energy, Inc., (OTC.BB: LIEG) ("Li3", "Li3 Energy" or the "Company"), a US-listed and Peruvian-based global exploration company in the lithium and minerals sector, is pleased to announce the independent findings of SignumBOX. As Li3 previously announced, it had engaged SignumBOX in order to complete a project evaluation report for the Maricunga lithium project in Chile. The purpose of the report is to have an independent analysis on the Maricunga project. SignumBOX has previously issued several reports regarding the use of lithium in batteries and vehicles and its prospects and trends. SignumBOX is a Chilean based company with extensive experience in the lithium industry and has developed the SignumBOX index ranking of more than 85 lithium projects using an objective, quantitative method. The main observations and conclusions of the summary report are:
- As of May 31st, 2011, according to the SignumBOX Performance Index (SPI) ranking, the Maricunga Project in its current state is ranked amongst the top 11 lithium projects in the world out of 50 other salars;
- The Maricunga Project has a SignumBOX General Index of 3.23 slightly higher than the average, and moreover, its SignumBOX Geophysical Index of 3.60 is 50% higher than the average. The Company has the potential to improve its performance in both indexes (1.0 lowest, 5.0 the highest) and become the #1 lithium project in salar-bearing brine deposits as they progress in the project;
- Since the Li3 Maricunga Lithium project is in an early stage, and is based on the second best lithium deposit in Chile, it has further space to improve in both indexes;
- SignumBOX has estimated the general and geophysical indexes considering two potential situations; a mid-term situation and a long-term situation. The midterm situation to the SignumBOX General Index could be improved upon Li3 confirming lithium and potassium concentrations at Maricunga. The long-term improvements to the SignumBOX General Index could improve upon Li3 completing the Prefeasibility Study; obtaining the government permits and environmental approval; and start construction of the pilot plant;
- The advantage Maricunga has over other Chilean salars is its close proximity to the mining city of Copiapo, the Caldera Port and that sodium chloride and other potassium salts could be obtained as by-products. Its disadvantage is the higher elevation which generally will cause longer evaporation times;
- The grouping of Chilean salars that includes Maricunga has the highest lithium concentrations, extensions and lithium to potassium ratios. This grouping excludes Atacama which by far has the largest lithium deposit in Chile;
- Nevertheless, Argentinean brine deposits have lower lithium and potassium concentrations. Regarding the other projects in Chile, the most important advantage that they have over Maricunga are the agreements that have been signed with international companies. However, all but one has lower lithium and potassium concentrations. After Atacama, Li3's Maricunga has the second highest quality deposit of lithium in Chile;
Li3 cautions that this information was current as of May 31st, 2011 and is subject to change as the lithium landscape is constantly evolving. Like all index rankings, as other companies' progress is reported, Li3's rankings could change. As Li3 executes and accomplishes it's near and midterm objectives, we will submit the data to SignumBOX for verification and re-balancing of the index ranking. Li3 would encourage all stakeholders to review the SignumBOX Executive Summary Report which will be posted in its entirety within seven days at www.li3energy.com.
With the acquisition and initial exploration funding complete and the MOU with POSCO (NYSE: PKX) to explore a strategic relationship now signed, Li3 has entered the feasibility phase on Maricunga and has begun the initial $3.8 million development work program on the project. Li3 continues to explore technologies and synergistic opportunities to further augment and strengthen this property and its land portfolio throughout the region.
Tom Currin, Li3's COO, stated: "These are very exciting times for Li3, as we are making excellent progress in our initial development site work at Maricunga. We are thrilled with the latest SignumBOX Index results and Li3 is extremely confident in completing the items listed to improve our performance index ranking and possibly achieving the #1 ranking."About Li3 Energy, Inc. Li3 Energy, Inc. is a developmental stage public company in the lithium mining and energy sector focused on the identification and acquisition of properties in Peru, Argentina and Chile. Li3 Energy aims to acquire a significant portfolio of lithium brine deposits in the Americas for the purpose of development and production in order to meet growing market demand and to support the clean energy and green energy initiatives being implemented globally. Additional information regarding the company can be found in our recent current filings (Forms 8k, 10Q and 10K) with the SEC as well as the information maintained on our website www.li3energy.com. Forward-Looking Statements All statements other than statements of historical facts included in this news release including, without limitation, statements preceded by, followed by or that otherwise include the words "believes," "expects," "anticipates," "intends," "estimates," "projects," "potential," "target," "goal," "plans," "objective," "should" or similar expressions or variations on such expressions are forward-looking statements. The Company can give no assurances that the assumptions upon which the forward-looking statements are based will prove to be correct. Because forward-looking statements are subject to risks and uncertainties, actual results may differ materially from those expressed or implied by the forward-looking statements. There are a number of risks, uncertainties and other important factors that could cause the Company's actual results to differ materially from the forward-looking statements, including, but not limited to: the results of initial exploration, and the determination by Li3 and POSCO whether to pursue any of the transactions contemplated by the MOU; the Company's ability to raise additional capital to complete exploration, development and commercialization of the Maricunga Project; the future findings and economic assessment reports; the Company's ability to obtain the necessary Chilean Government operating permit and environmental approval; the Company's ability to identify appropriate corporate acquisition and/or joint venture opportunities in the lithium mining sector and to establish the technical and managerial infrastructure, and to raise the required capital, to take advantage of, and successfully participate in such opportunities; future economic conditions; political stability; and lithium prices. For further information about certain risks faced by the Company, see "Risk Factors" in Part I, Item 1A of Amendment No. 1 to our Annual Report on Form 10-K, filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission on November 5, 2010. The Company disclaims any obligations or undertaking to publicly release any updates or revisions to any forward-looking statement contained in this news release to reflect any change in its expectations with regard thereto or any change in events, conditions or circumstances on which any such statement is based.