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Eramet prepares US$1 billion lithium investments in Atacama Region

InvestChile - April,15,2024

The French company explains that its presence «provides geographical diversification to the Chilean lithium industry, whose current stakeholders only have links with the United States and China.»


The French company Eramet does not hide its interest in participating with the National Mining Corporation (ENAMI) to develop the area known as Siete Salares in the Atacama Region. Rather, they demonstrate it: they have the capital to invest up to US$1 billion to extract lithium in an area other than where it is currently produced, and they show that lithium production in Chile is currently concentrated among a few stakeholders with little geographic diversity. The French firm would therefore provide a level of diversification, in addition to capital and technology.

Miguel Fuentes, vice president of Development at Eramet Group, explained what their next steps would be with regard to the policy outlined by the Mining Ministry. Next week, the ministry will open a request for information (RFI) process for private investors to determine which salt flats are of interest to lithium producers.

Fuentes said that, as he had previously stated, «Eramet is very interested in developing lithium opportunities in Chile, for which they are building a portfolio of options with different levels of maturity.»

Along these lines, the company has made an initial investment of US$95 million to acquire 120,000 hectares (296,526 acres) of mining concessions in the Atacama Region. This covers almost 100% of the salt flats with potential in the area in which ENAMI has been designated by the government as the point of contact. Given the magnitude of this investment, this project clearly has a high priority for our organization.

Eramet’s technical team is currently planning studies of the area, while their business team is working on partnership options with ENAMI and government representatives. The goal is to finalize this public-private alliance within the current presidential period.

Furthermore, Eramet is evaluating other opportunities to develop lithium projects in areas where there is interesting potential and we can add value. In this sense, Eramet is in constant interaction with key industry stakeholders to analyze options for potential development with different degrees of maturity.

Source: Diario Financiero.

Topics: Mining- Lithium



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