North American mining company Livent has admitted to underselling lithium in Argentina for US$8 million in line with export rights. The customs department had detected the maneuver in July last year. The recognition was reflected in the balance sheet that the company presented at the time of the announcement of its merger with Alkem Mining Company.
The Ministry of Economy warned through a technical team that in balances submitted to the New York Stock Exchange, Livent recognized under-invoicing of US$8 million in 413 export operations carried out from Catamarca to the United States between 2018 and 2019 Granted, which has since reflected the fines imposed by Argentine Customs.
At the time of the theft confirmation, Customs imposed a fine of $6.700 million, but the mining company only paid Catamarca a restitution of $197 million to be paid as royalties and additional contributions. On that occasion, the agency had verified that the price per kilo of lithium supplied by Livent was US$6.41; Whereas in Jujuy it was sold for US$ 54.07 per kg, which means 843% less turnover.
There is a dual basis of calculation for determining the value of lithium, which varies between the amount of the strict billing amount or the average market value between Argentina and Chile, and royalties and additional contributions are executed with respect to the higher value between the two. are, according to what is reflected in the final contract between Catamarca and Livent for the Fenix project.
In this sense, the Ministry of Mines recognized that with the increase in demand for lithium, the market price was higher, so Livent fixes the percentage of contribution based on the billing amount, but then compares them with the prices and pays a reassessment. is done. ,
During the past week, a merger was announced between the companies Livent and Alchem, the main lithium operators in Argentina. The first operates the Fenix project in Salar del Hombre Muerto, located in Antofagasta de la Sierra, Catamarca. The second, for its part, is the main shareholder of Sales de Jujuy, which exploits lithium in the Salar de Olaros in that province; It also owns the ‘Sal de Vida’ project in Catamarca, formerly owned by Galaxy Resources.
The merger would allow them to create a company valued at US$10.6 billion and become the world’s fifth largest company in the sector behind Albemarle Corp, Sociedad Quimica y Minera de Chile SA, Ganfeng Lithium Group and Tianqi Lithium Corp. To be distributed in 56% for Alkem Partners and 44% for Livent Partners.