According to the Bank´s website, The Sal de Vida Project (the “Project” or “SDV”) consists of the construction and operation of a greenfield Lithium mine in the Salar del Hombre Muerto (the “Salar”), a salt pan located in the Catamarca Province in the Argentinian Andes at 4,100 meters above sea level and approximately 90 km from Antofagasta de la Sierra. Allkem Limited, a new company formed by the merger of Galaxy Resources and Orocobre (the “Company) is the fifth-largest Lithium producer globally and has acquired 31 concessions with its associated mining rights spanning a total of 263 km² in the Salar, which has an extension of 590 km2 in an endorheic (closed) basin of near 4,000 km2.The Salar (Argentina’s second largest) is located in a dry Puna, an ecoregion characterized by grassy vegetation and shrubland steppe with less than 300 millimetres of precipitation per year, low temperatures, and high solar radiation. Vegetation is represented by sparse grasslands, low scrub and extensive barren lands. The project is located within the Salar del Hombre Muerto Key Biodiversity Area (KBA), which is also an Important Bird and Biodiversity Area (IBA). Wildlife characteristic of this ecoregion include large mammals and birds such as the vicuña, puma, Andean cat, Andean fox, and three species of flamingo. Endemic plant and animal species are also present. The closest settlement, of approximately 30 total inhabitants, is Cie´naga Redonda located 5 km from the Project site. Main access to the site is via Catamarca’s Provincial Route #43. In addition, there are sixteen dispersed rural dwellings or hamlets (puestos) in a radius of around 50 km. Between the dwellings and Ciénaga Redonda the approximate total population is 80. Other population centers (Antofalla, El Peñón) are located at distances greater than 150 km from the Project. The entire population of the Antofagasta de la Sierra Department in the Catamarca Province where the Project is located is 1,684.SDV will extract brine from a deep aquifer at depths between 200 and 300 meters though submersible pumps located in 8 wells. Most of Project activities are developed on the Salar itself, with limited impact to natural soils as part of Lithium mining activities. The process is mainly based on natural evaporation. The process area will be on the alluvial plain on the east side of the Rio Los Patos. The main components of the Project include a wellfield and brine distribution system, solar evaporation halite and muriate ponds, liming and primary Lithium Carbonate (LCE) production plant, salt discard stockpiles and ancillary infrastructure (camp, admin and support buildings). All process facilities will be located within Allkem tenements in the south-eastern sector of the Salar. The estimated production rate is 15 Ktonnes per annum (ktpa) of LCE for approximately 40 years, producing approximately 600,000 tonnes of product which will be trucked to the ports of Antofagasta in Chile or to the ports in Rosario or Buenos Aires in Argentina, to export to European and US markets as a key component for electric vehicles. SDV has successfully completed piloting and test-works that show that extracted brine readily upgrades to battery grade Lithium Carbonate. The Project has recently moved into early works and targets first production by the last quarter of 2023. Allkem has issued an engineering, procurement, and construction management (EPCM) contract with Worley Parsons for the evaporation ponds and Project infrastructure and is in the process of securing a specialized EPC Contractor for the Lithium Carbonate plant. IFC’s proposed investment will comprise of a direct loan of US$100 million and B loans of up to US$100 million. The proceeds will be used towards developing the 15 ktpa LCE Project.
The Project cost includes a project capex of $271 million, financing related contingencies, owner’s cost, working capital (VAT) and other financing expenses, and will be financed by a combination of debt and equity.
IFC's proposed investment consists of a financing package of up to $200 million that includes an IFC A loan of up to $100 million and mobilization from commercial banks of up to $100 million. The tenor of the IFC A loan will be up to 9 years. Allkem is working with IFC to potentially include sustainability linked features in the financing structure.
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|Galaxy Lithium Sal de Vida S.A
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