Chilean state miner Enami reports “encouraging” Altoandinos lithium results

SANTIAGO, June 4 (Reuters) – Chilean state miner Enami said on Tuesday that an initial exploration campaign for its Salares Altoandinos lithium project, located in the northern salt flats of the South American nation, has shown promising results.

Enami is looking for a partner with which to develop the project after the government tapped it to help implement a strategy to expand state control in the production of lithium, a white metal used in electric vehicle batteries.

According to preliminary data, Enami said the Aguilar salt flat, more than 1,000 kilometers north of the capital Santiago, could have an average lithium concentration of 740 milligrams per liter, with up to 984 mg/l in some areas.

“Preliminary results are encouraging,” Enami Executive Vice President Ivan Mlynarz said in a statement. He said technical advances have enabled important developments that represent “significant competitive advantages for investors interested in being part of the initiative.”

With an initial investment of $10.5 million, Enami mounted its basic exploration campaign of the Aguilar, La Isla and Grande salt flats from a camp in the Atacama Mountains.

Enami has also begun testing direct lithium extraction, a technique that uses less water and has a higher brine recovery rate, to extract salable forms of lithium.

The initial campaign is intended to establish what lithium resources and reserves are available in these deposits. The company hopes to begin building production facilities in 2030.

Chile is the second largest lithium producer in the world after Australia. It is estimated that, together with its South American neighbors Argentina and Bolivia (the so-called lithium triangle), they possess more than half of the world’s resources. (Reporting by Fabián Andrés Cambero in Santiago Editing by Matthew Lewis)

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