Clontarf Energy plc, the energy company focused on lithium brines, and petroleum projects, is pleased to update shareholders on progress:
· The Bolivian State Lithium Company ("YLB") formally launched, on 26th January, its second Call for Bids ("convocatoria") over seven priority salares (salt pans) in Potosí and Oruro. This ambitious bid round targets much of the world's large and medium-sized salares and includes scope for Direct Lithium Extraction proposals. This will provide a firm legal basis for work, under Bolivian laws.
· This major convocatoria applies to all commercial evaporite products, with a special focus on battery grade Lithium salts.
· Clontarf has been encouraged to submit bids on further development of the key Uyuni, Coipasa, Pastos Grandes, Capina, Cañapa, Chiguana and Empexa salares. These are the priority salt pans identified by Clontarf's technical team in 2018. The team has conducted sampling and initial tests on most of these salares.
· Initial laboratory results from work on the official YLB samples provided recently were highly encouraging. Lithium levels were high in the key samples, while impurities are not expected to trouble our Joint Venture's Direct Lithium Extraction process.
· Accordingly, the Joint Venture's technical process, and key components, especially sensors and membranes, are being fine-tuned and upgraded in accordance with brine composition, including impurities levels.
· For best results, this involves further improvements in membrane design and construction, as well as fine-tuning the planned plants' layouts.
· Clontarf's current plan is to offer to deploy a test-plant to one or more salares by the end of 2024.
· The start of operations at the Texas pilot plant is now scheduled for Q2 2024. Timeframes have been adjusted for better results over longer periods, to fulfil possibly higher future customer requirements. Key commissioning staff are being mobilised, and the pilot plant is being assembled.
· Clontarf is also actively participating in the priority European Union ("EU") lithium initiative. This included a European Union delegation to Bolivia and Argentina during November and December 2023, which included several site visits, as well as high-level official meetings. This initiative may lead to additional cooperation agreements and may benefit from EU support.
· Further updates will be provided, as appropriate, in accordance with necessary clearances from the authorities.
David Horgan, Chairman, commented: "The new convocatoria, or formal Call for Bids, gives both sides a legally-binding basis for exploration and development agreements in joint venture with national authorities. For Clontarf, this represents a vindication of years of work since 2018.
"Similarly, the EU Commission's Critical Minerals initiative is something we have argued for since 2008. The high-powered EU delegation to Bolivia and Argentina during late 2023 studied how critical South American brines are to supplying adequate volumes of premium clean battery-grade lithium. Follow-up discussions are scheduled during February 2024. Clontarf will participate vigorously in this initiative.
"Our team is active in South America, and elsewhere. We are keen to accelerate work in accordance with local regulations. Our long-term plan is developing as hoped.
"The battery-grade Lithium products industry will evolve rapidly over the coming months. The future has arrived."
This announcement contains inside information for the purposes of Article 7 of Regulation (EU)