VIRGINIA CITY, Nev., Jan. 05, 2022 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Comstock Mining Inc. (NYSE: LODE) (“Comstock” and the “Company”) today announced its acquisition of an additional 3,129,081 common shares in LINICO Corporation (“LiNiCo”) from LiNiCo’s founder, Michael Vogel, in exchange for 3,500,000 restricted Comstock common shares, and acquired an additional 4,075 Series A Preferred shares, thereby increasing Comstock’s overall ownership to approximately 90% from approximately 45% of LiNiCo.
LiNiCo is an emerging leader in the production of electrification products, including lithium carbonate and graphite from recycled lithium-ion batteries (“LIB”) with its proprietary extraction technologies. LiNiCo’s first state-of-the-art production facility is currently being retrofitted and scheduled to commence initial production with a feedstock crushing capacity of over 35,000 tons per year during the second half 2022, with the ultimate facility capacity designed and permitted for over 100,000 tons per year.
“Increasing our investment in LiNiCo was a natural extension of our plan to build high-cash generating processes that tap into massive markets and decarbonize the supply chains of increasingly scarce natural resources,” said Corrado De Gasperis, Comstock’s Executive Chairman and Chief Executive Officer. “We believe that LiNiCo’s pioneering extraction technologies will quickly prove to be the best, most sustainable, and most valuable process for the production of lithium and other electrification products from both recycled batteries and virgin natural resources. Increasing our stake to approximately 90% will allow us to fully consolidate and control LiNiCo’s business plans, revenue and earnings, while enabling our shareholders to participate in the expected significant positive impact of LiNiCo’s business and related proprietary technologies on Comstock’s valuation.”
According to International Energy Agency (“IEA”), there were more than 10 million electric vehicles (“EVs”) on the road at the end of 2020, with new EV registrations increasing by 41% over 2019 and another 140% during the first quarter of 2021 as compared to the same period in 2020. Meeting the increased EV demand is estimated to require about five times more lithium carbonate equivalent (“LCE”) than the entire lithium mining industry produces today. Miners and manufacturers can scale up to meet that demand, however, according to a January 2021 USGS mineral commodity summary, there are only about 86 million tons of identified lithium reserves worldwide, and EV batteries are typically landfilled after eight to ten years of use. A report published in 2021 by Lux Research estimated that more than 140 gigawatt-hours of LIBs will reach end of life by 2035, an eightfold increase over the end-of-life estimates for 2020, making quality LIB recycling vital to global electrification initiatives.
The remaining 10% of LiNiCo is owned by Aqua Metals Inc. (NASDAQ: AQMS), a cleantech innovator focused on environmentally closed-loop battery recycling. Comstock and Aqua Metals announced the execution of a collaboration agreement to accelerate decarbonization by producing renewable electrification products that support the increasingly high demand for EVs. LiNiCo would use this technology to process secondary metal concentrates into high-purity nickel, cobalt, and other metals.
“LiNiCo’s partnerships and propriety technologies differentiate us from our peers by enabling the up-front extraction of lithium and the direct refining of nickel, cobalt, and other metals. We are looking forward to incorporating these new processes into our facility and offering best-in-class, sustainable electrification products at a fraction of the costs,” concluded Mr. De Gasperis.
About Comstock Mining Inc.
Comstock Mining Inc. (NYSE: LODE) (the “Company”) is an emerging innovator and leader in the sustainable extraction, valorization, and production of scarce natural resources, with a focus on high value strategic materials that are essential to meeting the rapidly increasing global demand for clean renewable energy, carbon-neutrality, and natural products. To learn more, please visit www.comstockmining.com.
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