As reported in September this year, Neo Lithium struck a C$8.5 million investment deal from Contemporary Amperex Technology (CATL) - a Chinese manufacturer of lithium-ion batteries for electric vehicles (EVs).
READ: Neo Lithium poised for C$8.5M investment from leading Chinese battery manufacturer; shares surge
Today, the firm revealed that CATL had now received regulatory approval from the Ningbo Municipal Development and Reform Commission over the equity subscription, but remaining Chinese regulatory approvals, including approval from the Ningbo Municipal Bureau of Commerce (NBMOFCOM) and the State Administration of Foreign Exchange (SAFE) are still pending.
Amid the easing, in Argentina, of COVID-19 restrictions, Neo Lithium has mobilized its engineering team to the lithium carbonate pilot plant at the project, the company said.
Operations here will re-start to produce a larger sample of battery grade lithium carbonate with an updated process, which uses less than half the fresh water when compared to the original process described in the pre-feasibility study and less reagents.
Neo Lithium has also hired Groundwater Insight to update the resource and reserve estimates at 3Q, to be used in the final feasibility, using two drill holes that were completed after the previous estimate.
"The company is in the final stages of engaging a major engineering company that will complete the final feasibility study, and will be announced soon after the final PRC approvals are obtained by CATL," the firm also said in the statement.
"Since much of the previous work has already been completed, it is estimated that the final feasibility will be completed between 6 to 9 months after the engineering company is engaged," it added.
In September, the group said the CATL investment would strengthen Neo Lithium's finances and move it a step closer to the development and construction of the 3Q project.
CATL will be entitled to nominate one non-executive director to Neo Lithium's board, while it holds at least 8% of equity. It also the right to participate in future equity offerings in order to maintain its ownership.
The 3Q project sits in the Catamarca Province, the largest lithium producing area in Argentina, covering around 35,000 hectares (ha), including a salar complex of around 16,000 ha.
Contact the author at firstname.lastname@example.org