Comstock Secures Majority Interest in Lithium-Ion Battery Recycling Company; Facility Plans 10,000 Tons Per Year of 99.9% Pure Lithium-ion Cathodes for Clean Energy Transition

February 17, 2021 6:45 AM EST

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VIRGINIA CITY, Nev., Feb. 17, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Comstock Mining Inc. (NYSE: LODE) (“Comstock” and the “Company”) today announced transactions securing the rights to a majority equity stake in LINICO Corporation (“LiNiCo”), a lithium-ion battery (“LIB”) recycling company who recently acquired a state-of-the-art battery metal recycling facility from Aqua Metals, Inc. (“Aqua Metals”) located in the Tahoe Reno Industrial (“TRI”) Center in Storey County, Nevada. The Company will pay $4,500,000 in cash and 3,000,000 shares of its restricted common stock, representing up to $10,750,000 in consideration for up to a 64% ownership stake in LiNiCo. Aqua Metals is investing $2,000,000 for a 10% stake in LiNiCo.

LiNiCo will use the proceeds to increase its direct strategic investment in Green Li-ion Pte, Ltd. (“Green Li-ion”), purchase Green Li-ion’s patented process equipment, with exclusive rights for the U.S. market, enabling the production of 99.9% pure lithium-ion cathodes. LiNiCo’s Chief Executive Officer and Founder, Michael Vogel commented, “Our agreements accelerate the race towards reducing carbon emissions by valorizing critical metals and supporting the increasingly high demand for electric vehicles (“EVs”). Aligning ourselves with Comstock, Green Li-ion and Aqua Metals creates a unique ecosystem of complimentary companies.”

LiNiCo’s facility was designed for, and perfectly situated to, receive, crush, and separate battery materials into black mass. Green Li-ion’s technology has been proven to convert black mass into rejuvenated, high purity, battery grade metals and essentially pure cathodes for a fraction of the cost and time of conventional solutions.

Extraordinary Growth

Lithium-ion battery production capacity has increased tenfold in the past decade. According to a recent report from the International Energy Agency (“IEA”), demand for lithium is expected to significantly increase to fill global demand for electric vehicles (“EVs”). ARK Invest recently concluded that EV sales will increase to about 40% of global auto sales within five to six years. Tesla CEO Elon Musk recently provided a similar estimate, tweeting his view that the industry could produce 30 million EVs per year by 2027.

Hitting that output will require about 1.8 million tons per year of lithium carbonate equivalent (“LCE”), or about five times more than the entire lithium mining industry produces today, and fifteen times the total LCE used in new EVs in 2020. The miners and manufacturers can scale up to meet that demand, however, according to a January 2020 USGS mineral commodity summary, there are only about 80 million tons of identified lithium resources worldwide, and EV batteries are typically landfilled after eight to ten years of use. A recent report by independent analysts, Yole Développement estimated that expired LIBs are landfilled annually with over $300 million in strategic metals, an amount estimated to grow to over $1.2 billion in strategic metals by 2025 and $24 billion by 2040.

Creating Closed Loop Systems for Clean Energy with Climate Smart Mining

“Continued advances in energy storage are inevitable, but no resource is infinite, and most of that lithium will need to be recovered and reused at some point,” said Corrado De Gasperis, Comstock’s Executive Chairman and CEO. “We see spent lithium-ion batteries as a potent industrial mineral, and – as with any resource, we need the right team, technology, and infrastructure to extract and process it. This transaction assembles all three into an ecosystem of aligned partners, operating systemically on a common goal.”

LiNiCo plans to commence production later this year, building toward cathode production capacity of about 10,000 tons per year. At just 33% of that rate and 60% of applicable commodity prices, the LiNiCo facility should generate more than $100 million in sales with pre-tax operating income margins exceeding 30%, adding 40 good paying Nevada jobs and making a landmark contribution to Comstock’s Environmental, Social and Corporate Governance (“ESG”), Product and Process Stewardship and Climate Smart Mining goals.

Mr. De Gasperis concluded, “We believe that this acquisition builds on Comstock’s strategy for developing high-cash generating, conservation-based processes that valorize these increasingly strategic, critical resources. We have now diversified into the critical electrification metals, including silver, lithium, nickel and cobalt, complementing and expanding on our existing precious metal processing competencies. Our objective is to renew these scarce resources while driving sustained value growth for all of our stakeholders – financial, natural and social. We are passionate stewards of our environment, developing closed loop projects that offset the environmental and social costs of conventional mining practices.”

Remarkably, each ton of conventionally mined lithium extraction can require nearly 2,000 tons of water utilization whereas LiNiCo’s process and the existing water recycling system in LiNiCo’s state-of-the art facility only consumes a tiny fraction of that amount to produce the same output, significantly enhancing conservation.

LiNiCo’s battery recycling facility is located in the immediate vicinity of Tesla’s Gigafactory #1 in TRI Center.

A photo accompanying this announcement is available at: https://www.comstockmining.com/press-releases/comstock-secures…nergy-transition/

About LINICO Corporation (“LiNiCo”) LINICO Corporation is a cleantech startup, with a state-of-the art battery metals recycling facility focused on commercializing economically viable and environmentally sustainable technologies for lithium-ion battery recycling. LiNiCo’s goal is to alleviate the global reliance on harmful mining activities that are used in the production of critical metals, to support the increasingly high demand and shortage of these critical metals, to close-the-loop on sustainable practices for end-of-life lithium-ion batteries and to support a clean energy economy. To learn more, please visit www.linico.io.

About Green Li-Ion Pte, Ltd. Green Li-Ion solves the existential risk to the precious metals industry and the environment. With patented deep technology that is cleaner, faster and four times more profitable than current lithium ion battery recycling. Green Li-Ion technology is the only closed loop technology to fully rejuvenate the lithium ion battery cathode for the circular economy. Green Li-Ion's Multi-Cathode technology and GLMC-1 control unit enhances current lithium ion battery recycling lines to produce 99.9% pure cathodes. To learn more please visit www.greenli-ion.com.

About Aqua Metals, Inc. Aqua Metals, Inc. is a leading innovator in lead battery metal recycling with its patented hydrometallurgical AquaRefining™ technology. The modular Aqualyzers™ cleanly generate ultra-pure metal one atom at a time, closing the sustainability loop for the rapidly growing energy storage economy. Aqua Metals’ offerings include equipment supply, services and licensing of the AquaRefining technology to recyclers across the globe. Aqua Metals is based in McCarran, Nevada. To learn more, please visit www.aquametals.com.

About Comstock Mining Inc. Comstock Mining Inc. (NYSE: LODE) (the “Company”) is an emerging leader in sustainable mineral development and production of environment-enhancing, increasingly scarce strategic and precious metals, focused on conservation-based waste, high-value, cash-generating, mineral and metals essential to meeting the rapidly increasing demand for clean energy technologies. The Company has extensive, contiguous property in the historic, world-class Comstock and Silver City mining districts (collectively, the “Comstock District”) with fully permitted, metallurgical labs and an operational, mineral processing and beneficiation platform that includes a growing portfolio of mercury remediation, gold and silver extraction facilities. To learn more, please visit www.comstockmining.com.

Forward-Looking StatementsThis press release and any related calls or discussions may include forward-looking statements within the meaning of Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933, as amended, and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended. All statements, other than statements of historical facts, are forward-looking statements. The words “believe,” “expect,” “anticipate,” “estimate,” “project,” “plan,” “should,” “intend,” “may,” “will,” “would,” “potential” and similar expressions identify forward-looking statements, but are not the exclusive means of doing so. Forward-looking statements include statements about matters such as: consummation of all pending transactions; project, asset or Company valuations; future industry market conditions; future explorations, acquisitions, investments and asset sales; future performance of and closings under various agreements; future changes in our exploration activities; future estimated mineral resources; future prices and sales of, and demand for, our products; future operating margins; available resources; environmental conservation outcomes; future impacts of land entitlements and uses; future permitting activities and needs therefor; future production capacity and operations; future operating and overhead costs; future capital expenditures and their impact on us; future impacts of operational and management changes (including changes in the board of directors); future changes in business strategies, planning and tactics and impacts of recent or future changes; future employment and contributions of personnel, including consultants; future land sales, investments, acquisitions, joint ventures, strategic alliances, business combinations, operational, tax, financial and restructuring initiatives; the nature and timing of and accounting for restructuring charges and derivative liabilities and the impact thereof; contingencies; future environmental compliance and changes in the regulatory environment; future offerings of equity or debt securities; asset sales and associated costs; future working capital, costs, revenues, business opportunities, debt levels, cash flows, margins, earnings and growth. These statements are based on assumptions and assessments made by our management in light of their experience and their perception of historical and current trends, current conditions, possible future developments and other factors they believe to be appropriate. Forward-looking statements are not guarantees, representations or warranties and are subject to risks and uncertainties, many of which are unforeseeable and beyond our control and could cause actual results, developments and business decisions to differ materially from those contemplated by such forward-looking statements. Some of those risks and uncertainties include the risk factors set forth in our filings with the SEC and the following: counterparty risks; capital markets’ valuation and pricing risks; adverse effects of climate changes or natural disasters; global economic and capital market uncertainties; the speculative nature of gold or mineral exploration, including risks of diminishing quantities or grades of qualified resources; operational or technical difficulties in connection with exploration or mining activities; contests over title to properties; potential dilution to our stockholders from our stock issuances and recapitalization and balance sheet restructuring activities; potential inability to comply with applicable government regulations or law; adoption of or changes in legislation or regulations adversely affecting businesses; permitting constraints or delays; decisions regarding business opportunities that may be presented to, or pursued by, us or others; the impact of, or the non-performance by parties under agreements relating to, acquisitions, joint ventures, strategic alliances, business combinations, asset sales, leases, options and investments to which we may be party; changes in the United States or other monetary or fiscal policies or regulations; interruptions in production capabilities due to capital constraints; equipment failures; fluctuation of prices for gold or certain other commodities (such as silver, zinc, cyanide, water, diesel fuel and electricity); changes in generally accepted accounting principles; adverse effects of terrorism and geopolitical events; potential inability to implement business strategies; potential inability to grow revenues; potential inability to attract and retain key personnel; interruptions in delivery of critical supplies, equipment and raw materials due to credit or other limitations imposed by vendors or others; assertion of claims, lawsuits and proceedings; potential inability to satisfy debt and lease obligations; potential inability to maintain an effective system of internal controls over financial reporting; potential inability or failure to timely file periodic reports with the SEC; potential inability to list our securities on any securities exchange or market; inability to maintain the listing of our securities; and work stoppages or other labor difficulties. Occurrence of such events or circumstances could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, results of operations or cash flows or the market price of our securities. All subsequent written and oral forward-looking statements by or attributable to us or persons acting on our behalf are expressly qualified in their entirety by these factors. Except as may be required by securities or other law, we undertake no obligation to publicly update or revise any forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events, or otherwise.

Neither this press release nor any related calls or discussions constitutes an offer to sell, the solicitation of an offer to buy or a recommendation with respect to any securities of the Company, the fund or any other issuer.

Contact information:  
Comstock Mining Inc.P.O. Box 1118 Virginia City, NV 89440ComstockMining.comCorrado De GasperisExecutive Chairman & CEOTel (775) 847-4755degasperis@comstockmining.comZach SpencerDirector of External RelationsTel (775) 847-5272 Ext.151questions@comstockmining.com

 

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Source: Comstock Mining Inc.


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