Lithium Power International has secured an export licence via its 50%-owned joint venture (JV) company Minera Salar Blanco (MSB) from the Chilean Nuclear Energy Commission (CCHEN) for the production, marketing and export of lithium products from the Maricunga project in Chile.
The approval is slated to grant MSB an initial extraction quota of 88,885mt of lithium in brine.
MSB has been granted the option of increasing the quota, provided the company advances the deep drilling exploration programme so that its measured, indicated or inferred resources between depths of 200m-400m are compliant with JORC and NI 43-101 standards.
Improvements in efficiencies at MSB’s production facilities will also lead to an automatic rise in the quota under the arrangement.
Lithium Power CEO Martin Holland said: “We are delighted to have gained the authorisation and support from the Chilean Nuclear Energy Commission, which reaffirms our confidence that Chile’s Government will continue to encourage and protect foreign investment as a leading mining jurisdiction.”
MSB is slated to submit a Special Operation Contract (CEOL) request to the Chilean authorities later this month, which will cover various mining concessions registered after 1979.
The move will enable the company to request an increase in the initial quota.
MSB CEO Cristobal Garcia-Huidobro said: “After four years of successful development, including our recent JORC and NI 43-101 reports and the Preliminary Economic Assessment (PEA), the company continues to progress on the next step to submit its Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) to the authorities, making the Maricunga project the most advanced lithium project in Chile.”
The company also intends to submit its EIA to the relevant authorities next month.
According to the PEA, the project is expected to support the production of lithium carbonate at a rate of 20,000 tonnes per annum (tpa), as well as 74,000tpa of potassium chloride fertiliser for a term of 20 years.