Li3 Energy Reports Initial Canadian National Institute 43-101 Results

Maricunga, Deemed "Property of Merit"

May 31, 2011, 04:00 ET from Li3 Energy, Inc.

LIMA, Peru, May 31, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Li3 Energy, Inc., (OTC Bulletin Board: LIEG) ("Li3", "Li3 Energy" or the "Company"), a US-listed and Peruvian-based global exploration company in the lithium and minerals sector is pleased to announce the independent findings of technical report NI 43-101 conducted by Hains Technology Associates.  Mr. Don Hains is the principal of Hains Technology Associates of Toronto, Ontario, a graduate of Queen's University, Kingston, Ontario in 1974, and a registered professional geoscientist in the Province of Ontario.  Mr. Hains has worked as a geoscientist for 25 years and has performed various economic and geological studies related to the production of lithium and potassium from brines. In addition, he has performed evaluation studies of various brine salar deposits in Chile and Argentina (Pozuelos, Cauchari, Pocitos, Centenario, Hombre de Muerto, Diaballos, Atacama, and Rincon).  Mr. Hains is a "qualified person" as defined by the Canadian National Instrument 43-101.  With a controlling interest in the Maricunga property, (ranked by SignumBOX as one of the top ten lithium projects in the world) and its other prospective strategic lithium and other mineral holdings, Li3 is now firmly focused on commercializing this asset as well as on the acquisition and development of additionally highly prospective lithium brine properties throughout the Americas. The key highlights of the NI 43-101 compliant report and other relevant preliminary SLM Litio (2007) and CORFO (1982) data on Maricunga include the following:

  • Maricunga  can be considered as a "Property of Merit" holding sufficient exploration potential to warrant expenditures to advance the project to the prefeasibility stage;
  • The property holds significant potential for development as a source of lithium, potassium and boron;
  • Exploration work indicates that the brines in the property are enriched in lithium and potassium and that the brine has a Mg/Li ratio permitting lithium recovery;
  • Due diligence exploration work conducted by Li3 in 2011 confirms the exploration results obtained by SLM Litio and CORFO;
  • Classified as a mixed type of salar of the Na-Cl-Ca-/SO4 system;
  • Historical hydrology and hydro-geological work indicated that the aquifers feeding the salar are highly productive;
  • Possible to develop a NI 43-101 compliant resource approximately equivalent to the historical estimate;
  • Electrical and road infrastructure is in place to support preliminary development;
  • Relatively high boron concentration in the brine should permit high extraction rates for recovery as boric acid, a valuable co-product;
  • Sulphate in the brine is unusually low for a Chilean salar, reducing the need for additional reagents for sulphate removal;

The following data has been compiled from earlier sources and will be further validated upon the completion of the Preliminary NI 43 -101 Economic Assessment Report which Li3 is anticipating by the end of the 4th quarter of 2011:

  • Lowest cost of production versus other Chilean salars;
  • After Atacama, Maricunga has the second highest quality deposit of lithium in Chile;
  • Maricunga is located in a world class Chilean mining region and is the 7th largest lithium brine resource in the world;
  • Initial drilling estimated assay values of 1.1g/L lithium, 7.93 g/L potassium, 1.81 q/L boron and 6.6 g/L magnesium;

Li3 plans to leverage synergies in other potential mineral projects where potassium chloride production is planned to be used in the production of potassium nitrate. The by-product sodium sulphate from these potential projects will be returned to Maricunga to adjust the sulphate balance for calcium removal.  Li3 plans to post the NI 43 -101 report in its entirety on its website by the end of the day.

Tom Currin, COO/CTO of Li3 Energy, stated: "The findings of the NI 43 -101 and other preliminary data support our opinion of the strength of this strategic asset."  Luis Saenz, CEO of Li3 Energy, stated: "With the closing of our funding and acquisition of the Maricunga property now complete, we can focus all of our energy on the initial work programs necessary to complete feasibility studies and the NI 43–101 Preliminary Economic Assessment report.  Armed with this data, Li3 looks forward to the future and unlocking the full potential of Maricunga, commercializing the asset and creating value for all of our stakeholders and strategic partners."

With the acquisition and initial exploration funding complete and the Memorandum of Understanding with POSCO (NYSE: PKX) to explore a strategic relationship, Li3 has entered the feasibility phase on Maricunga and has begun the initial $3.8 million development work program on the project.  Li3 will continue to explore synergistic opportunities to further augment and strengthen this property and its land portfolio throughout the region.  

About Li3 Energy, Inc.

Li3 Energy, Inc. is a developmental stage public company in the lithium mining and energy sector focused on the identification and acquisition of properties in Peru, Argentina and Chile.  Li3 Energy aims to acquire a significant portfolio of lithium brine deposits in the Americas for the purpose of development and production in order to meet growing market demand and to support the clean energy and green energy initiatives being implemented globally.  Additional information regarding the company can be found in our recent current filings (Forms 8k, 10Q and 10K) with the SEC as well as the information maintained on our website  

Forward-Looking Statements

All statements other than statements of historical facts included in this news release including, without limitation, statements preceded by, followed by or that otherwise include the words "believes," "expects," "anticipates," "intends," "estimates," "projects," "potential," "target," "goal," "plans," "objective," "should" or similar expressions or variations on such expressions are forward-looking statements. The Company can give no assurances that the assumptions upon which the forward-looking statements are based will prove to be correct.  Because forward-looking statements are subject to risks and uncertainties, actual results may differ materially from those expressed or implied by the forward-looking statements.

There are a number of risks, uncertainties and other important factors that could cause the Company's actual results to differ materially from the forward-looking statements, including, but not limited to: the results of initial exploration, and the determination by Li3 and POSCO whether to pursue any of the transactions contemplated by the MOU; the Company's ability to raise additional capital to complete exploration, development and commercialization of the Maricunga Project; the future findings and economic assessment reports; the Company's ability to identify appropriate corporate acquisition and/or joint venture opportunities in the lithium mining sector and to establish the technical and managerial infrastructure, and to raise the required capital, to take advantage of, and successfully participate in such opportunities; future economic conditions; political stability; and lithium prices.  For further information about certain risks faced by the Company, see "Risk Factors" in Part I, Item 1A of Amendment No. 1 to our Annual Report on Form 10-K, filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission on November 5, 2010.  The Company disclaims any obligations or undertaking to publicly release any updates or revisions to any forward-looking statement contained in this news release to reflect any change in its expectations with regard thereto or any change in events, conditions or circumstances on which any such statement is based.

SOURCE Li3 Energy, Inc.