21 December 2017 0 Comments Posted By : Derrick Penner

Founder of Vancouver lithium venture cashes in on decarbonizing the economy

In 2015, Vancouver junior-mining financier Brian Paes-Braga bet that it would be good business to get into supplying materials  for fossil-fuel-free transportation.

This week, the 29-year-old Paes-Braga and his partners in the venture they founded, Lithium X Energy Corp., cashed in on that bet with a $265-million deal to sell the company to Chinese firm NextView New Energy Lion Hong Kong Ltd.

For shareholders, the sale is a good pay out for the $50 million they’ve raised to secure lithium-development projects, Paes-Braga said, with the cornerstone deposit being a proposal to extract lithium carbonate from salt water in Argentina.

“For me, the reason I did this company in the first place (is that) I’m a big believer weaning the world off fossil fuels,” Paes-Braga said. “That was the mission of the company.”

Now, provided the deal is completed, it will be NextView New Energy that will develop Lithium X’s assets, including the flagship Sal de los Angeles property in Argentina, to supply lithium batter manufacturers in China.

Lithium X shareholders get to vote on the proposal in February, but company directors and officers, including Paes-Braga, have vowed to vote in favour of it.

The deal will see NextView pay Lithium X $2.61 per share for their holdings, which trade on the TSX Venture Exchange stock market.

“The acquisition of Lithium X’s wholly owned flagship project, the Sal de los Angeles lithium project represents a cornerstone investment in NextView’s strategy of developing a leading global player in the new energy sector,” Yaping He, NextView’s managing director said in a news release.

It is NextView’s second transaction in two weeks, the Financial Post reported, following the purchase of a 20-per-cent stake in Banacora Minerals, which has a lithium project in Mexico.

Lithium, long used in pharmaceuticals, in the manufacture of ceramics and various industrial uses, has seen demand soar for its applications in battery technology for electric cars and power storage.

Other Chinese firms are also scrambling to secure the lightweight metal used in rechargeable batteries, according to the Financial Post report, to fuel a booming market in China for lithium ion batteries.

Paes-Braga grew up in West Vancouver and started his career in finance at age 20 after dropping out of the University of Calgary.

He was a stock broker first, then investment banker helping resource companies raise money for projects and Paes-Braga said his experience in that field led him to believe lithium had the right supply/demand outlook for getting into business.

Paes-Braga pitched business mentor and renowned Vancouver mining financier Frank Giustra at Fiore Capital on the idea, who jumped in as the lead investor in Lithium X’s first round of financing.

Another top mining figure, Paul Matysek, who had previously served as CEO to companies including Potash One and Lithium One, joined Lithium X as executive chairman and Paes-Braga characterized him as key to developing the firm.

Paes-Braga declined to disclose how much he will benefit financially from the deal, but Lithium X’s last public information circular, filed in November, showed that he owned just over 3.4 million shares of company stock, which would be worth about $9 million under the deal.

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