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Peru looks to exploit important lithium reserves: energy chief

LIMA
2020-01-17 06:40

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LIMA, Jan. 16 (Xinhua) -- Peru is looking to exploit "important lithium reserves" discovered in the country's southeast Macusani region two years ago, Energy and Mining Minister Juan Carlos Liu said on Thursday.

"Peru has found important lithium reserves in the Macusani zone, but they have been found together with uranium and that marks the difference in terms of potency or the reserves of our neighbors," Liu told foreign correspondents in Lima.

Peru is near the so-called Lithium Triangle, an area shared by Argentina, Bolivia and Chile that is home to the world's largest lithium deposits, Liu said.

Peru's reserves were discovered in Puno department, which borders on Bolivia, in 2018 by Canadian company Plateau Energy Metals, and are estimated to hold some 2.5 million tons of lithium.

Peru's government is consulting with international experts to set up the required norms to regulate lithium extraction, especially as the metal "is a radioactive element," said the official.

The regulations could be ready this year and Peru could begin exporting lithium carbonate by early 2021, said Liu.
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