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Codelco’s Strategic Move into Lithium Market Codelco’s Strategic Move into Lithium Market

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The Maricunga project, located within the so-called lithium triangle in northern Chile, is estimated to contain about 1.9 million tonnes of lithium carbonate equivalent (LCE).

The transaction, which now only needs the Federal Court of Australiaโ€™s backing, is expected to conclude on Feb. 23, Codelco said.

Chairman Mรกximo Pacheco expressed enthusiasm about the purchase, stating, โ€œWith this purchase, Codelco moves forward with its mandate of becoming leaders in the production of critical minerals for the energy transition.โ€

Chile gave the copper giant a key role in the new public-private model for the sector, announced in April last year, which calls for public-private partnerships for future lithium projects.

The seamless nature of this deal contrasts with a recent string of failed Australian lithium juniors acquisitions. Local mining billionaires gatecrashed a series of deals in the latter half of 2023, including Albemarleโ€™s (NYSE: ALB) A$6.6 billion attempt to buy Liontown Resources (ASX: LTR) and SQMโ€™s bid for Azure Minerals (ASX: AZS).

Chile is already the worldโ€™s no. 2 producer of lithium after Australia and holds the worldโ€™s largest known deposits of the coveted battery metal.

Codelco entered in late December the first lithium business tie-up with SQM for the future development and production of the metal in the Atacama salt flat, the only area where lithium is currently extracted in Chile.

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