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    Sustainable and ethical lithium production in Chile’s Lithium Triangle

    Lithium Power International is a pure-play lithium development company focused on ensuring sustainable and ethical lithium production.

    Lithium Power International (LPI) has a diversified asset base from a geological and resource type point of view, including its flagship Maricunga lithium brine project located in northern Chile at the Maricunga Salar, and its hard rock lithium production projects in Western Australia.

    LPI’s Maricunga project, developed through its JV company, Minera Salar Blanco (MSB), is a sustainable, de-risked, major lithium production development supporting the energy transition. The project, located in South America’s “Lithium Triangle”, is home to the world’s largest and richest lithium reserves.

    In 2018, as part of the Definitive Feasibility Study for the project and as part of its pilot plant engineering development, the highest-grade lithium was extracted from the Maricunga brine ponds, producing the first battery-grade Li2CO3 samples, meeting commercial high-quality battery-grade specifications.

    The company is to advance the Maricunga project in several stages by fast-tracking Stage One development based on tenements known as “Old Code” concessions.

    In early June 2021, MSB completed its Stage One drilling program ahead of schedule, with five exploration drill holes completed to the target depths of 400 meters (increased from the old drilling program of depths to 200 metres), with the view of increasing the current lithium resource of approximately 1 million tonnes of lithium carbonate, to a predicted resource of 1.6 to 1.8 million tonnes.

    The Maricunga Stage One has a nameplate capacity of 15,000 tonnes per annum of lithium carbonate production with future expansion potential for subsequent stages.

    Critical to the success of LPI’s flagship project is the close relationships developed with the Indigenous and local community on whose land the development resides.

    MSB is the first company in Chile to establish an agreement with the Indigenous Community (IC), where they will participate throughout the whole development. LPI’s principles are based on respecting communities’ customs and culture. Communities will receive part of the benefit generated by the project in the form of a royalty throughout the project’s life, setting a new standard for the development of new projects in the country.

    Maricunga is a fully permitted project, with an international Engineering Procurement and Construction (EPC) bidding process in progress. We are currently engaging with major international companies for the structuring of the project’s financing and off-take contracts.

    In May 2021, MSB entered into a non-binding Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Japanese conglomerate Mitsui & Co., Ltd (Mitsui) to set up a strategic alliance to advance the Stage One of the project. The alliance includes off-take, financing rights and further strategic collaboration for new lithium production developments in Chile.

    MSB intends to make its Investment Decision to build its lithium brine mine and Lithium Carbonate plant between the end of 2021 and the beginning of 2022, with the first production for Lithium Carbonate forecasted in mid-2024.

    A sustainable future for lithium production

    LPI’s commitment to sustainability is reflected in the design of its lithium production process, including the use of only renewable solar energy.

    Strict environmental control procedures will align with the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDG). It will deploy standards of low water consumption and low emission electricity generators. Environmental indicators defined in the project’s Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) will be continuously checked for compliance.

    New technologies are also being explored to enhance LPI’s commitment to sustainability. Various extraction technologies are being evaluated and tested in laboratories for application in future expansions of the Maricunga project. The early signs are encouraging.

    LPI is responsible for the reality of what these new technologies look like and expects to continue investing in Research and Development to contribute to this.

    AREAS OF EXPERTISE:

    • Hard rock lithium exploration
    • Brine extraction – high quality lithium & potassium
    • Lithium optimisation
    • Drilling programs
    • Drainable Porosity and Brine Chemistry Analysis external
    • Production wells and pumping testing

    RESEARCH INTERESTS:

    • Mining
    • Lithium
    • Minerals
    • Environmental Sustainability
    • Environmental impact
    • Water management
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