Joint venture (JV) company Minera Salar Blanco (MSB) is weighing a partnership with Japanese conglomerate Mitsui & Co to further its Maricunga project, in northern Chile.
MSB, which is controlled by Australia-listed Lithium Power International, on Tuesday announced a nonbinding memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Mitsui to set up an alliance to develop the first, 15 000-t/y stage of the lithium carbonate project.
The strategic alliance includes potential offtake and funding rights for Stage 1 of the project, potential participation, offtake and funding rights for future expansions and further strategic collaboration for new developments in Chile, based on new technology related to direct lithium extraction currently being studied and tested.
“The MoU is comprehensive and it sets a framework for Stage 1 of the project development to proceed with the backing of a world-renowned partner,” said Lithium Power CEO Cristobal Garcia-Huidobro.
Maricunga is in the so-called lithium triangle of northern Chile. According to Lithium Power, it is the highest quality preproduction lithium brine project in South America, as well as the second highest-grade lithium brine resource at 1 167 mg/l lithium and 8 500 mg/l potassium.
The 2019 resource estimate for the deposit totals 2.07-million tonnes LCE and 5.38-million tonnes KCl from surface to 200 m depth.