SANTIAGO, Chile, Aug. 30, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Li3 Energy, Inc., (OTCBB: LIEG –News) ("Li3", "Li3 Energy" or the "Company"), a US-listed and South American based global exploration company in the lithium and minerals sector, is pleased to announce it has established a $18MM exploration and development plan for its Maricunga project. The $8 Million Phase One tranche of funding by POSCO Canada Ltd., a wholly owned subsidiary of POSCO (NYSE: PKX) should enable Li3 to achieve "Measured and Indicated NI 43-101 Resource Evaluation" status on the Project. Li3 plans to develop the project, which is ranked by signumBOX as one of the "Top Eleven Lithium Projects in the World" and to exploit a lithium and potassium co-product that includes the following key tasks and elements:
- Permits for Drilling Program and Test Facility - Li3 has obtained all necessary permits for the seismic and drilling programs and for construction of the test facility.
- Seismic Survey and Modeling - Li3 has selected Geophysical Exploration & Consulting S.A. to perform a high resolution p-wave seismic refraction tomography survey. Estimated completion date: 4th Quarter 2011.
- Core Sample Drilling - Li3 is in the final selection process of selecting a contractor to perform sonic core sample drilling program. Estimated completion date: 4th Quarter 2011.
- Well Drilling - Li3 has selected Rock Drilling S.A. a Chilean company specialized in exploring and constructing water wells in all type of terrains, RC drilling, and on the rehabilitation of deep wells for water uptake. Estimated completion date: 4th Quarter 2011.
- Pump Test Program – Li3 plans to conduct pump tests to evaluate the hydraulic parameters of the salar and supply large quantities of production well brine for testing, to stress the salar aquifer and to measure hydraulic response. Estimated completion date: 4th Quarter 2011.
- Laboratory Process Simulation - Li3 has selected the Science and Technology Research Center for Mining ("CICITEM") at the University of Antofagasta in Antofagasta, Chile, for the purpose of simulating two potential process routes and generating laboratory scale quantities of the lithium carbonate product. Estimated completion date: 1st Quarter 2012.
- Salar Test Facility - Li3 has selected Mr. Peter Ehren, MSc, AusIMM of Ehren-Gonzalez Limitada, a TSX qualified person, to prepare a development program for the Maricunga project. Li3 plans to construct a test facility near the salar to collect data. Estimated completion date: 1st Quarter 2012.
- Laboratory Testing of R3 Fusion Technology - Li3 has begun exclusively evaluating a patented technology from R3 Fusion, Inc. This technology is designed to separate and recover pure water from highly concentrated brine solutions using process intensification techniques. Estimated completion date of first evaluation: 1st Quarter 2012.
- Environmental Impact Study (EIS) - Li3 plans to hire a qualified environmental services firm to assist in the development and preparation of all documents required for the permitting of a commercial production facility utilizing brine from the project. Estimated receipt of permits: 4th Quarter 2012.
- Measured and Indicated NI 43-101 Resource Evaluation - Li3 has retained Mr. Don Hains, P. Geo. of Hains Technology Associates, a TSX qualified person, who developed the NI 43-101 Technical Report on Salar de Maricunga Lithium Project. Mr. Hains will supervise the work program with the objective to upgrade the Maricunga project resource from a Property of Merit to a Measured/Indicated Resource project. Estimated completion date: 1st Quarter 2012.
- Property Acquisition and Improvement - Li3 Energy is continuously evaluating more properties to acquire adjacent to the Project, as the Company seeks to expand its land package in the area. Li3 will also need to acquire additional properties for its processing site and also plans to improve the Project site infrastructure, camp, and property.
Thomas Currin, Li3's COO, stated: "Li3 looks forward to further advancing our Maricunga Project. We have announced several initiatives including our strategic partnership with POSCO and the development and demonstration program with R3 Fusion. Both of these interactions, if successful, could establish Li3 as a significant force in the lithium mining sector. Together with our partners and contractors, utilizing their respective technical expertise, skills sets and proprietary intellectual property, our objective is to advance Maricunga to an advanced stage of commercialization in an accelerated manner. The timelines we have detailed should provide our stakeholders a basis to measure our progress. We look forward to keeping you abreast of this progress as we move to achieve the above stated objectives."
About Li3 Energy, Inc.
Li3 Energy, Inc. is an exploration and developmental stage public company in the lithium mining and energy sector. Li3 aims to acquire, develop and commercialize a significant portfolio of lithium brine deposits in the Americas. With its controlling interest in its Maricunga project, Li3's goals are to; a) support the global implementation of clean and green energy initiatives; b) meet growing lithium market demand and; c) become a mid-tier, low cost supplier of lithium, potassium nitrate, iodine and other strategic minerals, serving global clients in the energy, fertilizer and specialty chemical industries. Additional information regarding the company can be found in our recent filings 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. Forward-looking statements involve risks, uncertainties and assumptions, and are based on information currently available to us. Actual results may differ materially from those expressed in forward-looking statements due to many factors, including, without limitation: the results of initial exploration, and the satisfaction of the conditions precedent to POSCO's additional investment; determination by the Company and POSCO of whether to pursue any contemplated test facility or other transactions; the Company's ability to raise additional capital to complete exploration, development and commercialization of the Maricunga Project and other opportunities; future findings and economic assessment reports; the Company's ability to obtain necessary Chilean governmental consents; the Company's ability to identify appropriate corporate acquisition and/or joint venture opportunities in the lithium mining sector and to establish appropriate technical and managerial infrastructure; political stability in Chile and other countries in which we operate; and lithium prices. For further information about certain risks faced by the Company, see the "Risk Factors" in the Registration Statement on Form S-1, filed with the SEC on July 1st, 2011 and in subsequent filings with the SEC. The Company undertakes no obligation to update any forward-looking statement contained in this news release to reflect events or circumstances that may arise after the date of this release. Contact: Li3 Energy, Inc. Luis Saenz, CEO Marchant Pereira 150 Oficina 803 Providencia, Santiago - Chile 011-511-212-1880 email@example.com The InVentures Group Inc. Marc S. Lubow,Managing Partner(904) 645 - 9549 firstname.lastname@example.org SOURCE Li3 Energy Inc.