Canadian miner allowed to extract and export Chilean lithium

Minera Salar Blanco, a joint venture that operates the Maricunga project together with Vancouver-based Bearing Lithium (TSXV:BRZ), has just received authorization from the Chilean Nuclear Commission to extract, produce and market lithium products from the Maricunga salar.

According to a corporate press release, the authorization is for an extraction quota of 88,885 metric tonnes of metallic lithium (approximately 473,135 tonnes of lithium carbonate) contained in brine over a 30-year period.

In detail, the resolution authorizes the extraction of lithium from the grandfathered mining concessions included in the Maricunga project, which are those registered prior to 1979 and referred to as 'old code.' The company, however, will be given the opportunity to expand in the future under certain circumstances.

Even though Minera Salar Blanco now has four years to present the environmental approval of the project to the Nuclear Commission, management says it plans to submit it in early Q2/2018.

The Maricunga project, located 170 kilometres northeast of Copiapo in northern Chile, is a high-grade lithium brine salar and the only pre-production project in the South American country. It has, however, seen significant past exploration, with over $30 million expended to date.