Vancouver, British Columbia – Bearing Lithium Corp. (“Bearing Lithium” or the “Company“) (TSX Venture: BRZ) (OTCQB: BRGRF) (FRANKFURT: B6K1) is pleased to announce that Minera Salar Blanco (“MSB”), the joint-venture company that operates the Maricunga project, has received authorization from the Chilean Nuclear Commission (CCHEN) to extract, produce and market lithium products from the Maricunga salar. The Maricunga project, is held by MSB, the joint-venture company, which is owned by Bearing Lithium (17.7%), Minera Salar Blanco SpA (32.3%) and LPI (50%).
On March 7th, 2018, the Chilean Nuclear Commission (CCHEN) authorized MSB to extract, produce and market lithium products from the Maricunga salar. 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. The joint-venture has four years from the date of authorization to present the environmental approval (Resolución de Calificación Ambiental or RCA) of the project to the CCHEN. The joint-venture anticipates submitting its environmental application (Environmental Impact Assessment or EIA) in early Q2/2018.
The resolution of the CCHEN 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’, with the opportunity to expand under a number of circumstances. First, upon receipt of a Special Operations Contract or CEOL to exploit ‘new code’ mining concessions (registered after 1979), the joint-venture will be able to request an increase on the assigned quota. Second, as the resolution only considers the Measured, Indicated and Inferred resources on the claims (as per the NI 43-101 and JORC reports), the delineation of additional resources at depth would allow the joint-venture to request an increase. Additionally, as the authorization assumes a 40% recovery at the production plant, any improved process efficiency would allow for a proportional increase in the production quota.
Cristobal Garcia-Huidobro, CEO of MSB (the joint-venture project company), commented: “This permit represents a key milestone on the critical path for the company to advance the Maricunga project, placing it firmly as one of a select few advanced-stage lithium carbonate projects in the Americas. After four years of successful development, including our recent NI 43-101 Preliminary Economic Assessment, the company continues to progress on the next step to submit its Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) to the authorities, making the Maricunga project, in our view, the most advanced lithium project in Chile.”
Jeremy Poirier, President and CEO of Bearing Lithium, commented: “Bearing would like to congratulate and thank the MSB team for its accomplishments to date on advancing the Maricunga project. Having already demonstrated the world class potential of the project, and fully-funded through the Feasibility Study, advancing on the permitting stage is key to adding value in an environment where lithium continues to be in high demand given its future outlook.”