Peru-based Li3 Energy (OTCBB:LIEG) announced Wednesday an agreement with New York-based environmental technology business R3 Fusion to work on improving the methods used for lithium brine processing at the company's Maricunga project in Chile, independently ranked as one of the top ten lithium projects in the world.
The memorandum of understanding document sets out terms for R3's SPaCeR technology to shorten the current natural evaporation cycle at Maricunga from its estimated duration of roughly 18 months.
Under the agreement, R3 will attempt to show the efficacy of its technology for the concentration of lithium chloride solutions, while the two companies will also seek a commercial deal to deploy the technology exclusively for lithium brine processing within six months of a successful demonstration program.
If successful, R3 will design and construct systems appropriate for the volumes and economics associated with Li3's requirements.
"We are very excited to explore the use of the R3 Fusion SPaCeR Technology and its applications in lithium brine processing," said CEO of Li3, Luis Saenz.
"This technology possibly presents Li3 with a unique, energy efficient, green technology that not only could shorten our exploration timelines but also helps us capture and purify the water, allowing us to either use it in other areas of the salar or sell it to other commercial entities.
"We look forward to working through this evaluation stage together with R3 which could further align our companies in a mutually beneficial manner."
R3 is focused on applying its new technology to address global challenges in environmental and water issues including desalination, industrial and municipal wastewater treatment, water recovery and reuse, bio-fuel processes and fine chemical synthesis.
Li3, which looks for lithium properties in Peru, Argentina and Chile, has begun the initial $3.8 million development work program on the project, placing Maricunga into feasibility stage. A preliminary economic assessment report is anticipated by the end of the fourth quarter.
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.