US-based mineral exploration company Atlas Lithium and Japan’s Mitsui & Co. (Mitsui) have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) that gives the latter purchase rights for Atlas’ future lithium concentrate production.

Under the MOU, Atlas Lithium is entitled to receive up to $65m in funding from Mitsui on achieving certain milestones.

In exchange, Mitsui will have the right to acquire up to 100% of Atlas Lithium’s production from its planned facility with an output capacity of 150,000tpa of lithium concentrate.

Atlas Lithium plans to use the offtake funding for the construction of the proposed lithium concentrate facility.

The US firm said in a statement: “Lithium concentrate produced by the plant would then be available for purchase by Mitsui at a price generally based on the then-prevailing market price.”

Atlas Lithium chairman and CEO Marc Fogassa said: “Our lithium assets are world-class and therefore we are enthusiastic about the prospects of a long-lasting and mutually rewarding partnership with such a well-known and global-reaching company as Mitsui.”

The MoU also allows the two firms to collaborate in other strategic areas.

Atlas Lithium is working on advancing and developing its 100%-owned hard-rock lithium project comprising 52 mineral rights in Lithium Valley, Minas Gerais, Brazil.

In November 2022, Bloomberg News reported that Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund (PIF) and Mitsui were considering a minority stake purchase in the nickel and copper operations of Brazilian firm Vale.