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RNS Number : 4637Q
Bacanora Lithium PLC
21 October 2019
 

Bacanora Lithium Plc / Index: AIM / Epic: BCN / Sector: Natural Resources

 

Bacanora Lithium Plc ("Bacanora" or the "Company")

Audited Annual Report and Financial Statements for the year ended 30 June 2019 

 

Bacanora Lithium Plc (AIM: BCN), the London traded lithium exploration and development company, is pleased to provide its audited annual financial results for the 12 months ended 30 June 2019. Where applicable, the Company's 2019 Annual Report will be posted to shareholders shortly and will be available electronically on the Company's website.

 

Highlights - for the year ending 30 June 2019 and subsequent events:

 

Corporate - significant progress made in securing funding package for flagship Sonora Lithium Project in Mexico

·      In June 2019, Bacanora signed an Investment Agreement and Offtake Agreement with Ganfeng Lithium Co., Ltd. ("Ganfeng"), the world's largest lithium metals producer in terms of production capacity and the world's third largest lithium compounds producer. The required government approvals were obtained post year end, which resulted in:

Ganfeng acquiring 29.99% of Bacanora and 22.5% of Sonora Lithium Ltd, the holding company for the Sonora Lithium Project, for £14,400,091 and £7,563,649 respectively;

Mr. Wang Xiaoshen, the Deputy Chairman of Ganfeng Lithium being appointed to the Board of Bacanora;

A long-term offtake agreement being signed with Ganfeng for 50% of Stage 1 production at the Sonora Lithium Project and up to 75% of Stage 2 production, both at a market-based price per tonne; and

Ganfeng initiating a review of the engineering design and capital costs of Stage 1 with a view to optimising capital costs and timetable to construction.

·      US$150 million conditional senior debt facility secured with RK Mine Finance, a leading provider of finance for resources companies, in July 2018, to finance the development of the Sonora Lithium Project. The first tranche of US$25 million was drawn down in July 2018.

·      Bacanora's offtake partner, Hanwa Co., Ltd. ("Hanwa") made an equity commitment of US$25 million as part of the Sonora Project financing package in July 2018.

Sonora Lithium Project, Mexico ("Sonora") -preparation for project construction begun to ensure prompt commencement after financing package completed.

·      Work to complete the front-end engineering design ("FEED") has continued throughout the year. The pilot plant continues to operate to produce samples when required for potential clients and investors and act as a platform to optimise the FEED.

·      Unrestricted access to develop and operate the Sonora mine was secured following acquisition of the La Ventana and La Joya parcels of land in Sonora for US$2.9 million with the final consideration settled in August 2018.

·      The initial consideration of US$0.2 million was paid in July 2018 for the Las Perdices land for the plant location.

·      The Manifestación de Impacto Ambiental ("MIA", environmental impact assessment permissions) for permanent road construction was approved in October 2018.

·      The plant site's change of use (Estudio Técnico Justificativo de Cambio de Uso de Suelo en Terrenos Forestales "ETJ"), has been approved by the Sonora State forestry council and payment to CONAFOR's Mexican Forestry Fund issued by SEMARNAT was completed by the Company in December 2018.

Zinnwald Lithium Project, Germany ("Zinnwald") - completed feasibility confirms commerciality of high value lithium project in Europe's industrial and automotive heartlands

·      NI 43-101 compliant Feasibility Study issued in June 2019 confirms the positive economics for the production of 5,112 tonnes per annum ("tpa") (~7,285 tpa Lithium Carbonate Equivalent ("LCE")) of battery-grade lithium fluoride ("LiF") at Zinnwald:

Pre-tax project Net Present Value ("NPV") of €428 million (8% discount rate), Internal Rate of Return ("IRR") of 27.4% and 46% EBITDA margin

Favourable Life of Mine ("LOM") operating costs

Capital costs estimated at €159 million

Long 30 year life of project - Mineral reserves (proven and probable) of 94,000 tonnes of contained lithium and a measured and indicated resource of 124,974 tonnes of contained lithium

·      Bacanora and SolarWorld AG ("Solarworld") agreed to extend the option to purchase the remaining 50% of Deutsche Lithium GmbH not held by Bacanora to February 2020.

·      In March 2019, Deutsche Lithium was granted an additional exploration licence (the "Altenberg licence") covering approximately 42km² in the Erzgebirge (Ore Mountain) region of Saxony, Germany. The Altenberg licence, which completely encloses Deutsche Lithium's existing Zinnwald Lithium Project, has the potential to significantly increase the life of mine at Zinnwald.

Peter Secker, CEO, of Bacanora Lithium, commented: "The securing of the strategic investment from top tier lithium company Ganfeng Lithium, the advancement of the Sonora Project in Mexico to construction-ready status and the completion of a feasibility study for a high-value lithium operation at our Zinnwald Project in Germany, all are stand-out milestones achieved during the year under review.  All provide Bacanora with a strong platform from which we can build on in the year ahead and, in the process, deliver on our objective of becoming a leading supplier of high-value lithium products to fast-growing industries, such as electric vehicles and energy storage.

With partners of the calibre of Ganfeng and leading battery metals trading house Hanwa in place providing valuable validation, we are confident we will soon be in a position to finalise the financing package for the Sonora Project and move on to the 24-month construction phase.  With the feasibility study completed for Zinnwald and the option to acquire the outstanding 50% interest in the project extended, we are advancing discussions with potential partners at the project level to take this project forward.  Today, we have two high-value lithium projects with a combined NPV of over US$1.7 billion at the funding stage and we are focused on advancing these to the construction stage at the earliest opportunity.  With this in mind, I look forward to providing further updates on our progress during what promises to be an exciting year."

 



 

For further information, please contact:

Bacanora Lithium Plc

Peter Secker / Janet Blas

[email protected]

Cairn Financial Advisers LLP, Nomad

 

Sandy Jamieson / Liam Murray

 

+44 (0) 20 7213 0880

Citigroup Global Markets, Broker

Tom Reid / Patrick Evans / Matthew Kenney

+44 (0) 20 7986 4000

Canaccord Genuity, Broker

 

James Asensio

 

+44 (0) 20 7523 8000

St Brides Partners, Financial PR Adviser

Frank Buhagiar / Megan Dennison

+44 (0) 20 7236 1177

 

This announcement contains inside information for the purposes of Article 7 of EU Regulation 596/2014.

ABOUT BACANORA LITHIUM:

Bacanora owns ten mining concession areas covering approximately 100 thousand hectares in the northeast of Sonora State in Mexico. Seven of these ten mining concessions (the 'Sonora Lithium Project'1) were included in the Feasibility Study announced 12 December 2017.  The Company, through drilling and exploration work to date, has established a Measured plus Indicated Mineral Resource estimate of over 5 Mt (comprising 1.9Mt of Measured Resources and 3.1Mt of Indicated Resources) of LCE2 and an additional Inferred Mineral Resource of 3.7 Mt of LCE.  The Company's Feasibility Study has established Proven Mineral Reserves (in accordance with NI 43-101) of 1.67 Mt and Probable Mineral Reserves of 2.85 Mt LCE and confirmed the economics associated with becoming a 35,000 tpa lithium carbonate and 30,000 tpa SOP producer in Mexico.  In addition to the Sonora Lithium Project, the Company also has a 50% interest in the Zinnwald Lithium Project and the Falkenhain Licence in southern Saxony, Germany.  Each of the Zinnwald Lithium Project and the Falkenhain Licence are located in a granite hosted Sn/W/Li belt that has been mined historically for tin, tungsten and lithium at different times over the past 300 years. The strategic location of the Zinnwald Lithium Project and the Falkenhain Licence provides close geographical proximity to the German automotive and downstream lithium chemical industries.

 

1.   Sonora Lithium ltd ("SLL") is the operational holding company for the Sonora Lithium Project and owns 100% of the La Ventana concession. The La Ventana concession accounts for 88% of the mined ore feed in the Sonora Feasibility Study which covers the initial 19 years of the project mine life.  SLL is owned 77.5% by Bacanora and 22.5% by Ganfeng Lithium Ltd. SLL also owns 70% of the El Sauz and Fleur concessions, which are held by Mexilit S.A. de C.V. ('Mexilit').  

2.   LCE = lithium carbonate (Li2CO3) equivalent; determined by multiplying Li value in percent by 5.324 to get an equivalent Li2CO3 value in per cent. Use of LCE is to provide data comparable with industry reports and assumes complete conversion of lithium in clays with no recovery or process losses.

 

Cautionary Statement Regarding Forward-Looking Information

Except for statements of historical fact, this news release contains certain "forward-looking information" within the meaning of applicable securities law. Forward-looking information is frequently characterized by words such as "plan", "expect", "project", "intend", "believe", "anticipate", "estimate" and other similar words, or statements that certain events or conditions "may" or "will" occur.  In particular, forward-looking information in this press release includes, but is not limited to: the updated estimation of resources, followed by mine design and mine planning activities and the completion of a feasibility study for the Zinnwald Lithium Project in Q2 2019.  Although we believe that the expectations reflected in the forward-looking information are reasonable, there can be no assurance that such expectations will prove to be correct. We cannot guarantee future results, performance or achievements. Consequently, there is no representation that the actual results achieved will be the same, in whole or in part, as those set out in the forward-looking information.

 

Forward-looking information is based on the opinions and estimates of management at the date the statements are made, and are subject to a variety of risks and uncertainties and other factors that could cause actual events or results to differ materially from those anticipated in the forward-looking information. Some of the risks and other factors that could cause the results to differ materially from those expressed in the forward-looking information include, but are not limited to: commodity price volatility; general economic conditions in Canada, the United States, Mexico and globally; industry conditions, governmental regulation, including environmental regulation; unanticipated operating events or performance; failure to obtain industry partner and other third party consents and approvals, if and when required; the availability of capital on acceptable terms; the need to obtain required approvals from regulatory authorities; stock market volatility; competition for, among other things, capital, skilled personnel and supplies; changes in tax laws; and the other risk factors disclosed under our profile on SEDAR at www.sedar.com. Readers are cautioned that this list of risk factors should not be construed as exhaustive. 

 

The forward-looking information contained in this news release is expressly qualified by this cautionary statement. We undertake no duty to update any of the forward-looking information to conform such information to actual results or to changes in our expectations except as otherwise required by applicable securities legislation. Readers are cautioned not to place undue reliance on forward-looking information.



 

Chairman's Statement

 

12 months ago, the results of the feasibility study for our Sonora Lithium Project ("Sonora") in Mexico provided the backbone of the 2018 Bacanora Chairman's Statement. The Sonora feasibility study indicated highly favourable economic indicators, including US$1.25 billion NPV, 26% IRR and operating costs among the lowest in the industry at around US$4,000/t of lithium carbonate. Backed up by such robust numbers, 2019 saw us press on with efforts to assemble a finance package for the US$420 million cost of an initial 17,500 tpa lithium carbonate operation at Sonora.

12 months on, we have in place a conditional US$150 million senior debt facility with leading resource finance provider RK Mine Finance and a strategic investment from Ganfeng, the world's largest lithium metals producer in terms of capacity and the third largest lithium compounds producer. With Ganfeng as a partner at both corporate and project levels, Bacanora not only gains access to development capital, but also to the technical expertise and experience of an industry heavyweight. As a result, we are confident we now have a clear line of sight towards the commencement of the construction phase at Sonora, once the remainder of the development capital can be secured.

Progress during the year under review was not confined to Sonora. We also completed a second feasibility study, this time for the high value Zinnwald Lithium Project ("Zinnwald") located in the industrial heartland of Germany. The Zinnwald feasibility study ("ZFS") estimated a €428 million NPV, a 27.4% IRR, favourable LOM operating costs, and a 46% EBITDA margin for an operation producing 5,112 tpa (~7,285 tpa LCE) of battery-grade lithium fluoride, a high value, downstream product used in lithium battery electrolytes for the European electric vehicle ("EV") industry.

We are now focused on securing strategic partners to help fund the €159 million capital cost to develop Zinnwald, which the Zinnwald feasibility study forecasts will generate average annual EBITDA of €58.5 million over LOM. As part of this process, we are actively considering a public listing for Deutsche Lithium GmbH ("DL"), our 50%-owned subsidiary that holds Zinnwald. Bacanora acquired its 50% interest in DL from SolarWorld in February 2017, along with an option to acquire the outstanding 50%. SolarWorld has since entered into administration and during the year an agreement was reached with the administrators of SolarWorld to extend the option period to February 2020. The year ahead will see us look to finalise the finance structure for Sonora and spin out Zinnwald. These two projects combined have an independently estimated NPV of more than US$1.7 billion and individually are ideally positioned to supply high value, battery-grade lithium products to the fast growing Asian and European EV markets. It seems a day does not go by without a report or study on the rapid rise of EVs appearing in the mainstream media. In July 2019, the BBC1 covered a report by the European Federation for Transport and Environment, which forecast a tripling in the number of electric car models available to European consumers by 2021 to 214 models from 60 in 2018. In May 2019, the International Energy Agency's Global EV Outlook 20192 put forward a scenario where EV sales could reach 43 million vehicles as early as 2030, an eight-fold increase on the 5.1 million vehicles in circulation globally in 2018.

While the numbers vary per report, the direction of travel for the global EV market is clear: forwards. Using a 63kg of Lithium Carbonate Equivalent contained in a Tesla Model S 70kWh battery as a benchmark, the direction of travel for lithium demand is also clear: forwards. Leading commentator of metal and mineral markets Roskill agrees. According to its Lithium Outlook to 2028, 16th Edition3: "Demand for lithium is expected to increase five-fold over the coming decade, driven principally by demand for lithium-ion batteries and their use in electric vehicles, energy storage systems and portable electronics. Lithium demand is forecast to increase by over 20% per annum, with demand from battery applications increasing by over 25% per annum through to 2028." Where there is demand, supply tends to follow. Roskill continues, "With this backdrop the lithium industry will require significant investment in additional supply from new mines, process plants and from the nascent recycling industry." We are already seeing this. Our own high value projects in Mexico and Germany are just two of a number of new sources of lithium that are at various stages of the development curve including exploration, feasibility and financing.

 

Not all lithium projects are equal. It is worth noting that a large number of projects, were they to make it to development, will produce low value, non-battery-grade lithium concentrates, which will require processing before they are of a high enough quality to be used in EV batteries. This is not the case with Sonora and Zinnwald, where battery-grade, high value lithium products will be produced on site at favourable cost via conventional, proven processing routes within five to seven days. The combination of favourable costs and short production timescales sets Bacanora apart from other lithium deposits. South American brines benefit from similar low costs to Sonora's soft rock deposit; however production depends on a two to three-year evaporation process. Hard rock producers on the other hand match Sonora's five to seven-day timeframe but not the Mexican project's industry leading low-cost profile.

Not all lithium projects will get developed. Over the last 12-18 months, short term concerns regarding oversupply have seen lithium prices rebase to lower levels, tipping several deposits under consideration for development into uneconomic territory. Expansion plans from some of the existing lithium operators have been put on hold. Lithium carbonate spot pricing is trading at US$11,000-12,500 per tonne compared to circa US$20,000 in June 2018. Encouragingly, contract prices remain above the US$11,000/tonne used to calculate Sonora's US$1.25 billion NPV in the feasibility study and are considerably higher than the project's estimated US$4,000 LOM operating costs. Other projects, both in production and under development, do not benefit from having such a favourable cost profile. These financial hurdles, along with other more technical issues, inform the view held by commentators such as Roskill, that the market should be more concerned about a looming supply deficit rather than a supply-glut: "…developmental challenges, along with the changing cost profile of the industry, highlight the technical and financial hurdles involved with bringing such sizable volumes of new capacity online. We maintain the view that concerns about future refined lithium oversupply are poorly founded and expect the lithium market to enter a period of sustained supply deficit in the early 2020s."4

We share Roskill's view and, having signed offtake agreements covering 100% of Sonora's stage 1 production, so too, it would seem, do our strategic partners, Hanwa, the leading battery metals trading house, and Ganfeng, China's top lithium producer. If the ambitious forecasts for EV uptake around the world are to be met, new sources of high-grade lithium will be needed. In Sonora and Zinnwald, Bacanora has two such high quality projects that provide excellent access to key end markets and are both located in supportive, business-friendly jurisdictions. Together with two world class partners and highly experienced management and operational teams on the ground, Bacanora is well placed to play its part in the ongoing global electric revolution for many years to come.

I look forward to providing further updates on our progress during the year ahead. I would like to welcome Mr Wang Xiaoshen as Ganfeng's representative to the board of directors of Bacanora and to take this opportunity to thank our shareholders for their continued support for the Company over the last twelve months. I would like to thank Derek Batorowski and Raymond Hodgkinson for their years of service to the Company since its inception. I would also like to express my thanks to our CEO Peter Secker and his team for their enormous efforts and progress over the past 12 months.

 

 

Mark Hohnen

Chairman

19 October 2019

 

 

 

 

 

 



 

 

Operational Review

a   Corporate review

On 19 July 2018, the Company elected not to proceed with its proposed placing to raise gross proceeds of US$100 million due to volatility in global commodities markets. In 2018 there was significant negative market sentiment due to falling spot prices and concerns around supply and demand fundamentals (see Market Review). The placement was postponed in order to await improved market sentiment. On 27 November 2018, Bacanora appointed Citigroup Global Markets Limited ("Citi") to lead the equity financing of the Sonora Lithium Project alongside Canaccord Genuity ("Canaccord"), both of whom also act as joint corporate brokers in order to fulfil the remaining funding requirements for phase 1 of the project.

In June 2019, the Company signed an investment agreement with Ganfeng to acquire 29.99% of Bacanora Lithium plc and 22.5% of Sonora Lithium Ltd ("SLL") with an option to increase its shareholding in SLL within two years. As part of the investment agreement, Ganfeng would appoint a director to the Company's Board and also to SLL. In conjunction, the Company also entered into an offtake agreement for Ganfeng to purchase up to 50% of Stage 1 production at the Sonora Lithium Project and up to 75% of Stage 2 production. In October 2019, the Company completed the transaction on the terms previously agreed.

Prior to the investments by Ganfeng, the Group performed a reorganisation in which Sonora Lithium Limited purchased Bacanora Lithium Plc's 100% shareholding in Bacanora Minerals Limited in order to create a single project holding company.

On 28 May 2019, Bacanora Minerals Ltd transferred its shareholding in Deutsche Lithium Gmbh to Bacanora Lithium Plc. On 14 August 2019, Bacanora Lithium plc transferred its shareholding in Bacanora Minerals Ltd to Sonora Lithium Ltd.

The resulting corporate structure can be found in the full Annual report on the Company website.

 

b    Sonora Lithium Project, Mexico

In January 2018, a feasibility study was published on the Sonora Lithium Project. It revealed positive economics and favourable operating costs of a 35,000tpa battery-grade lithium carbonate operation. The results indicated a US$1.253 billion pre-tax project Net Present Value at an 8% discount rate and US$11,000/t lithium carbonate price 26.1% IRR, US$4,000/t lithium carbonate LOM operating costs, placing Sonora among the low-cost brine producers of South America. There are no updates on the feasibility study since January 2018.

Sonora Lithium Project Development

Work to finalise the FEED and cost to complete quotation is ongoing with potential EPC contractors. Initial proposals for the construction of cogeneration energy facilities have been received from several suppliers. The proposals are currently being assessed.

In July 2018, land at Las Perdices was purchased with initial consideration of US$0.2 million, the land will be used to the optimise the plant location. The transaction will conclude once liens on the land are cleared by the vendor and the remaining US$0.4 million consideration is paid. In August 2018, the Company made the final consideration payments for two parcels of land, La Ventana and La Joya for a combined total of US$1.3 million. The land provides the Company with unrestricted access to develop the Sonora Lithium Project and operate it for the initial life of mine.

In Mexico, the environmental impact assessment procedure begins with the presentation of an environmental impact statement by the developer, known as the MIA. Mexican authority Secretaría de Medio Ambiente y Recursos Naturales (SEMARNAT) approved the Project's MIA in October 2017 and its amendment in May 2018 for new site location. Further to these approvals, an exemption to the MIA for the purpose of road maintenance was approved in July 2018, which enables interim access to the project site during construction. In addition, a MIA for permanent road construction was approved in October 2018.

For land zonation purposes, land use change in non-urban areas is made through an ETJ. The plant site's ETJ has been approved by the Sonora State forestry council and payment requirement to CONAFOR's Mexican Forestry Fund has been issued by SEMARNAT and was paid by the Company in December 2018. This will allow the project to begin construction as soon as funding is available.

With all relevant construction, land access, water licenses and environmental MIA permits in place, the Company is now focussing on secondary permitting such as the process water borefield and co-gen power supply.

Throughout the financial year, the lithium carbonate pilot plant in Sonora Mexico was operated on a "as needs" basis. The pilot plant produced battery-grade lithium carbonate samples which were distributed to potential customers in Asia as well as our FEED partners and consultants for detailed design and test work. The pilot plant enables us to optimise the metallurgical flow sheet and facilitate test work. In addition, the pilot plant forms part of our strategy to train operators in preparation for commissioning of the large-scale plant at the mine site. Significant effort is being placed on training local personnel in all operational aspects of lithium process plant operations.

With regards to energy, it is currently envisaged that LNG gas supplies will be initially utilised at Sonora during the early stages of commissioning whilst gas consumption is low. Once energy consumption reaches steady state, pipeline supply to the Sonora Lithium Project will be initiated. The Company is in detailed discussions with a number of potential Build, Own and Operate (BOO) energy partners for the gas pipeline development to the Project along with the finalisation of the proposed natural gas pipeline routes. Detailed quotes for the supply of LNG are also currently being evaluated.

c    Zinnwald Lithium Project, Germany5

Bacanora acquired an initial 50% interest in Deutsche Lithium (the 100% owner of Zinnwald) in February 2017 and has an option to acquire the outstanding 50% (the "Option") that it does not own from our joint venture partner, SolarWorld, for €30 million. In May 2019, the Company reached an agreement with the administrators of SolarWorld to extend the option period from August 2019 to February 2020. Under the agreement, Bacanora has also agreed to invest a further €0.5m in Deutsche Lithium through to the end of the Option period. In the event that Bacanora does not exercise this right within the above stated timeframe, SolarWorld has the right but not the obligation to purchase Bacanora's 50% interest for €1.

In March 2019, Deutsche Lithium was granted the Altenberg Licence covering approximately 42km² in the Erzgebirge (Ore Mountain) region of Saxony, Germany. The 5-year Altenberg Licence was issued by Sächsisches Oberbergamt, the Saxony State Mining Authority. It completely encloses Deutsche Lithium's existing Zinnwald Lithium Project and has the potential to significantly increase the life of mine at Zinnwald beyond the existing 30-year mine life.

In June 2019, Deutsche Lithium published the results of the ZFS, which confirmed the positive economics for the production of 5,112 tpa (~7,285 tpa LCE) of battery-grade lithium fluoride, a high value, downstream product used in the manufacture of lithium battery electrolytes for the European electric vehicle industry. With a long project life of 30 years, the ZFS estimates a pre-tax project NPV8) of €428 million; an IRR of 27.4%; and a 46% EBITDA margin.

Key Elements of the Zinnwald Feasibility Study

Project Introduction

Zinnwald is located in southeast Germany, some 35 km from Dresden and adjacent to the border of the Czech Republic and within 3 km of the town of Altenberg and 50 km of the town of Freiberg. The Project is in a granite hosted Sn/W/Li belt that has been mined historically for tin, tungsten and lithium at different times over the past 300 years. With an abundant supply of fluorspar/hydrofluoric acid available in the immediate vicinity, DL has chosen to focus on LiF production. LiF is one of the two key components in the manufacturing process of LiPF6, which is the most important conducting salt in lithium electrolytes and serves as the "shuttle" in the battery electrolyte which "ships" the lithium ion between the cathode and the anode. Approximately 95% of all lithium battery electrolytes use LiPF6 and the percentage used in each cathode is increasing in newer battery types. The strategic location of the Zinnwald Project allows immediate access to the German automotive and downstream lithium chemical industries.

Feasibility Study - Key Indicators

Based on a forecast selling price of €22,000 per tonne LiF, the ZFS demonstrates the attractive economics of Zinnwald and the key findings are shown in the table below:

Value

Pre-tax NPV (at 8% discount) (€ m)

427.8

Pre-tax IRR (%)

27.4%

Simple Payback (years)

6.1

Initial Construction Capital Cost Stage 1 (€ m)

158.9

Average LOM unit operating costs (€/t LiF)

13,058

Average LOM revenue (€ m pa)

112.4

Post-tax NPV (at 8% discount) (€ m)

270.0

Post-tax IRR (%)

21.5%

Average annual EBITDA with co-products (€ m)

58.5

Annual average LiF production (tonnes)

5,112

Annual K2SO4 production capacity (tonnes)

32,000

 

Mineral Resource Estimates

The Zinnwald Lithium Project hosts one of the largest lithium deposits in Europe. The table below provides a breakdown of the upgraded Mineral Resource estimate for the Zinnwald Lithium Project as of 30 September 2018. The upgraded resource has been reported in accordance with NI 43-101 and was carried Tout by G.E.O.S. Ingenieurgesellschaft mbH ("G.E.O.S.").

 Lithium Mineral Resource estimate of the Zinnwald Lithium Deposit:

Resource classification*

Ore tonnage (000t)

Mean Li grade (ppm)

Contained Li (tonnes)

Measured

18,510

3,630

67,191

Indicated

17,000

3,399

57,783

Inferred

4,865

3,549

17,266

Demonstrated (Measured + Indicated)

35,510

3,519

124,974

Total (Measured + Indicated + Inferred)

40,375

3,523

142,240

(* Vertical thickness ≥ 2 m, cut-off Li = 2,500 ppm)

Notes:   (i) Mineral Resources that are not Mineral Reserves do not have demonstrated economic viability.

Using a minimum thickness of 2 m and 2,500 ppm Li cut-off, the Zinnwald Demonstrated Mineral Resource (Measured and Indicated) of 35.5 Mt at a grade of 3,519 ppm Li containing 124,974 tonnes of Li. The equivalent total Mineral Resource (Measured, Indicated and Inferred) at a 2 m minimum thickness and 2,500 ppm cut-off grade is 142,240 tonnes of contained Li.

Mineral Reserve Estimates

The Mineral Reserve estimate was prepared by independent mining consultants G.E.O.S with a cut-off of 2,500 ppm lithium metal.

The Mineral Reserves of the Zinnwald lithium deposit is based on the development the whole deposit including an underground mine. Internal dilution mostly consists of greisen and greisenized granite that shows average lithium grades of roughly 1,900 ppm. External dilution shows average lithium grades of around 1,700 ppm.

The portion of the Demonstrated Mineral Resource which cannot be mined due to existing mine workings or which cannot be economically mined due to isolation of ore bodies or insignificant ore thickness, amounts to 7% and was excluded from the resource. Based on this reduced resource, Mineral Reserves have been estimated based on standard mining technology with optimised back fill applying sublevel stoping with longitudinal stopes.

The portion of the Proven Mineral Reserve accounts for 16.5 Mt of ore and contains 51 kt Li. This corresponds to 54 % of the total lithium metal Reserve. The Probable Mineral Reserve is 14.7 Mt of ore with a content of 43 kt Li. It comprises 46 % of the total lithium metal Reserve. For further details see the table below.

Lithium Mineral Reserve estimate of the Zinnwald Lithium Deposit:

Category

Ore and Dilution

Tonnage
(000t)

Li Grade
(ppm)

Li Metal Content

(000t)

Mineral Reserve considering mining loss and dilution

(1) Parameter conform ore

22,270 (71 %)

3,500

78

(2) Internal dilution

2,632 (8 %)

1,929

5

(3) External dilution

6,300 (20 %)

1,700

11

(4) Total Mineral Reserve (1+2+3)

31,202 (100 %)

3,004

94 (100 %)

(5) Proven Mineral Reserve

16,504 (53 %)

3,075

51 (54 %)

(6) Probable Mineral Reserve

14,699 (47 %)

2,933

43 (46 %)

Notes:   (i) Tonnes rounded to the nearest thousand.

Mining Operations as defined in the Zinnwald feasibility study

The mining operation for the Zinnwald Project is planned as an underground mine development using a decline for the access to the mine and ore transportation to Freiberg, 50 km away from Zinnwald. The mine technology will be a common LHD - room and pillar technology.

The suggested mining process of the Zinnwald lithium deposit, which can be specifically adjusted to locally changing geological conditions, includes maximum dimensions of the rooms of 7 m x 7 m with 2 m wide safety pillars and 1 m thick horizontal roof pillars. Backfill material is characterized by a compressive strength value of at least 4 to 5 MPa.

Process Design as defined in the Zinnwald feasibility study

The process plant design comprises a pre-concentration stage to produce an initial concentrate prior to roasting. The concentrate is subsequently heated in a kiln, at approximately 950 degrees Celsius, in combination with limestone and gypsum. Following roasting a hot water leaching step recovers lithium and after removal of contaminations LiF is precipitated using potassium fluoride. LiF is filtered and packaging, to produce a >99.5% LiF final battery-grade product. The integrated plant has been designed to initially process 522 kt of ore per year (average of first 5 years of production), producing 5,112 tpa of lithium fluoride. The plant will scale up to process up to 600 kt of ore per year over the life of the mine.

The plant design also includes a circuit to produce up to 32,000 tpa of K2SO4/SOP by-product through a series of evaporation and precipitation stages.

Capital Cost Estimates as defined in the Zinnwald feasibility study

The metallurgical processing facility will be located in Freiberg. The capital cost estimate is based on using brown field processing plant site locations for both the concentrator and the lithium processing plants, but all equipment costs are based on all new equipment, to produce the concentrate and the battery-grade lithium fluoride.

The capital cost estimates for the mine, process plant, infrastructure, tailings management, construction, engineering, procurement, and construction management fees, and general and administration are based on basic engineering from G.E.O.S., Köppern, Cemtec and Amproma and were compiled in a financial model by eXnet audit GmbH Wirtschaftsprüfungsgesell-schaft of Dresden, Germany (eXnet).

Summary of Estimated Capital Costs as defined in the Zinnwald feasibility study

Area

€ m

Mining equipment, infrastructure and site

27.4

Beneficiation / mineral processing plant

23.3

Chemical plant

82.0

On-Site infrastructure chemical site

10.6

EPCM / Project management

14.9

Contingency

15.8

Subsidies/grants*

(15.0)

Total:

159

Notes: * subsidies/grants (estimated) by the Government of Free state Saxony based on European and national law

Operating Cost Estimate as defined in the Zinnwald feasibility study

The estimated mining and processing operating costs are based on an operation achieving average annual production of approximately 5,112 tonnes of battery-grade, 99.5% LiF, (7,285tpa LCE). The estimated average unit operating cost for the mine, primary and secondary processing facilities are as follows:

Average Annual Operating costs per tonne:

Category

€/t LiF

Mining

2,525

Mechanical Processing

2,699

Chemical Processing

7,448

Environmental and Central

386

Total - Direct Operating Costs

13,058

G&A

607

Total - All costs per tonne of LiF

13,665

 

Market Review and Lithium Pricing assumed in the Zinnwald feasibility study

SignumBox has provided the Company with their detailed 20 years analysis of the global lithium market. The Fraunhofer Institute in Germany (www.fraunhofer.de) has provided a detailed analysis of the electrolyte/LiF market. These reports can be summarised as follows:

·      By 2037, SignumBox anticipate global annual demand for lithium chemicals to reach about 1,700,000 tonnes of LCE in their base scenario, compared to the current 360,000 tonnes in 2019, equating to an average annual growth rate of about 11.5% over the next 20 years.

·      Contract prices for battery-grade lithium carbonate products have increased significantly since Q3 2015, from a global average price of lithium carbonate of approx. US$6,000 per tonne to over approximately US$12,000 per tonne (Q2 2019).

·      SignumBox estimate total demand for electrolyte materials reached 142,000 tonnes in 2018, this represents a 11.4% growth compared with 2017, with a value of US$4 billion. They expect annual demand to grow to over 230,000 tonnes by 2030.

·      Fraunhofer estimates mid case consumption of LiF in electrolyte production will be in the range 20,000 to 40,000 tonnes annually by 2030, depending on LiF density remaining in the range of 5% to 10% of the electrolyte.

 

Lithium fluoride pricing for the ZFS has been averaged from a number of sources including Zion Market Research, SignumBox market and price forecast and spot market price in China. For the ZFS cash flow analysis, the Company has taken a consensus approach for pricing and is using a price of €22,000/t for battery-grade lithium fluoride over the 30 years of production. The SOP price is estimated at €500 per tonne. The cash flow analysis was prepared by the Company's financial consultants exNet.

Zinnwald Environment and Permits

DL holds an approved mining license for the Zinnwald deposit and has completed the Zinnwald Project Environmental Impact Assessment. Final approvals for construction and operation would be issued once a project construction timetable is submitted to the local authorities.

d    Group Financing

Please refer to the Financial Review section.

e    Lithium Market Update 2018 to 2019

Only a limited amount of information is available to the wider investment market on lithium pricing. This is due in part to the scale of the lithium market, and the propensity for mining companies to have long term offtake partners, so only relatively minor volumes are traded on the spot market, which tends to increase reported volatility. Furthermore, the high degree of variability in impurities, even in battery-grade lithium compounds, makes like for like price comparisons across supply sources a challenge. In an attempt to reduce the opacity of the lithium market, in June 2019, Fastmarkets entered into a partnership with the London Metal Exchange (LME) as its partner to develop the lithium price benchmark.

 

Throughout the first half of calendar year 2018, lithium prices came under pressure on concerns of oversupply. In July 2018 Benchmark Minerals Intelligence reported battery-grade lithium carbonate spot prices US$16,500/t6. Prices continued to soften, but at a slower rate in H2 calendar year 2018. At the outturn of the calendar year, Metal Bulletin reported 99.5% lithium carbonate battery-grade spot prices CIF China, Japan & Korea in the range of US$13,000-15,000 per tonne. In H2 calendar year 2018, major lithium producers like SQM and Orocobre reported weak pricing on short term contracts for lithium carbonate. The depressed pricing was blamed on weak demand in China and new supply in Australia ramping up. In H1 calendar year 2019, prices continued to decline and in June 2019, Fastmarkets reported 99.5% lithium carbonate battery-grade spot prices CIF China, Japan & Korea of US$11,000-12,500/t7. Andrew Miller, head of price assessment at Benchmark Mineral Intelligence, said in an interview on 19 June 2019, that the lithium hydroxide premium over carbonate would narrow and that there is "not much more to come out of the lithium carbonate price"8.

The reduction in lithium pricing has been attributed to an oversupply of lithium products. Oversupply has been caused by a number of new spodumene mines ramping up in Australia. Tightening of credit in China has forced lithium market players to reduce stock levels to secure cash, reducing demand and increasing supply. Subsidies in China's New Energy Vehicles (NEV) market have been reduced for vehicles with ranges less than 300km. These changes caused lithium consumers to hold back on purchases in the first half of 2018 as they adjusted purchasing strategies and waited for prices to fall further. This oversupply trend continued in H1 calendar year 2019, with prices softening toward US$11,000/t. In July 2019, Morgan Stanley said it expected the price of lithium carbonate from South America to fall from around US$11,500 a tonne currently to below US$10,000 by the end of this year9. However, as prices have tightened, producers have begun to call a halt to expansion plans, for instance Albemarle have announced that they will delay investment in a 125,000t per year conversion plant.

A key theme at the Fastmarkets' 11th Lithium Supply and Markets Conference (11 June 2019) was that global lithium demand could outpace supply in the coming years, with the number of new projects expected to fall short of expected production amid doubts on capital availability and low prices. As such, any new supply would likely originate from existing low-cost producers rather than marginal cost producers. The lack of available capital acting as a brake on supply, may incentivise battery producers and trading houses to invest directly to secure sources of lithium. In research by Signumbox in April 2019, which was commissioned by Deutsche Lithium for their feasibility study, SignumBox anticipates a global annual demand for lithium chemicals to reach about 1,700kt of LCE by 2037, compared to the current 360kt in 2019, equating to an average annual growth rate of about 11.5% over the next 20 years10.

2018 saw many new spodumene producers begin production which is one of the factors weighing on the price, however, ramp up has proved slower than expected. Alliance Mineral Assets were first to produce, with first shipments out of the Bald Hill hard rock mine in June 2018, AMG ramped up commissioning the Mibra facility in Brazil towards the end of Q2 2018 with initial shipments in Q4. In addition, initial shipments of concentrate from the Pilgangoora deposits by Pilbara Minerals commenced in Q4 2018, by June 2019 the plant ramped up to ~85% of planned Stage 1 plant capacity11. Altura Mining, which also ramped in late 2018 reached nameplate capacity in May 2019. According to a report by Benchmark Mineral Intelligence on 9 January 2019, these new operations have addressed the short-term needs of the conversion market, however, significant additional conversion capacity would be required to convert the concentrate to useful battery-grade products, in the event that all the spodumene projects are able to ramp up to name plate capacity on schedule. The spodumene supply and conversion capacity dynamic is undergoing a process of rebalancing, this is in part due to downwards vertical integration of mines in Australia, H1 calendar year 2019 has seen the initial ramp up of Tianqi's 48ktpa hydroxide plant at Kwinana, in Western Australia12. Furthermore, ramping up of new Chinese converters will further debottleneck the spodumene market. The largest of these will be the start-up of Albermarle's Xinyu II unit in Jiangxi province, which will have capacity of 20ktpa of lithium hydroxide. Other conversion plants processing hard rock concentrates are expected from Sichuan Energy Investment (10ktpa carbonate) and Hefei Tiansheng Lithium (5ktpa). Other processing plants linked to brine production are set to go into commercial production this year, including Zangge Lithium (10ktpa carbonate), Qinghai Lithium (5ktpa carbonate) and Qinghai Hengxingrong (4.5ktpa carbonate). However the extra converter volume has not fully materialised.

Further acquisitions by the lithium majors in Q4 2018 provided evidence of continued confidence in the underlying fundamentals of the lithium market. In December 2018, Tianqi bought a minority stake in SQM from Nutrien for US$4.1 billion13. In addition, Albemarle acquired a 50% interest in MRL's Wodgina hard rock lithium project in Western Australia for US$1.15 billion and formed a joint venture to produce spodumene concentrate and battery-grade lithium hydroxide14.

With prices close to the US$11,000 per tonne price assumed in the Sonora Lithium Project feasibility study and an estimated production cost profile of around US$4,000 per tonne, the Sonora Lithium Project sits in the lower quartile of lithium production costs, giving it added protection when compared to the higher cost producers such as the new mines being brought on stream in Australia. Whilst there is a degree of uncertainty in the nascent lithium market, Bacanora is well placed to weather significant oversupply related price fluctuations given favourable production costs and the high-quality nature of our product.

There is minimal publicly available information on lithium fluoride, in particular on production capacity, future expansion plans and pricing. However, the current lithium fluoride spot prices in China were around the US$30,000-32,000 per tonne level in Q1 201915. Lithium fluoride has a number of applications including glass and ceramic manufacture, nuclear power generation, optics, metallurgical processes and of course, batteries. Lithium fluoride is an important component in the manufacturing process of LiPF616, which is an important conducting salt in existing lithium-ion battery technology. Furthermore, fluoride ion batteries have the potential to be "next-generation" electrochemical storage devices17 that offer up to eight times higher energy density than existing batteries18. Due to the growing utilization of electric vehicles, the lithium fluoride market is expected to grow markedly over the next 30 years. Fluoride battery chemistry could be instrumental in accelerating the development of electric vehicles and allowing for an increased adoption of renewable power. The European lithium market is primed to grow significantly in the coming years, in the latest sign of growth in Europe's EV market, Sweden's Northvolt said in June 2019, that it had raised US$1 billion from Volkswagen AG, BMW and others to build the continent's biggest lithium-ion battery plant. In May 2019, France and Germany teamed up on a plan worth up to €6 billion (US$6.8 billion) to jointly invest in the European production of EV batteries19.



Financial Review

The Group made an operating loss of US$8.0 million for the year ended 30 June 2019 compared with a loss of US$10.7 million for the year ended 30 June 2018. This includes US$7.0 million general and administrative costs (2018: US$7.3 million) and share-based payment compensation of US$0.8 million (2018: US$1.9 million). Share-based payments decreased by US$1.1 million from US$1.9 million in financial year 2018 due to fewer options being granted in the financial year 2019 and an increased number of options fully vested.

During the year, the Group incurred finance costs of US$4.4 million in relation to the Group's debt financing (2018: US$0.7 million). The current year finance costs mainly relate to the RK debt facility whereas the prior year cost relate to an unwinding of the discount on the Deutsche Lithium obligation. Finance income of US$1.9 million (2018: US$0.2 million) comprised a revaluation of the Group's financial warrants of US$1.7 million and interest on the Group's cash reserves of US$0.2 million. The increase year on year relates to the warrant revaluation which was not present in the prior year.

Deutsche Lithium GmbH, which holds the Zinnwald Lithium Project, had a US$0.4 million loss during the year, of which Bacanora Lithium's 50% share was US$0.2 million loss. The option to purchase the remaining 50% interest was extended by six months to February 2020. The option has been recognised as a derivative asset in the Consolidated Statement of Financial Position as it represents the option to acquire equity instruments at a future point in time. This derivative asset has been recorded at its fair value of US$0.2 million at 30 June 2019, down from US$0.6 million at 30 June 2018. The US$0.4 million write down on the option is a result of the unwinding of the time value of the option using the Black-Scholes option pricing model. The Company expressed its commitment to the Zinnwald Project in agreeing to fund Deutsche Lithium until the end of the option period in February 2020.

The total net assets of the Group decreased to US$32.4 million at 30 June 2019 from US$42.6 million at 30 June 2018, due primarily to the loss for the year offset by share-based payments, exercise of options and warrants. Property, plant and equipment, which includes evaluated mineral property, increased to US$29.8 million from US$26.4 million due to US$3.7 million additions, offset by US$0.2 million of depreciation charge and a US$0.1 million asset disposal. The investment in joint venture increased to US$9.3 million from US$8.4 million due to additional investments of US$1.1 million offset by a loss for the year attributable to the Group of US$0.2 million.

The Group has a cash balance of US$14.8 million at 30 June 2019, which increased by US$1.6 million from US$13.2 million in the prior year. During the year, the first tranche of the RK debt facility has been drawn down providing for a net cash inflow of US$20.9 million, after deduction of fees and transactions costs. This cash inflow has been partially offset by the cash used in the operations which amounted to US$8.9 million, property, plant and equipment and exploration and evaluation assets cash expenditures of US$8.3 million and funding Deutsche Lithium of US$2.4 million. Additional cash inflows include the exercise of warrants and share options of US$0.1 million, US$0.1 million asset disposal and interest income of US$0.2 million.

Financing

1     US$150 million RK Mine Finance debt facility

In July 2018, a US$150 million senior debt facility was secured with RK Mine Finance for the development of the Sonora Lithium Project in Mexico. The debt facility entered into with RK Mine Finance is structured as two separate Eurobonds listed in Jersey:

·      Main bond: US$150 million nominal amount secured notes issued at a purchase price of US$138 million with a 6-year term and bearing an interest rate of three months LIBOR + 8% per annum based on a nominal amount of US$150 million but payable only on drawn down principal. Interest will be capitalised every three months for the first 24 months and thereafter interest will be paid every three months in cash. The main bond is repaid with 12 quarterly payments payable 39 months after the last day of the month of first issuance date (3 July 2018). The quarterly payments comprise 11 payments of 3% of the principal amount followed by a last payment for the remaining balance. However, the loan can be voluntarily redeemed at any stage, subject to early repayment charges; and

·      Second bond: US$56 million nominal amount zero interest-bearing secured notes issued at a purchase price of US$12 million with a 20-year term. The nominal amount is repayable by reference to monthly production of lithium at a rate of US$160 per tonne of lithium produced, with any remaining amount repayable at the end of the 20-year term.

The facility may be drawn in three tranches of US$25 million, US$50 million and US$75 million, subject to certain conditions precedents, including, but not limited to: various matters in respect of the execution, registration and perfection of certain security, granting of listing consent by The International Stock Exchange, a minimum equity raise of US$200 million, energy and engineering contracts executed and relevant permits obtained. All drawdowns under the RK debt facility will be pro-rata across the two Eurobond instruments. In July 2018, the Company drew down the first US$25 million of the RK debt facility. Certain covenants have been introduced to the Group as discussed further in the Notes to the Consolidated Financial Statements for further information on this and the debt facility in general.

Furthermore, the Company granted 6 million warrants exercisable over five years at a 20% premium to the 20-day VWAP, subject to normal anti-dilution provisions, cash settlement at the Company's option, and cashless exercise at either party's option.

2     Strategic investment from Ganfeng Lithium Co., Ltd.

In June 2019, the Bacanora Group entered into investment and offtake agreements with Ganfeng Lithium Co., Ltd, where Ganfeng would:

·      subscribe for a 29.99% equity interest in Bacanora for a cash consideration of £14,400,091, being 57,600,364 new ordinary shares in the Company at a price of 25 pence per share, representing the volume weighted average price ("VWAP") on AIM of the Company's shares over the previous 20 trading days at the time of negotiation.

·      appoint one Director to the Board of the Bacanora Lithium Plc

·      acquire an initial 22.5% interest in the Sonora Lithium Limited, for a cash payment of £7,563,649, equivalent to a price of 25 pence per share, with an option to increase its interest in the Sonora Lithium Limited to up to 50% from 22.5%, within 24 months of the completion of the initial investment. The valuation of any additional investment by Ganfeng would be based on the share price of Bacanora Lithium Plc at the time of the additional purchase.

·      appoint one Director to the Board of the Sonora Lithium Limited

·      acquire a long-term offtake at a market-based price per tonne for 50% of Stage 1 lithium production and up to 75% of Stage 2 lithium production

·      complete a review within six months of the EPC engineering design and capital costs of the Sonora Lithium Project with a view to reducing costs and accelerating the timetable

·      provide a plant and process commissioning team to assist Bacanora in delivering first production in 2021

The signed agreements for the strategic investment were submitted to the relevant authorities in China for approval and completion. The approvals were acquired post year end with the transaction completing in October 2019.

Prior to the investments by Ganfeng, the Group performed a reorganisation in which Sonora Lithium Limited purchased Bacanora Lithium Plc's 100% shareholding in Bacanora Minerals Limited in order to create a single project holding company.

Completion of the strategic investment from Ganfeng forms a major part of the Company's finance package for the construction of an initial 17,500 tonnes per annum lithium carbonate operation at the Sonora Lithium Project.

We continue to work towards fully funding the project and will update the market in the future.

On behalf of the Board of Directors

 

Janet Blas

Chief Financial Officer

19 October 2019



 

1 https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-49022684

2 https://www.iea.org/publications/reports/globalevoutlook2019/

3 https://roskill.com/market-report/lithium/

4 https://roskill.com/market-report/lithium/

5 http://www.deutschelithium.de/wp-content/uploads/2019/06/NI43-101-Zinnwald_Feasibility-Study_Summary.pdf

6 https://www.benchmarkminerals.com/chinas-lithium-price-decline-is-not-the-full-picture-to-an-industry-surging/

7 https://seekingalpha.com/article/4272099-lithium-miners-news-month-june-2019

8 https://investingnews.com/daily/resource-investing/battery-metals-investing/lithium-investing/andrew-miller-more-capital-needed-support-lithium-demand/?mqsc=E4063726

9 https://www.ft.com/content/6b9e3bdc-a480-11e9-a282-2df48f366f7d

10 http://www.deutschelithium.de/wp-content/uploads/2019/06/NI43-101-Zinnwald_Feasibility-Study_Summary.pdf

11 https://seekingalpha.com/article/4272099-lithium-miners-news-month-june-2019

12 https://thewest.com.au/business/mining/tianqi-fires-up-700m-lithium-game-changer-in-kwinana-ng-b881076970z

13 https://www.reuters.com/article/us-chile-tianqi-lithium/tianqi-buys-stake-in-lithium-miner-sqm-from-nutrien-for-4-1-billion-idUSKBN1O217F

14 https://www.mining-technology.com/news/mineral-resources-albemarle-lithium-deal/

15 http://www.deutschelithium.de/wp-content/uploads/2019/06/NI43-101-Zinnwald_Feasibility-Study_Summary.pdf

16 https://www.bacanoralithium.com/pdfs/exec-summary-technical-report-for-zinnwald.pdf

17 https://science.sciencemag.org/content/362/6419/1144

18 https://www.caltech.edu/about/news/focusing-negative-good-when-it-comes-batteries-84588

19 https://www.reuters.com/article/us-lithium-electric-europe/european-lithium-projects-gain-attention-amid-push-toward-electric-vehicles-idUSKCN1TE34V



 

Consolidated Statement of Financial Position

As at 30 June 2019

In US$


30 June 2019

30 June 2018

Assets

 

 

 

Current assets

 

 

 

Cash and cash equivalents

 

 14,763,706

 13,203,052

Other receivables and prepayments

 

 2,404,304

 1,472,120

Derivative asset

 

 193,902

-

Total current assets

 

 17,361,912

 14,675,172

Non-current assets

 

 

 

Investment in joint venture

 

 9,347,086

 8,426,134

Derivative asset

 

-

 615,011

Property, plant and equipment

 

 29,806,113

 26,391,422

Exploration and evaluation assets

 

 523,947

 502,947

Total non-current assets

 

 39,677,146

 35,935,514

 

 

 

 

Total assets

 

 57,039,058

 50,610,686

 

 

 

 

Liabilities and shareholders' equity

 

 

 

Current liabilities

 

 

 

Accounts payable and accrued liabilities

 

 1,474,543

 6,383,830

Joint venture obligation

 

 237,105

 1,591,652

Total current liabilities

 

 1,711,648

 7,975,482

 

 

 

 

Non-current liabilities

 

 

 

Borrowings

 

 21,622,167

-

Warrant liability

 

 1,259,923

-

Total non-current liabilities

 

 22,882,090

-

 

 

 

 

Total liabilities

 

 24,593,738

 7,975,482

 

 

 

 

Shareholders' equity

 

 

 

Share capital

 

 18,996,790

 18,958,033

Share premium

 

 153,366

 140,592

Merger reserve

 

 53,557,251

 53,557,251

Share-based payment reserve

 

 5,417,193

 6,138,085

Foreign currency translation reserve

 

 3,568,358

 3,568,358

Retained earnings

 

(48,539,746)

(39,029,014)

Equity attributable to equity shareholders of Bacanora Lithium Plc.

 

 33,153,212

 43,333,305

Non-controlling interest

 

(707,892)

(698,101)

Total shareholders' equity

 

 32,445,320

 42,635,204

 

 

 

 

Total liabilities and shareholders' equity

 

 57,039,058

 50,610,686

 



Consolidated Statement of Comprehensive Income

For the year ended 30 June 2019

In US$


30 June 2019

30 June 2018

Expenses

 

 

 

General and administrative


(7,041,319)

(7,327,651)

Depreciation


(163,581)

(149,724)

Share-based payment expense


(800,846)

(1,877,095)

Foreign exchange gain


 17,581

(763,278)

Impairment of exploration and evaluation assets


-

(559,468)

Operating loss

 

(7,988,165)

(10,677,216)

 

 

 

 

Finance and other income


 1,919,124

 212,678

Finance costs


(4,423,032)

(662,299)

Joint venture investment loss


(168,679)

(147,403)

Revaluation of derivative asset


(421,698)

(1,521,046)

Gain/(loss) on fixed asset disposals


 28,702

(51,119)

Loss before tax

 

(11,053,748)

(12,846,405)

 

 

 

 

Tax charge


(5,012)

 60,544

Loss after tax

 

(11,058,760)

(12,785,861)

 

 

 

 

Other comprehensive income

 

 

 

Foreign currency translation adjustment


-

 886,679

Total comprehensive loss

 

(11,058,760)

(11,899,182)

 

 

 

 

Loss attributable to shareholders of Bacanora Lithium Plc


(11,048,969)

(12,731,306)

Loss attributable to non-controlling interests


(9,791)

(54,555)

Loss after tax

 

(11,058,760)

(12,785,861)

 

 

 

 

Total comprehensive loss attributable to shareholders of Bacanora Lithium Plc


(11,048,969)

(11,844,627)

Total comprehensive loss attributable to non-controlling interests


(9,791)

(54,555)

Total comprehensive loss


(11,058,760)

(11,899,182)

 

 

 

 

Net loss per share (basic and diluted)

 

(0.08)

(0.09)

 

 


Consolidated Statement of Changes in Equity

For the year ended 30 June 2019


Share capital









In US$

Number of shares

Value

Share premium

Merger reserve

Share-based payment reserve

Foreign currency translation reserve

Retained earnings

Total equity attributable to Bacanora Lithium Plc

Non-controlling interest

Total equity

30 June 2017

 131,906,539

 70,268,394

-

-

 5,042,706

 2,681,679

(26,297,708)

 51,695,071

(643,546)

 51,051,525

Comprehensive income for the year:











Loss for the year

-

-

-

-

-

-

(12,731,306)

(12,731,306)

(54,555)

(12,785,861)

Foreign currency translation adjustment

-

-

-

-

-

 886,679

-

 886,679

-

 886,679

Total comprehensive loss

-

-

-

-

-

 886,679

(12,731,306)

(11,844,627)

(54,555)

(11,899,182)

Contributions by and distributions to owners:










Shares issued on exercise of options

 1,425,000

 1,944,576

 140,592

-

(781,716)

-

-

 1,303,452

-

 1,303,452

Shares issued on exercise of warrants

 833,333

 302,314

-

-

-

-

-

 302,314

-

 302,314

Corporate reorganisation

-

(53,557,251)

-

 53,557,251

-

-

-

-

-

-

Share-based payment expense

-

-

-

-

 1,877,095

-

-

 1,877,095

-

 1,877,095

30 June 2018

 134,164,872

 18,958,033

 140,592

 53,557,251

 6,138,085

 3,568,358

(39,029,014)

 43,333,305

(698,101)

 42,635,204

Comprehensive income for the year:











Loss for the year

-

-

-

-

-

-

(11,048,969)

(11,048,969)

(9,791)

(11,058,760)

Total comprehensive loss

-

-

-

-

-

-

(11,048,969)

(11,048,969)

(9,791)

(11,058,760)

Contributions by and distributions to owners:










Shares issued on exercise of options

 300,000

 38,757

 12,774

-

(60,950)

-

 77,449

 68,030

-

 68,030

Lapsed option charge

-

-

-

-

(1,460,788)

-

 1,460,788

-

-

-

Share-based payment expense

-

-

-

-

 800,846

-

-

 800,846

-

 800,846

30 June 2019

 134,464,872

 18,996,790

 153,366

 53,557,251

 5,417,193

 3,568,358

(48,539,746)

 33,153,212

(707,892)

 32,445,320

 

 


Consolidated Statement of Cash Flows

For the year ended 30 June 2019

In US$


30 June 2019

30 June 2018

Cash flows from operating activities


 

 

Loss for the year before tax


(11,053,748)

(12,846,405)

Adjustments for:


 

 

Depreciation of property, plant and equipment


 163,581

 149,724

Share-based payment expense


 800,846

 1,877,095

Foreign exchange


 66,931

 763,278

Impairment of exploration & evaluation assets


-

 559,468

Finance and other income


(1,919,124)

(198,810)

Finance costs


 4,423,032

 662,299

Loss on investment in joint venture


 168,679

 147,403

Revaluation of derivative asset


 421,698

 1,521,046

(Gain)/Loss on disposal of PPE


(28,702)

 51,119


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Changes in working capital items:


 

 

Other receivables


(844,708)

(932,379)

Accounts payable and accrued liabilities


(1,108,972)

 1,758,497


 

 

 

Income tax paid


(5,012)

(42,070)

Net cash used in operating activities


(8,915,499)

(6,529,735)


 

-

 

Cash flows from investing activities:


 

 

Interest received  


 249,422

 198,810

Purchase of property, plant and equipment


(8,262,991)

(5,079,681)

Purchase of exploration & evaluation assets


(21,000)

(2,774,255)

Proceeds on disposal of property, plant and equipment

 

 119,759

-

Payments to the joint venture


(2,421,090)

(4,177,381)

Net cash used in investing activities


(10,335,900)

(11,832,507)


 

 

 

Cash flows from financing activities


 

 

Proceeds from borrowing, net of fees


 20,875,000

-

Exercise of options


 68,501

 1,303,452

Exercise of warrants


-

 302,314

Net cash flows from financing activities


 20,943,501

 1,605,766


 

 

 

Change in cash and cash equivalents during the year


 1,692,102

(16,756,476)

Exchange rate effects


(131,448)

 69,675

Cash and cash equivalents, beginning of year


 13,203,052

 29,889,853

Cash and cash equivalents, end of year


 14,763,706

 13,203,052

 



Notes to the Consolidated Financial Statements

 

1    Corporate information

Bacanora Lithium Plc (the "Company" or "Bacanora") was incorporated under the Companies Act 2006 of England and Wales on 6 February 2018. The Company is listed on the AIM market of the London Stock Exchange, with its common shares trading under the symbol, "BCN". The registered address of the Company is 4 More London Riverside, London, SE1 2AU.

The Group is a development stage mining group engaged in the identification, acquisition, exploration and development of mineral properties located in Mexico and Germany.

On 12 December 2017, the Group announced the results of the feasibility study for the Sonora Lithium Project in Mexico. The feasibility study confirmed the positive economics and favourable operating costs of a 35,000tpa battery-grade lithium carbonate operation. The feasibility study estimates a pre-tax project net present value of US$1.253 billion at an 8% discount rate and an internal rate of return of 26.1%.

In June 2019, Deutsche Lithium published the results of the feasibility study for the Zinnwald Lithium Project in Germany, which confirmed the positive economics and favourable operating costs for the production of 5,112 tpa (~7,285 tpa LCE) of battery-grade lithium fluoride, a high value, downstream product used in the manufacture of lithium battery electrolytes for the European electric vehicle industry. With a long life of project of 30 years, the feasibility estimates a pre-tax project NPV8) of €428 million, an IRR of 27.4%, and a 46% EBITDA operating profit margin.

For assets outside of the feasibility studies, the Group has not yet determined whether its mineral properties contain economically recoverable reserves. The recoverability of amounts capitalised is dependent upon the discovery of economically recoverable reserves, maintaining title in the properties and obtaining the necessary financing to complete the exploration and development of these projects and upon attainment of future profitable production. The amounts capitalised as exploration and evaluation assets represent costs incurred to date, and do not necessarily represent present or future values.

2    Basis of preparation

a    Statement of compliance

These Financial Statements have been prepared in accordance with International Financial Reporting Standards, International Accounting Standards and Interpretations (collectively "IFRS") as adopted by the European Union ("EU") applied in accordance with the provisions of the Companies Act 2006.

IFRS is subject to amendment and interpretation by the International Accounting Standards Board ("IASB") and the IFRS Interpretations Committee, and there is an ongoing process of review and endorsement by the European Commission.

The financial information for the years ended 30 June 2019 and 30 June 2018 does not constitute statutory accounts as defined by section 435 of the Companies Act 2006 but is extracted from the audited accounts for those years. The 30 June 2019 accounts will be delivered to Companies House within the statutory filing deadline. The auditors have reported on those accounts. Their report was unqualified and did not contain statements under Section 498 (2) of (3) of the Companies Act 2006.

b    Basis of measurement

These Consolidated Financial Statements have been prepared on a historical cost basis, except for certain financial instruments that have been measured at fair value.

These Consolidated Financial Statements are presented in United States dollars ("US$"). The functional currency of the Company and its subsidiaries is the United States dollar.

c    Going Concern

The Directors have, at the time of approving the Financial Statements, a reasonable expectation that the Company has adequate resources to continue in operational existence for the foreseeable future. The Group has not entered into commitments to develop the Sonora Lithium Project. In relation to the Zinnwald Lithium Project, the total commitments entered into by the Company in relation to the extended option period amounts to US$0.4 million. In addition, since year end, the Group has received additional equity funding of £22 million. Thus, the going concern basis of accounting in preparing the Financial Statements continues to be adopted.

3    Investments in jointly controlled entities

a      Investment in Deutsche Lithium

On 17 February 2017, the Group acquired a 50% interest in a jointly controlled entity, Deutsche Lithium GmbH located in southern Saxony, Germany that is involved in the exploration of a lithium deposit in the Alterberg-Zinnwald region of the Eastern Ore Mountains in Germany. The determination of Deutsche Lithium as a joint venture was based on Deutsche Lithium's structure through a separate legal entity whereby neither the legal form nor the contractual arrangement gives the owners the rights to the assets and obligations for the liabilities within the normal course of business, nor does it give the rights to the economic benefits of the assets or responsibility for settling liabilities associated with the arrangement. Accordingly, the investment is accounted for using the equity method.

The Group acquired its interest in Deutsche Lithium for a cash consideration of €5.1 million from SolarWorld AG and an obligation to contribute €5 million toward the costs of completion of a feasibility study. Additionally, legal fees of US$0.2 million were paid in connection to this transaction.

The following table summarises the purchase price allocation for the joint venture acquisition:

In US dollars

17 February 2017

Working capital

 136,578

Exploration and evaluation assets

 10,486,400

Property, plant and equipment

 83,270

Less deferred tax liability

(2,485,090)

Enterprise value

 8,221,158

 

Consideration for the joint venture acquisition consisted of the following:

In US dollars

17 February 2017

Cash (including transaction costs)

 5,616,886

Joint venture obligation

 4,595,457

Less derivative asset

(1,991,185)

Total consideration

 8,221,158

 

The value of Deutsche Lithium is substantially attributed to the exploration and evaluation assets, and therefore, on recognition, the contribution paid in excess of the carrying value of net assets was attributed to the exploration and evaluation assets.

On 28 May 2019 a supplemental agreement was signed between the Bacanora Lithium Plc, Bacanora Minerals Ltd and Solarworld. It was agreed that:

1)   Bacanora Minerals Ltd's 50% share in Deutsche lithium would be novated to Bacanora Lithium Plc

2)   The Deutsche lithium option exercise period would be extended for 6 months until February 2020

3)   Additional funding would be provided by Bacanora Lithium Plc, totalling €543,221, becoming payable progressively throughout the option period.

During the year, the original €5 million obligation for funding the feasibility study was fully paid by Bacanora to Deutsche Lithium. Further funding of US$1,089,631 was provided by Bacanora in the year, of which US$852,526 was made by Bacanora prior to the supplemental agreement and US$237,105 is payable by Bacanora under the supplemental agreement at year end.

Reconciliation of the carrying amount of net investment in joint venture is as follows:

In US$

Joint venture investment

30 June 2017

8,418,518

Joint venture investment loss

(147,403)

Translation gain

 155,019

30 June 2018

8,426,134

Joint venture investment loss

(168,679)

Additional investment

 1,089,631

30 June 2019

9,347,086

 

Summarised financial information in respect of the Group's joint venture in Deutsche Lithium is set out below. The summarised information represents amounts shown in Deutsche Lithium's financial statements, as adjusted for differences in accounting policies and fair value adjustments required related to the Group's investment in the joint venture. Amounts have been translated in accordance with the Group's accounting policy on foreign currency translation.

In US$

30 June 2019

30 June 2018

Cash and cash equivalents

 132,071

 1,423,330

Current assets including cash and cash equivalents

 184,095

 1,508,791

Non-current assets

 27,291,419

 24,182,266

Current liabilities

(4,438,664)

(4,582,873)

Depreciation

 10,407

 9,303

Loss from continuing operations

(127,690)

(294,806)

Other comprehensive income

-

(37,811)

Total comprehensive income

(127,690)

(332,618)

 

a      Deutsche Lithium obligation

The Group's undertaking to contribute up to €5 million toward the costs of completion of a feasibility study within 18-24 months from acquisition was recorded initially as a liability in the Consolidated Statement of Financial Position, presented in accordance with its due date, between current and non-current portions. The Group used a discounted cash flow method with 20% discount rate to determine the present value of the obligation on initial recognition. The discount is now fully accreted.

As part of the supplemental agreement, Bacanora agreed to further fund the joint venture until the end of the Option Period in February 2020, for a total of €543,221. Of this amount €210,000 was payable at year end, of which €175,000 was paid post year end. The remaining €333,221 is committed prior to February 2020.

The movement in the obligation is detailed below:

In US$

Joint venture liability

30 June 2017

(4,937,882)

Payments of joint venture obligation

 4,177,381

Accretion of joint venture obligation

(662,299)

Foreign exchange

(168,852)

30 June 2018

(1,591,652)

Payments of joint venture obligation

 1,568,565

Foreign exchange gain

 23,087

Supplemental agreement obligation

(237,105)

30 June 2019

(237,105)

 

b      Derivative asset - Deutsche Lithium option

The Group, alone or together with any reasonably acceptable third party, has the Option to acquire the remaining 50% of the jointly controlled entity for €30 million, this Option originally was due to terminate in August 2019. As part of the supplemental agreement, it was agreed that the Option exercise period be extended for six months to February 2020. In the event that the Group does not exercise this right prior to the termination date, SolarWorld has the right but not the obligation to purchase the Group's 50% interest for €1.

The Option to purchase the remaining 50% interest has been recognised as a derivative asset in the Consolidated Statement of Financial Position as it represents the option to acquire equity instruments at a future point in time. This derivative asset has been recorded at its fair value of US$193,902 (2018 - US$615,011). During the year, the derivative asset has been classified from long-term to short-term due to its realisation being in February 2020. The fair value was determined using the Black-Scholes option pricing model with the following inputs:


30 June 2019

30 June 2018

Term 

0.64

1.08

Share Price (€)

8,614,053

5,100,000

Exercise Price (€)

30,000,000

30,000,000

Volatility

88%

124%

Risk Free rate

2%

2%

 

The movement in the fair value of the derivative is due to the passage of time. The increase in share price and reduction in volatility are driven by the published feasibility study on 5 June 2019 which determines the economic feasibility of the asset and reduced the inherent risk of the project.

A 10% increase in volatility equates to an increase in the value of the derivative of US$116,638 to US$310,540. A 10% decrease in volatility equates to a decrease in the value of US$86,822 to US$107,080.

A 10% increase in share price equates to an increase in the value of the derivative of US$89,076 to US$282,978. A 10% decrease in share price equates to a decrease in the value of US$68,385 to US$125,517.


4    Property, plant and equipment

a      Sonora Lithium Project

The Group owns ten contiguous mineral concessions in Sonora, Mexico. The Company through its wholly-owned Mexican subsidiary, MSB, has a 100% interest in two of these concessions: La Ventana and La Ventana 1, covering 1,820 hectares. Of the remaining concessions, five are owned 100% by Mexilit - El Sauz, El Sauz 1, El Sauz 2, Fleur and Fleur 1 covering 6,334 hectares. Mexilit is owned 70% by the Group and 30% by Cadence Minerals Plc ("Cadence") formerly known as Rare Earth Minerals Plc. These seven concessions form the "Sonora Lithium Project" covered by the technical Feasibility Study released in the prior year.

On 25 January 2018, the Group published a technical Feasibility Study for the Sonora Lithium Project in accordance with NI 43-101. Under IFRS 6 - Exploration for and Evaluation of Mineral Resources, an impairment test is required when the technical feasibility and commercial viability of extracting a mineral resource become demonstrable, at which point the asset falls outside the scope of IFRS 6 and was reclassified in the Financial Statements. The Feasibility Study financial assessment performed by independent mining specialists, IMC, SRK and Ausenco, gave a post-tax discounted cash flow valuation of US$802 million at 8% discount factor based on a long-term price of US$11,000/t Li2CO3. Thus, there is no impairment for these mining assets as the combined value of the exploration and evaluation assets only totalled US$16,918,190, giving significant headroom. As a result, these costs were transferred to evaluated mining property.

As previously reported to shareholders, Bacanora is challenging the validity of the previously reported 3% royalty over the MSB concessions within the Sonora lithium project, payable to the Orr-Ewing Estate, and is seeking a judgment of the Court in Alberta declaring such royalty invalid. Bacanora Minerals Ltd is currently challenging the validity and enforceability of such royalty. The basis of Bacanora Minerals Ltd claim is that the royalty was originally granted based on a negligent or fraudulent misrepresentation by Mr. Orr-Ewing that he held a pre-existing royalty granted prior to the acquisition of the MSB concessions by Bacanora Minerals Ltd. The Company engaged in voluntary, independent mediation in early 2019, but was unable to reach an agreement with the Estate's advisers. Both sides have continued to provide evidence as part of the process. There is expected to be a hearing later in 2019.  The Company has at all times taken a conservative approach to the treatment of the purported royalty and included it fully in the financial model for the Feasibility Study published in 2018, as well as all financial projections to investors and debt funding partners.

 


 

Cost

Evaluated mineral property

Land

Buildings

Plant and machinery

Office furniture and equipment

Transportation

Total

30 June 2017

-

 195,614

 893,881

 711,194

 259,697

 146,142

 2,206,528

Additions

 5,906,000

 2,800,000

 116,136

 26,072

 12,479

-

 8,860,687

Disposals

-

-

(35,768)

-

-

(25,408)

(61,176)

Transfers from exploration and evaluation assets

 16,029,716

-

-

-

-

 16,029,716

30 June 2018

 21,935,716

 2,995,614

 974,249

 737,266

 272,176

 120,734

 27,035,755

Additions

 3,465,438

 39,386

-

-

 164,505

-

 3,669,329

Disposals

-

-

(133,777)

-

(984)

-

(134,761)

30 June 2019

 25,401,154

 3,035,000

 840,472

 737,266

 435,697

 120,734

 30,570,323

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Depreciation








30 June 2017

-

-

 144,103

 197,634

 64,110

 98,819

 504,666

Charge for the year

-

-

 41,393

 63,926

 26,950

 17,455

 149,724

Disposals

-

-

-

-

-

(10,057)

(10,057)

30 June 2018

-

-

 185,496

 261,560

 91,060

 106,217

 644,333

Charge for the year

-

-

 46,733

 70,427

 36,782

 9,639

 163,581

Disposals

-

-

(42,693)

-

(1,011)

-

(43,704)

30 June 2019

-

-

 189,536

 331,987

 126,831

 115,856

 764,210

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Net Book Value








30 June 2017

-

 195,614

 749,778

 513,560

 195,587

 47,323

 1,701,862

30 June 2018

 21,935,716

 2,995,614

 788,753

 475,706

 181,116

 14,517

 26,391,422

30 June 2019

 25,401,154

 3,035,000

 650,936

 405,279

 308,866

 4,878

 29,806,113

 


5    Exploration and evaluation assets

The balance of investment in exploration and evaluation assets as of 30 June 2019 relate to concession taxes on exploration licenses and costs of exploration on the Group's Megalit Lithium concessions, movements in the periods are as follows:

In US$

Magdalena Borate

La Ventana Lithium

Mexilit Lithium

Megalit Lithium

Total

30 June 2017

 500,000

 10,451,151

 2,879,169

 487,556

 14,317,876

Additions

 30,745

 2,711,774

 16,345

 15,391

 2,774,255

Impairment loss

(530,745)

(28,723)

-

-

(559,468)

Transfer to PPE

-

(13,134,202)

(2,895,514)

-

(16,029,716)

30 June 2018

-

-

-

 502,947

 502,947

Additions

-

-

-

 21,000

 21,000

30 June 2019

-

-

-

 523,947

 523,947

 

Specific descriptions of such properties are as follows:

a      Magdalena Borate property

The Magdalena Borate project consists of seven concessions, with a total area of 7,095 hectares. The concessions are 100% owned by MSB. The Magdalena Borate property is subject to a 3% gross overriding royalty payable to Minera Santa Margarita S.A. de C.V., a subsidiary of Rio Tinto PLC, and a 3% gross overriding royalty payable to the estate of the past Chairman of the Group on sales of borate produced from this property.

During the year ended 30 June 2018, the Group determined there to be indicators of impairment on the exploration and evaluation assets located in the Magdalena Borate property based on the Group's decision to not further explore borates or be able to find a buyer for the asset. As such, the Group recognised an impairment of US$530,745, to reduce the carrying value to nil.

During the year ended 30 June 2019, management have no evidence to write back any of the impairments to date.

b      Sonora Lithium Project (La Ventana Lithium and Mexilit Lithium)

On 25 January 2018, the Group published a technical Feasibility Study for the Sonora Lithium Project in accordance with NI 43-101. Under IFRS 6 - Exploration for and Evaluation of Mineral Resources, when the technical feasibility and commercial viability of extracting a mineral resource becomes demonstrable, the asset falls outside the scope of IFRS 6 and therefore the project assets were reclassified to property, plant and equipment.

c      Megalit Lithium property

Three concessions, in Sonora Mexico, Buenavista, Megalit and San Gabriel, fall outside of the scope of the Sonora Lithium Project Feasibility Study. They cover 89,235 hectares and are subject to a separate agreement between the Company and Cadence. As at 31 December 2019, Buenavista, Megalit and San Gabriel concessions were owned by Megalit. Megalit is owned 70% by the Group and 30% by Cadence.

6    Borrowings

On 3 July 2018, the Group entered into a US$150 million senior debt facility with RK Mine Finance ("RK"), a specialist in the provision of senior debt capital to mining companies, for the development of Stage 1 of the Sonora Lithium Project in Mexico.

The Facility is structured as two separate Eurobonds, listed in Jersey: 

Primary bond: US$150 million nominal amount secured notes issued at a purchase price of US$138 million with a 6-year term and bearing an interest rate of three months USD LIBOR + 8% per annum based on a nominal amount of US$150 million but payable only on drawn down principal. Interest will be capitalised every three months for the first 24 months and thereafter interest will be paid every three months in cash;

Second bond: US$56 million nominal amount, zero interest-bearing, secured notes issued at a purchase price of US$12 million with a 20-year term. The nominal amount is repayable by reference to monthly production of lithium at a rate of US$160 per tonne of lithium produced, with any remaining amount repayable at the end of the 20-year term.

The bonds may be drawn in three tranches of US$25 million, US$50 million and US$75 million, subject to certain conditions precedent. The first tranche was drawn down in July 2018. The conditions precedent to further drawdowns include but are not limited to: various matters in respect of the execution, registration and perfection of certain security, the granting of listing consent by The International Stock Exchange, a minimum of US$200 million equity funding raised, energy and engineering contracts executed and relevant permits obtained. All drawdowns under the RK Facility will be pro-rata across the two Eurobond instruments. The loans can be voluntarily redeemed at any stage by repayment of the principal and any outstanding interest and early repayment charges.

RK holds a fixed charge security over the shares of various subsidiaries of the Group except for Bacanora Lithium Plc, Deutsche Lithium GmbH and Zinnwald Lithium Ltd. RK also holds a fixed charge security over certain bank accounts held by the relevant UK and Canadian holding companies and Mexican subsidiaries. RK holds a floating charge over Bacanora Lithium Plc's assets not covered by the fixed charge. RK holds fixed and floating charge over the assets of the relevant Mexican subsidiaries related to the Sonora Lithium Project.

The RK debt facility has a financial covenant to maintain a minimum working capital balance of US$10 million measured monthly for a period until 31 March 2020, after which it increases to US$15 million. Working capital for the purpose of the debt covenant is defined as current assets minus current liabilities, excluding assets and liabilities relating to the German assets and overdue VAT receivables. In addition, there are certain non-financial covenants, including but not limited to the completion of certain operational permits and entering into a direct agreement in relation to the offtake agreement, which were due on 30 June 2019. The due dates for these covenants were predicated on construction commencing in July 2018, when it was anticipated that the full financing for the Sonora Project development to have been completed. The Company received extension of these due dates to 30 September 2019, and subsequently converted these covenants to conditions precedent to the second drawdown of the debt facility.

The effective interest rate of the primary and secondary Eurobonds is 22.4% and 23.4% respectively.

The carrying value of the Group's borrowings at 30 June 2019 is as follows:

In US$

Interest rate

Maturity

30 June 2019

30 June 2018

Primary Eurobond

LIBOR + 8%

2024

 19,418,800

-

Secondary Eurobond

Zero interest bearing

2038

 2,203,367

-

Total non-current borrowings


 21,622,167

-

 

The movement in the Group's borrowings in the year ended 30 June 2019 is as follows:

In US$

Primary Eurobond

Secondary Eurobond

Opening balance

-

-

Initial recognition

 20,304,746

 1,765,630

Transaction fees

(4,871,235)

-

Primary Eurobond finance cost

 2,768,480

-

Eurobond unwinding

 1,216,809

 437,737

Total non-current borrowings

 19,418,800

 2,203,367

 

7    Financial Warrants

The Company granted RK with 6 million warrants alongside the above Eurobonds. The warrants are exercisable over five years at an exercise price of a 20% premium to the 20-day VWAP determined on 3 July 2018, subject to normal anti-dilution provisions, cash settlement at the Company's option, and share exercise at either party's option. The warrants have been initially recorded, as a current liability, at their level 3 hierarchy fair value on 3 July 2018 of US$2.9 million and subsequently revalued on 30 June 2019, determined using the Black-Scholes pricing model with the following inputs. Expected volatility was determined by calculating the historical volatility of the Company's share price since listing. The term used in the model has been adjusted to reflect the period in which the warrants can be exercised.


30 June 2019

03 July 2018

Term 

4.01

5.00

Share Price (£)

0.50

0.83

Exercise Price (£)

0.99

0.99

Volatility

0.65

0.54

Risk Free rate

0.02

0.03

 

8    General and administrative expenses

The Group's general and administrative expenses include the following:

For the year ended (In US$)

30 June 2019

30 June 2018




Legal and accounting fees

 2,758,577

3,810,158

Management fees

 2,708,967

1,510,622

Office expenses

 358,721

121,072

Investor relations

 332,759

828,499

Audit fee

 141,046

138,091

Audit related services

 25,880

30,419

Travel and other expenses

 715,369

888,790

Total

 7,041,319

 7,327,651

 

9    Segmental information

The Group currently operates in three operating segments which includes the exploration and development of mineral properties in Mexico through the development of the Sonora mining concessions and the exploration of mineral properties in Germany through its interest in the Deutsche Lithium joint venture. The Group's head office is located in London, UK. Operating segments as per IFRS 8 are identified by management of the Group as those who; engage in business activities from which revenues may be earnt; whose operating results are regularly reviewed by the Group's management to make decisions about resources to be allocated to the operating segments and to assess its performance; and for which discrete financial information is available. A summary of the identifiable assets, liabilities and net losses by operating segment are as follows:

30 June 2019 (In US$)

Mexico

Germany

Head Office

Consolidated

Current assets

 2,489,568

 193,902

 14,678,442

 17,361,912

Investment in jointly controlled entity

-

 9,347,086

-

 9,347,086

Property, plant and equipment

 29,806,113

-

-

 29,806,113

Exploration and evaluation assets

 523,947

-

-

 523,947

Total assets

 32,819,628

 9,540,988

 14,678,442

 57,039,058

Current liabilities

 436,613

 237,105

 1,037,930

 1,711,648

Borrowings

-

-

 21,622,167

 21,622,167

Warrant liability

-

-

 1,259,923

 1,259,923

Total liabilities

 436,613

 237,105

 23,920,020

 24,593,738

Property, plant and equipment additions

 3,669,329

-

-

 3,669,329

Exploration and evaluation asset additions

 21,000

-

-

 21,000

 

For the year ended 30 June 2019
(In US$)

Mexico

Germany

Head Office

Consolidated

General and administrative

(1,188,846)

-

(5,852,473)

(7,041,319)

Depreciation

(163,581)

-

-

(163,581)

Share-based payment expense

-

-

(800,846)

(800,846)

Foreign exchange gain/(loss)

 67,928

-

(50,347)

 17,581

Operating loss

(1,284,499)

-

(6,703,666)

(7,988,165)

Finance costs

-

-

(4,423,032)

(4,423,032)

Finance income

 784

-

 1,918,340

 1,919,124

Joint venture investment loss

-

(168,679)

-

(168,679)

Revaluation of derivative asset

-

(421,698)

-

(421,698)

Gain/loss on fixed asset disposals

 28,702

-

-

 28,702

Tax charge

(5,012)

-

-

(5,012)

Segment loss for the year

(1,260,025)

(590,377)

(9,208,358)

(11,058,760)

 

30 June 2018 (In US$)

Mexico

Germany

Head Office

Consolidated

Current assets

 1,948,810

-

 12,726,362

 14,675,172

Investment in jointly controlled entity

-

 8,426,134

-

 8,426,134

Derivative asset

-

 615,011

-

 615,011

Property, plant and equipment

 26,391,422

-

-

 26,391,422

Exploration and evaluation assets

 502,947

-

-

 502,947

Total assets

 28,843,179

 9,041,145

 12,726,362

 50,610,686

Current liabilities

 4,084,320

 1,591,652

 2,299,510

 7,975,482

Total liabilities

 4,084,320

 1,591,652

 2,299,510

 7,975,482

Property, plant and equipment additions

 8,860,687

-

-

 8,860,687

Exploration and evaluation asset additions

 2,774,255

-

-

 2,774,255

 

For the year ended 30 June 2018

Mexico

Germany

Head Office

Consolidated

(In US$)

General and administrative

(572,382)

-

(6,755,269)

(7,327,651)

Depreciation

(149,724)

-

-

(149,724)

Share-based payment expense

(83,256)

-

(1,793,839)

(1,877,095)

Foreign exchange loss

(139,311)

-

(623,967)

(763,278)

Impairment of exploration and evaluation assets

(559,468)

-

-

(559,468)

Operating loss

(1,504,141)

-

(9,173,075)

(10,677,216)

Finance income

 17,569

-

 195,109

 212,678

Finance costs

-

(662,299)

-

(662,299)

Joint venture investment loss

-

(147,403)

-

(147,403)

Revaluation of derivative asset

-

(1,521,046)

-

(1,521,046)

Gain/loss on fixed asset disposals

(51,119)

-

-

(51,119)

Income tax

 60,544

-

-

 60,544

Segment loss for the year

(1,477,147)

(2,330,748)

(8,977,966)

(12,785,861)

 

10  Subsequent events

In June 2019, the Bacanora Group entered into a strategic investment agreement with Ganfeng Lithium Co., Ltd, were Ganfeng would

·      subscribe for a 29.99% equity interest in Bacanora for a cash consideration of £14,400,091, being 57,600,364 new ordinary shares in the Company at a price of 25 pence per share, representing the volume weighted average price ("VWAP") on AIM of the Company's shares over the previous 20 trading days at the time of negotiation

·      appoint one Director to the Board of the Bacanora Lithium Plc

·      Acquire the right to an initial 22.5% interest in the Sonora Lithium Limited, for a cash payment of £7,563,649, equivalent to a price of 25 pence per share

·      Ganfeng would have an option to increase its interest in the Sonora Lithium Limited to up to 50% from 22.5%, within 24 months of the completion of the initial investment. The valuation of any additional investment by Ganfeng would be based on the share price of Bacanora Lithium Plc at the time of the additional purchase.

·      appoint one Director to the Board of the Sonora Lithium Limited

·      acquire a long-term offtake at a market-based price per tonne for 50% of Stage 1 lithium production and up to 75% of Stage 2 lithium production

·      complete a review within six months of the EPC engineering design and capital costs of the Sonora Lithium Project with a view to reducing costs and accelerating the timetable

·      provide a plant and process commissioning team to assist Bacanora in delivering first production in 2021

The signed agreements for the strategic investment were submitted to the relevant authorities in China for approval and completion. The approvals were acquired post the balance sheet date of 30 June 2019, with the transaction completing on 18 October 2019.

Prior to the investments by Ganfeng, the Group performed a reorganisation in which Sonora Lithium Limited purchased Bacanora Lithium Plc's 100% shareholding in Bacanora Minerals Limited in order to create a single project holding company.

On 12 September 2019, Derek Batorowski resigned from the Board of Directors of the Company.

On 18 October 2019, Mr. Wang Xiaoshen, the Deputy Chairman of Ganfeng Lithium, joined the Board of Directors of the Company.


This information is provided by RNS, the news service of the London Stock Exchange. RNS is approved by the Financial Conduct Authority to act as a Primary Information Provider in the United Kingdom. Terms and conditions relating to the use and distribution of this information may apply. For further information, please contact [email protected] or visit www.rns.com.
 
END
 
 
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