(Refiles May 2 story to remove extraneous word in paragraph 5)
By Nicole Mordant
May 2 (Reuters) – Sigma Lithium Resources is set to list in Toronto next week, company executives said on Wednesday, as the Brazil-based lithium mine developer eyes a wave of demand for the metal used in rechargeable batteries for iPhones and electric cars.
Sigma fell short of raising up to a planned C$30 million ($23.29 million) from investors, instead raising C$20 million. It blamed the shortfall on the timing of its financing in early February when the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell more than 10 percent in a week.
The company, which is developing a large lithium hard rock deposit in the Brazilian state of Minas Gerais, will list on the TSX Venture Exchange, the Toronto Stock Exchange’s market for small start-ups, by next Wednesday, Executive Chairman Calvyn Gardner said in an interview.
It is waiting for a final trade start date from the exchange.
The company, which is 72 percent-owned by A10, a Brazilian private equity firm, and will have a market value of around C$130 million, joins an expanding field of lithium mine developers globally, spurred by expectations of surging demand from the electric vehicle industry which has caused prices to more than double in the past two years.
Sigma is developing one of only two hard-rock lithium projects in South America, Gardner, a former Anglo American executive, said. The continent is better known for its vast lithium brine deposits that supply about half of the world’s lithium.
“We think being in very pure hard rock concentrate … we are in a good position,” said Sigma director Ana Cabral, pointing to faster-growing demand for lithium hydroxide, which comes from hard rock deposits, compared to lithium carbonate, which is produced from brines.
Western Australia is the world leader in hard rock lithium supply after a mushrooming of producers there in recent years, driven in part by proximity to China where most of the processing plants to produce battery-grade lithium hydroxide are located.
Sigma, which is likely to sell most of its lithium concentrate to Chinese buyers, is confident it can offset the shipping costs and remain competitive with Australian rivals due in part to Brazil’s lower electricity and labor costs, key costs in lithium mining.
Sigma plans to finish a project feasibility study in the fourth quarter of this year and is aiming for full-scale production in 2020. ($1 = 1.2881 Canadian dollars) (Reporting by Nicole Mordant in Vancouver; editing by Leslie Adler)
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