Chilean regulator asks for more time to review Maricunga project

Maricunga lithium brine project. (Image courtesy of Lithium Power International).

The Chilean Environmental Service notified Minera Salar Blanco, the operating company for the Maricunga joint venture, that it has extended the Environmental Impact Assessment evaluation process for 60 days.

The lithium mining JV is 51% owned by Lithium Power International (ASX: LPI), 18% by Bearing Lithium (TSXV: BRZ) and 31% by a private local company. 

Over $40 million has been spent on the project to date to advance and de-risk it

According to the owners, they were expecting the time extension, as they had no news by October 15th, when the initial evaluation was due. They also predicted the delay because it is customary among large and/or complex projects in the South American country. 

Chilean regulations set a timeframe of 120 business days for the final environmental evaluation of any project submitted in the country. It also grants the Environmental Service a one-time extension, at its own discretion during the process, if needed to complete the evaluation. 

“This request by the Environmental Service for an extension is a result of no specific question or query, but rather to grant more time to review the comprehensive data that has already been provided by MSB. A resolution from the Environmental Service is expected in Q1/20,” the firms involved in the project said in a media statement.

The 4,463-hectare Maricunga property is located 170 kilometres northeast of Copiapó in the III Region of Atacama in northern Chile at an elevation of 3,800 metres above sea level. 

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