business people shaking hands

Core is fully funded and set to deliver first production of lithium concentrate from the project in Q4 2022.

Australia’s Core Lithium (ASX:CXO) has signed a lithium supply deal with electric vehicle maker Tesla (NASDAQ:TSLA) as demand for the raw material continues to increase.

Shares of the Northern Territory-focused company jumped almost 15 percent following the news, from a closing price of AU$0.83 on Tuesday (March 1) to AU$0.95 on Wednesday (March 2).

The legally binding term sheet with Elon Musk’s Tesla will see Core Lithium supply the car company with up to 110,000 tonnes of lithium oxide spodumene concentrate from its Finniss lithium project over four years.


Core will begin supplying Tesla in the second half of 2023. Pricing for the material will be referenced to the market price for spodumene concentrate, but will be subject to a price floor and ceiling.

Construction at Finniss, located near Darwin, kicked off last year after a final investment decision in September. Core is fully funded and set to deliver first output of lithium concentrate from the project in Q4 2022.

A definitive feasibility study published in 2021 for Finnis shows average production of 175,000 tonnes per year of high-quality lithium concentrate at a C1 operation expenditure of US$364 per tonne; startup capital costs are set at AU$89 million with a "rapid" payback period of two years.

In addition to its Tesla deal, Core Lithium has four year offtake agreements with Ganfeng (SZSE:002460), one of the world’s largest lithium producers by production capacity, and Yahua, a key lithium supplier to Tesla.

US-based Tesla has also agreed to potentially provide additional support to Core with its plans to develop lithium chemical processing capacity in the Northern Territory.

Aside from its deal with Core, Tesla has a deal for lithium with junior Liontown Resources (ASX:LTR), plus agreements with BHP (ASX:BHP,LSE:BHP,NYSE:BHP) for nickel and Syrah Resources (ASX:SYR) for graphite.

Many analysts believe 2022 will see lithium demand continue to outpace supply, and as a top lithium-producing country, Australia is well positioned to see gains from the energy transition.

Speaking with the Investing News Network earlier this year, Jessica Amir, Australian market strategist at Saxo, said lithium is a key metal to watch in 2022.

“The lithium price is tipped to continue to rise to another record,” she said, adding that major lithium producers are optimistic about the space due to a lack of mining investment and rising demand.

As of market close on Wednesday, shares of Core Lithium were trading at AU$1.64.

Don’t forget to follow us @INN_Australia for real-time updates!

Securities Disclosure: I, Priscila Barrera, currently hold no direct investment interest in any company mentioned in this article.

Editorial Disclosure: The Investing News Network does not guarantee the accuracy or thoroughness of the information reported in the interviews it conducts. The opinions expressed in these interviews do not reflect the opinions of the Investing News Network and do not constitute investment advice. All readers are encouraged to perform their own due diligence.

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Lake Resources CEO Stephen Promnitz: Scaling Lithium Supply with $150 Million Series B Funding

Lake Resources Managing Director Stephen Promnitz

Lake Resources (ASX:LKE,OTCQB:LLKKF) Managing Director Stephen Promnitz says Lake Resources has secured robust financing to scale up lithium production in preparation for the electric vehicle revolution.

Lake Resources has recently established a technology and funding partnership with Lilac Solutions, and the latter has announced $150 Million Series B to scale lithium supply for the electric vehicle era.

Lake Resources: Scaling Lithium Supply with $150 Million Series B Funding www.youtube.com

"Lilac Solutions are actually going to work with us and progressively earn into our flagship Kachi project, and then provide $50 million towards the development of that project. So come the end of October, we should have somewhere around $70 to $80 million in the bank, plus this $50 million commitment from Lilac going forward. And then if we have some additional $75 million options in June next year. Essentially, we can now see a pathway to the entire project being financed," Promnitz said.

Lake Resources and Lilac Solutions signed a partnership agreement wherein Lilac is able to achieve an equity stake in the Kachi project with project funding obligations while providing its leading technology to advance the project.

"There's a real deal here, and now value opportunity. But on top of that, we've de-risked it from the debt side and from the equity side. This project is going to happen, and not only that, we're going to be scaling it up to 50,000 tonnes per annum soon after we get into production. That will make us one of the top five producers in the lithium space."

Watch the full interview of Lake Resources Managing Director Stephen Promnitz above.

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European Lithium Executive Chairman Tony Sage

European Lithium Executive Chairman Tony Sage said, “There's not one hydroxide plant in Europe, so we hope to be the first. Not only would we be able to source material from our own mine, but we may be able to source material in nearby areas.”

European Lithium Executive Chairman Tony Sage: Developing the 1st Lithium Hydroxide Plant in Europe youtu.be


European Lithium (ASX:EUR,FWB:PF8) Executive Chairman Tony Sage discussed the company’s Wolfsburg project in Austria, a country with a rich mining history dating back to WWII that maintains its infrastructure.

Wolfsburg continues that tradition, positioned only 45 kilometres from the city that hosts the largest Samsung battery factory.

"It’s quite unique. In Europe, a lot of the lithium mines are at the exploration stage," Sage said. "This mine was built back in the '80s by the Austrian government. So all the work has been done. If we were going to do this project today, we would have to get environmental approval and spend about $100 million — but they did all the work and the licence is in perpetuity.


“We can now access that mine and start mining immediately. In fact, in 2017, we mined it and took out 1,500 tonnes, which is a massive advantage in the lithium industry because we were able to build a pilot plant and put 300 tonnes of the material through the pilot plant, which gave us the results that we were looking for in that it's high-grade product.”

Sage also discussed European Lithium’s goals with the project. “Our aim is to mine it. It's a very simple mining process. We're in the process now of trying to acquire land nearby so we can actually put a conversion plant and a hydroxide plant on it. There's not one hydroxide plant in Europe, so we hope to be the first. Not only would we be able to source material from our own mine, but we may be able to source material in nearby areas.”

Sage told the Investing News Network that the government is supportive of its endeavours. “The Austrian government is very keen for us to build hydroxide plants so they can actually entice vehicle companies to build a factory nearby the hydroxide plant. This way, we can have a mine right through to the battery solution for the Austrian government. In the end, all we can do is get the mines up and operating, build the hydroxide plant and see what happens.”

The mine itself is underground. “Underground mining techniques are used all around the world. When they built it, they actually overbuilt — so when we decided to mine back in 2017, it was quite easy for us to find the seam of the orebody and then take the ore out," Sage said.

“We completed a prefeasibility study in 2018. The cost structure then was about US$7,500 per tonne to produce the hydroxide. Right now, the hydroxide price is around US$69,000 a tonne — that’s a massive profit margin that we don’t see as sustainable long term. When we do our definitive feasibility study, we're probably going to use an average price over the life of mine of about US$25,000 — but that's still a huge profit margin. That feasibility study is coming within the next four months, when we’ll be in a good position to partner with someone.”

Watch the full interview of European Lithium Executive Chairman Tony Sage above.

Disclaimer: This interview is sponsored by European Lithium (ASX:EUR,FWB:PF8). This interview provides information that was sourced by the Investing News Network (INN) and approved by European Lithium in order to help investors learn more about the company. European Lithium is a client of INN. The company’s campaign fees pay for INN to create and update this interview.

INN does not provide investment advice and the information on this profile should not be considered a recommendation to buy or sell any security. INN does not endorse or recommend the business, products, services or securities of any company profiled.

The information contained here is for information purposes only and is not to be construed as an offer or solicitation for the sale or purchase of securities. Readers should conduct their own research for all information publicly available concerning the company. Prior to making any investment decision, it is recommended that readers consult directly with European Lithium and seek advice from a qualified investment advisor.

This interview may contain forward-looking statements including but not limited to comments regarding the timing and content of upcoming work programs, receipt of property titles, etc. Forward-looking statements address future events and conditions and therefore involve inherent risks and uncertainties. Actual results may differ materially from those currently anticipated in such statements. The issuer relies upon litigation protection for forward-looking statements. Investing in companies comes with uncertainties as market values can fluctuate.

EUR:AU

Ioneer Ltd is pleased to announce that the Company has reached an agreement to establish a joint venture with Sibanye Stillwater Limited to develop the flagship Rhyolite Ridge Lithium-Boron Project located in Nevada, USA . Under the terms of the agreement, Sibanye-Stillwater will contribute US$490 million for a 50% interest in the Joint Venture, with ioneer to maintain a 50% interest and retain operatorship. ioneer …

Ioneer Ltd (“ioneer” or the “Company”) (ASX: INR) is pleased to announce that the Company has reached an agreement to establish a joint venture (the ” Joint Venture “) with Sibanye Stillwater Limited ( “Sibanye-Stillwater” ) to develop the flagship Rhyolite Ridge Lithium-Boron Project located in Nevada, USA (the “Project” ). Under the terms of the agreement, Sibanye-Stillwater will contribute US$490 million for a 50% interest in the Joint Venture, with ioneer to maintain a 50% interest and retain operatorship. ioneer has also agreed to provide Sibanye-Stillwater with an option to participate in 50% of the North Basin 1 upon the election of Sibanye-Stillwater to contribute up to an additional US$50 million subject to certain terms and conditions.

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business people stacking wooden blocks

Australian lithium miners continued to move ahead with their projects during the year's third financial quarter.

After hitting all-time highs in 2021, lithium prices started to stabilise in 2022's first quarter.

China’s lockdown measures to battle COVID-19 have disrupted the supply chain and impacted domestic demand in recent weeks, but this is expected to be temporary, according to William Adams of Fastmarkets.

“The lithium market is very tight. We don't see that easing anytime soon,” he said during a recent webinar about risks in the battery metals market. “We think the underlying fundamentals and the trends are still very strong.”


During the third quarter of the financial year, Australian lithium miners continued to move ahead with their projects, and despite the increased volatility in the markets, many ASX lithium stocks saw share price gains as well.

Perth-based Pilbara Minerals' (ASX:PLS,OTC Pink:PILBF) production for the quarter was 81,431 dry metric tonnes (dmt), slightly down compared to the previous three months, but within guidance. The company said the main factor impacting output was higher COVID-19 cases, which resulted in staff and contractor shortages.

“COVID-19 has (and may continue in the near term) to cause operational delays, including staffing shortages for both shut-down and operating staff (mining and processing),” the company said in a statement. Even so, Pilbara has decided to maintain its production guidance in the range of 340,000 to 380,000 dmt.

During its fourth battery material exchange auction, the company saw the highest bid ever at US$5,650 per dmt for a cargo of 5,000 dmt of spodumene, showing the critical shortage in lithium raw material supply.

Western Australia-focused Pilbara, which owns the lithium-tantalum Pilgangoora operation, has partnerships with Ganfeng Lithium (OTC Pink:GNENF,SZSE:002460), General Lithium, Great Wall Motor Company (OTC Pink:GWLLF,HKEX:2333), POSCO (NYSE:PKX), CATL (SZSE:300750) and Yibin Tianyi.

Shares of Pilbara were trading at AU$2.53 on May 10, down 28.13 percent year-to-date, but up more than 100 percent compared to this time last year.

For its part, leading Australian lithium and iron ore miner Mineral Resources (ASX:MIN,OTC Pink:MALRF) saw its Mount Marion mine’s production reach 104,000 dmt during the quarter; it also shipped 94,000 dmt of spodumene concentrate. The company is maintaining its full-year production guidance at 450,000 to 475,000 dmt.

In April, Mineral Resources and partner Ganfeng agreed to optimise production and upgrade Mount Marion's processing facilities. Spodumene concentrate capacity at the operation is expected to increase from 450,000 dmt per year to 600,000 dmt annually.

“The decision to upgrade the plant reflects an expectation that the lithium market outlook will remain extremely strong for the foreseeable future,” the company said in a press release. A second stage increase, expected to be completed by the end of 2022, will see capacity rise further to reach 900,000 dmt.

Aside from Mount Marion, the company holds interests in Wodgina in partnership with another top producer — Albemarle (NYSE:ALB). The companies decided to restart Wodgina last year as a result of soaring global lithium demand. The mine produced its first spodumene concentrate on May 12.

“(We have) also agreed to review the state of the global lithium market towards the end of this calendar year to assess timing for the start-up of Train 3 and the possible construction of Train 4,” the company said. Each train has a nameplate capacity of 250,000 dmt of 6 percent product.

Mineral Resources’ share price was down 10.71 percent on May 10, trading at AU$52.71. That said, the stock is up 9.11 percent year-on-year.

During the March quarter, Argentina-focused Allkem (ASX:AKE,OTC Pink:OROCF) outlined its plans to increase lithium production threefold by 2026 and become a top three chemicals supplier.

In Western Australia, the company owns the Mount Cattlin mine, which produced 48,562 dmt of spodumene concentrate and shipped 66,011 tonnes in the March quarter.

“Strong conditions in the spodumene market are supporting advanced discussions for spodumene concentrate pricing in the June quarter of approximately US$5,000 per dmt SC6 percent CIF on sales of approximately 50,000 tonnes,” the company told investors in a note.

In Argentina, Allkem operates the Salar de Olaroz and is developing the Sal de Vida lithium brine. Additionally, in partnership with Toyota Tsusho (TSE:8015), Allkem is building a 10,000 tonne per year lithium hydroxide plant in Naraha, Japan. The company also owns the James Bay lithium pegmatite project in Canada.

On May 10, shares of Allkem were changing hands for AU$10.95, down 2.23 percent year-to-date, but up over 55 percent year-on-year.

Although its main focus is nickel, Independence Group (ASX:IGO) joined the lithium party last year after it bought a stake in Tianqi Lithium’s Australian assets. The companies, in joint venture, now control the majority of the biggest lithium mine in the world — Greenbushes.

Production at the mine was up 5 percent quarter-on-quarter at 270,464 tonnes of spodumene concentrate. By 2025, Greenbushes is expected to add around 800,000 tonnes per year to its output capacity.

IGO has seen its share price decline 4.63 percent year-to-date, trading at AU$11.34 on May 11. However, the stock is up 47.27 year-on-year.

Don’t forget to follow us @INN_Australia for real-time updates!

Securities Disclosure: I, Priscila Barrera, hold no direct investment interest in any company mentioned in this article.

Galaxy Resources Limited advises that the following announcement has been made to the Australian Securities Exchange which appears on the Company’s platform : Merger of Galaxy and Orocobre Implemented The announcement can be viewed at: SOURCE Galaxy Resources Limited View original content

Galaxy Resources Limited (ASX: GXY) ( Company ) advises that the following announcement has been made to the Australian Securities Exchange which appears on the Company’s platform (ASX):

  • Merger of Galaxy and Orocobre Implemented

The announcement can be viewed at:

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Critical Resources
A Further 17.5 Metres of Visual Spodumene-Bearing Pegmatite Intersected at Mavis Lake in Step-Out Hole 14
A Further 17.5 Metres of Visual Spodumene-Bearing Pegmatite Intersected at Mavis Lake in Step-Out Hole 14

Critical Resources Limited (ASX:CRR) (“Critical Resources” or the “Company”) is pleased to advise that it has received assay results from its 8th and 9th drill holes at its 100% owned Gibsons prospect. Diamond drill holes CRR21DD_02A (“Hole 02A”) and CRR21DD_07A (“Hole 07A”) have intersected further zinc, lead, copper and silver bearing zones of sulphide mineralisation. Hole 02A and Hole 07A are step out holes that further demonstrates the increased potential of the mineralised extent of the Halls Peak system.


Highlights

Hole 02A

  • 6.37m @ 7.31% Zn, 0.89% Pb, 0.22% Cu, 10.33g/t Ag, 0.08g/t Au, from 72.65- 79.02m downhole
    • Including 2.01m @ 13.14% Zn, 1.82% Pb, 0.44% Cu, 17.20/t Ag, 0.09 g/t Au from 73.38-75.39m downhole
  • 5.3m @ 4.10% Zn, 1.78% Pb, 0.49% Cu, 25.17g/t Ag, 0.09g/t Au from 166.3- 171.6m downhole
    • Including 1.2m @ 9.4% Zn, 4.76% Pb, 1.29% Cu, 74.39g/t Ag, 0.16g/t Au from 170.4 – 171.6m downhole

Hole 07A

  • 34.3m @ 2.14% Zn, 0.83% Pb, 0.32% Cu, 7.02g/t Ag, 0.05g/t Au from 70.3-104.6m downhole
    • Including 3.35m @ 6.06% Zn, 2.06% Pb, 0.23% Cu, 7.86g/t Ag, 0.02g/t Au from 83.55–86.9m downhole and
    • 4.5m @ 9.22% Zn, 4.34% Pb, 0.98% Cu, 23.81g/t Ag, 0.08g/t Au from 98–102.5m downhole
  • Holes 02A and 07A are step-out holes in an area previously untested
  • Strong mineralisation at depth continues to expand the potential of the Halls Peak System
  • Cores from completed holes 02, 04, 14, 15 and 16 are currently being assayed at the ALS laboratory in Brisbane with results expected progressively
The Company is pleased to receive further assays from Hole 02A and Hole 07A at its 100% owned Halls Peak project in New South Wales. Results continue to demonstrate the scale potential of the Halls Peak system, particularly at depth and provides strong support for an expanded drill program.

Critical Resources Managing Director Alex Biggs said:

Further positive results confirm the growing potential of the Halls Peak system. As our drill program continues we are excited to see significant grades and intersections that provide increased confidence that Halls Peak could be a transformational asset for the Company. Our drill program is continuing and we look forward to starting drilling at our Sunnyside prospect which is approximately 1.5km along strike from our current drilling at the Gibsons prospect. This will add further growth potential to the Project”.

Summary of Key Polymetallic Intersections

Hole 02A

  • 6.37m @ 7.31% Zn, 0.89% Pb, 0.22% Cu, 10.33g/t Ag, 0.08g/t Au, from 72.65-79.02m downhole
    • Including 2.01m @ 13.14% Zn, 1.82% Pb, 0.44% Cu, 17.20/t Ag, 0.09 g/t Au from 73.38-75.39m downhole
  • 5.3m @ 4.10% Zn, 1.78% Pb, 0.49% Cu, 25.17g/t Ag, 0.09g/t Au from 166.3-171.6m downhole
    • Including 1.2m @ 9.4% Zn, 4.76% Pb, 1.29% Cu, 74.39g/t Ag, 0.16g/t Au from 170.4 – 171.6m downhole

Hole 07A

  • 34.3m @ 2.14% Zn, 0.83% Pb, 0.32% Cu, 7.02g/t Ag, 0.05g/t Au from 70.3-104.6m downhole
    • Including 3.35m @ 6.06% Zn, 2.06% Pb, 0.23% Cu, 7.86g/t Ag, 0.02g/t Au from 83.55–86.9m downhole and
    • 4.5m @ 9.22% Zn, 4.34% Pb, 0.98% Cu, 23.81g/t Ag, 0.08g/t Au from 98–102.5m downhole


Click here for the full ASX Release

This article includes content from Critical Resources (ASX:CRR), licensed for the purpose of publishing on Investing News Australia. This article does not constitute financial product advice. It is your responsibility to perform proper due diligence before acting upon any information provided here. Please refer to our full disclaimer here.

CRR:AU
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Marley Clovelly / Pexels

The gold price is trading lower than some market watchers would prefer, but the top-performing ASX gold stocks so far this year are making leaps.

Click here to read the previous best ASX gold stocks article.

While 2021 was a disappointing year for gold, analysts are optimistic about the outlook for 2022.

The yellow metal passed the US$2,000 per ounce mark as tensions between Russia and Ukraine heated up, but has since pulled back to trade closer to US$1,800. However, diverse factors could combine to push it higher.

Demand for gold jewellery, gold bars and coins, and the metal’s use in the technology sector are still going strong, and supply is also a growing concern due to decreased gold exploration efforts in recent years.


Against this backdrop, many Australian gold stocks are doing well. And with the precious metal generally considered a safe investment, it's worth being aware of the county's top-performing companies.

Here the Investing News Network looks at the best ASX gold stocks of the year so far by year-to-date gains. The list of stocks below was generated on April 29, 2022, using TradingView’s stock screener, and all companies included had market caps over AU$30 million at that time.

1. Xantippe Resources

Year-to-date gain: 180 percent; market cap: AU$107.3 million; current share price: AU$0.01

Xantippe Resources (ASX:XTC) is focused on Western Australia's Southern Cross region, which is widely known for its past gold production. The precious metals explorer's Southern Cross project is made up of 20 prospecting licences and six exploration licences, and holds a number of key priority targets.

In late April, Xantippe confirmed the acquisition of lithium tenements in Argentina with the hope of commencing exploration activities in the third quarter.

2. Minrex Resources

Year-to-date gain: 55.81 percent; market cap: AU$63.05 million; current share price: AU$0.07

Minrex Resources’ (ASX:MRR) assets include five gold and base metals projects in Western Australia, four of which are in the mineral-rich East Pilbara region.

The company started off the year with high-grade gold drill results from its work at the Queenslander gold prospect within its Sofala project. The prospect is centred around the past-producing Queenslander mine.

3. Aston Minerals

Year-to-date gain: 38.1 percent; market cap: AU$164.19 million; current share price: AU$0.15

Gold and nickel-cobalt explorer Aston Minerals (ASX:ASO) is moving forward at its Edleston gold project, located in the Cadillac-Larder Lake fault zone of Canada's Abitibi greenstone belt. Edleston is its flagship asset, and according to the company, it is the first in over a decade to drill in this area.

Aston continues to focus on gold at Edleston, but its Boomerang nickel-cobalt target has come to the forefront in recent months, with the company announcing the results of its maiden hole there in early December.

Don’t forget to follow us @INN_Australia for real-time updates!

Securities Disclosure: I, Marlee John, currently hold no direct investment interest in any company mentioned in this article.

person holding lit light bulb over desk next to ascending stacks of coins

At the recent RIU Resources Round-Up event in Sydney, Harry Fisher of CRU Group shared key factors battery metals investors should keep an eye out for.

After 2021's big price increases for raw materials, all eyes are on what may happen next in the electric vehicle (EV) market ― the main driver of demand for battery metals such as lithium and cobalt.

EV sales had a stellar year in 2020, even as the world suffered through the brunt of the COVID-19 pandemic, and 2021 brought strong sales numbers as well.

“EV sales doubled last year alone, and we're expecting them to surpass 10 million this year,” Harry Fisher of CRU Group told the audience at the RIU Resources Round-Up in Sydney last week.


CRU Group is forecasting that EV penetration will reach 20 to 22 percent by 2026 ― that would translate to an additional 17 million in annual sales compared to today.

“Since 2017, we've had more than 50 percent annual growth for EV demand each year, and over the next 20 years EV battery demand will increase by more than 10 times,” Fisher said.

The analyst shared with the audience the main themes he believes will continue to be front and centre in discussions surrounding the battery metals industry.

“We've seen incredible price performance, particularly for lithium, and also for cobalt and nickel, in the last really 18 months, but even more so this year,” Fisher said. “I don't think many of us expected prices to go as high as they have gone, particularly for lithium and nickel.”

Lithium prices have increased north of 400 percent since 2021, with nickel prices on the London Metal Exchange reaching a historical high of more than U$100,000 per tonne earlier this year. These high levels have been hitting EV producers, many of which have increased prices.

“In the last week or so, we've seen that the battery producers' Q1 margins have fallen substantially, so they're really feeling the heat of this, and that is starting to have some tangible effects in the market,” Fisher said.

All in all, CRU is expecting prices to level off the current peak, but to remain strong in the medium term on the back of demand from the EV sector.

Another big theme to keep an eye on is the increasing regionalization of supply chains. Even though EV and battery makers in Europe and North America have made announcements about setting up gigafactories, there has not been a lot of movement in the upstream and the midstream parts of the supply chain.

Around 40 percent of lithium supply comes from South America, with another 45 percent coming from top-producing country Australia. For cobalt, 70 percent of supply comes from the Democratic Republic of Congo. But all that output ends mostly in China ― which controls over 70 percent of the midstream.

“That's obviously not ideal from a supply security perspective, but it also means the supply chains aren't particularly efficient from a cost perspective,” Fisher said. “Also, from a safety perspective, moving around battery chemicals, precursor batteries — it makes a lot more sense to have the upstream and midstream closer to market.”

With EV demand expected keep soaring, there’s a lot more that needs to be done to strengthen supply chains.

“We need to start seeing more investment to support the EV markets, and to prevent them from relying solely on China and Asia for all of their battery materials,” Fisher said.

Don't forget to follow us @INN_Australia for real-time news updates!

Securities Disclosure: I, Priscila Barrera, hold no direct investment interest in any company mentioned in this article.

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