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Clontarf shares pop on progress in Bolivia

By Josh White

Date: Wednesday 15 May 2024

Clontarf shares pop on progress in Bolivia

(Sharecast News) - Clontarf Energy shares were surging on Wednesday, as it reported significant progress in in Bolivia's lithium sector.
The AIM-traded firm said that since its announcements on 6 and 18 March, the Bolivian State Lithium Company, YLB, had received its technical submissions for phase two of the call for bids for seven priority 'salares' in the south of the country.

On 14 May, YLB confirmed Clontarf as one of the 21 approved companies moving into phase three of the 'convocatoria' process, which consists of five phases.

Phase two focussed extensively on evaluating state-of-the-art lithium extraction technologies, particularly emerging direct lithium extraction methods.

Clontarf said phase three would involve assessing Clontarf's financial capacity in partnership with the NEXT-ChemX joint venture, including a review of the venture's financial records from the past five years and a risk-rating evaluation.

The company said it had collaborated closely with NEXT-ChemX since 2022.

Responding to the European Commission's recommendation, Clontarf said it had expanded its 'Team Europe' partnership to include financing and offtake partners representing key OEM manufacturers in the German Mittelstand.

The board said the endorsement from leading lithium offtakers underscored the significance of its endeavours.

High-level negotiations over infrastructure financing and the issue of a letter of comfort for qualified European entities demonstrated the EC's commitment, the firm said, potentially aiding in overcoming financial challenges.

Moreover, the project could be deemed a strategic endeavour under the EU's Critical Resource Minerals Act.

"Bolivia offers potential for large volumes of high-purity, cleanly produced battery-grade lithium for the European market," said chairman David Horgan.

"We must go where the resources are: there are many sources of hard-rock lithium worldwide, but their mining and processing is often dirty and expensive.

"Only lithium brines offer the potential for clean, Green low-cost and high quality product."

Horgan said Europe needed offtake, explaining that "Chinese dominance" of rare earths and graphite mining, together with "Chinese control" of lithium and cobalt processing, put western supplies "in jeopardy".

"We can no longer rely on free markets to ensure supply - European vulnerability is further exacerbated by protectionist moves in NAFTA and Japan.

"The EU has little choice but to secure its lifelines.

"No one company or country has the weight to grapple with China and NAFTA - it must be a 'Team Europe' effort."

Accordingly, David Horgan said Clontarf sought EU institutional cover and, where possible, minority investments by member state entities to guard against expropriation.

"Finance is best linked to offtake; we are now cooperating on downstream and financing activities with Germany's leading Mittelstand representative body.

"All markets are important, but Germany's OEM market is critical.

"We have worked for many years on Bolivian brines, but the convergence of fast demand growth, rising standards and geopolitical imperatives now accelerates progress."

At 1248 BST, shares in Clontarf Energy were up 37.31% at 0.05p.

Reporting by Josh White for Sharecast.com.


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