Lithium Energy’s new General Manager will lead Solaroz development activities in Argentina
Lithium Energy has strengthened its Argentinian management team with the appointment of highly experienced operations executive Raúl Di Lena as General Manager of Solaroz S.A.
Solaroz S.A. is the company’s 90%-owned subsidiary that operates its flagship Solaroz lithium brine project in Argentina, where the company has recently established a maiden JORC Resource of 3.3 Million tonnes of lithium carbonate equivalent (LCE).
Di Lena is a chemical engineer with 25 years’ of experience including senior positions with ICI Argentina and Akzo Nobel.
Most recently – and pertinently for Lithium Energy (ASX:LEL) – he served as the operations manager for the Minera Exar joint venture of Lithium Americas Corp and Ganfeng Lithium between 2019 to 2023.
Minera Exar developed and recently commissioned the 40,000tpa Cauchari-Olaroz lithium carbonate project on the Salar De Cauchari, which is directly adjacent and to the south of the Salar de Olaroz (where the company’s Solaroz project is located).
As its operations manager, Di Lena played a significant role in the successful development and commissioning of the 40,000 tpa lithium carbonate facility, including the optimisation of key parts of the lithium carbonate production process.
He also gained extensive experience in managing alliances with local government with responsibility for compliance with all local regulations and procedures as well as managing commercial partnerships with key stakeholders and preserving relationships with local communities.
These are all valuable experiences that Di Lena will bring to his new role as the Solaroz S.A. General Manager and its responsibilities in leading Lithium Energy’s local operations in developing the lithium-brine project.
“We are delighted to have attracted someone of Raúl’s calibre and experience to lead the company’s lithium development activities in Argentina,” executive chairman William Johnson said.
“Lithium Energy is focused on the development of our major lithium asset at Solaroz, where we recently confirmed a significant JORC Inferred Mineral Resource of 3.3 Million tonnes of LCE. Raúl’s operational experience with major industry players brings a key skill set to the company to progress Solaroz into development.
“Having just completed the commissioning of a 40,000 tpa lithium carbonate facility for Minera Exar S.A., which is located adjacent to Solaroz, Raúl has the ideal technical, managerial, and local experience to lead the company’s local operations in Argentina.”
Solaroz, located next door to Allkem’s (ASX:AKE) lithium facility in the Salar de Olaroz Basin, Argentina, is in the heart of South America’s ‘lithium triangle’.
Its current resource of 3.3Mt LCE includes a higher-grade core containing 1.34Mt of LCE with an average concentration of 405mg/l lithium.
However this resource covers just portions of the ‘Central Block’ of concessions (Chico I, V and VI, Payo 2 South and Silvia Irene) and the southern Mario Angel concession totalling 4,777ha – less than half the total ~12,000ha project area of Solaroz.
The company is currently evaluating development options using conventional evaporation ponds and/or Direct Lithium Extraction (DLE). As part of this process the Company is currently advancing plans for the construction of a 3,000tpa LCE production plant using DLE technology from with Xi’an Lanshen New Material Technology (Lanshen) – to be located at the Mario Angel concession within the project area – to test the suitability of DLE to process Solaroz brine.
Under the agreement with Lanshen, Lanshen will fund the cost of manufacturing and commissioning of the plant with Lithium Energy entitled to purchase if acceptance criteria is satisfied – a great ‘try before you buy’ deal for the company.
This article was developed in collaboration with Lithium Energy, a Stockhead advertiser at the time of publishing.
This article does not constitute financial product advice. You should consider obtaining independent advice before making any financial decisions.