Lithium and minerals exploration company Li3 Energy Inc., formerly NanoDynamics Holdings, Inc., has an exploration and development plan for its Maricunga project in northern Chile. In May 2011, it acquired a 60% interest in a group of six private companies that collectively owned the Maricunga Project. Li3 Energy focuses on the discovery and development of lithium and potassium brine, and nitrate and iodine deposits in Chile, Argentina and Peru.
Maricunga covers an area of approximately 1,438 hectares, comprising six concessions, and is located in the northeast section of the Salar de Maricunga in Region III of Atacama.
Projects estimated for completion in the fourth quarter of fiscal 2011 include the seismic survey and modeling, and core sample drilling. They have calculated a non compliant mineral resource of 224,300 tonnes of lithium and 3.27 million tonnes of potash. The company also expects to complete an environmental impact study (EIS) by the fourth quarter of fiscal 2012, which is required for the permitting of a commercial production facility that can use brine from the project.
In February 2010, Li3 Energy acquired 100% of the assets of the Loriscota, Suches and Vizcachas Projects located respectively in the regions of Puno, Tacna and Moquegua, Peru. In July 2010, it acquired Noto Energy S.A., which owns a 100% interest over 2,995 acres situated on brine salars in Argentina, named Cauchari.
Li3 Energy secured USD 18 million in funding for the Maricunga Project from POSCO Canada Ltd, a subsidiary of South Korea-based industrial company POSCO.