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Chilean State mining firm Enami says it’s getting plenty of interest from prospective partners in a lithium project as part of the government’s efforts to tap more of the world’s biggest reserves.

The early-stage Altoandinos project is part of President Gabriel Boric’s agenda to open up new areas to lithium extraction in a bid to double output of the battery metal. While the state will control projects in the two biggest salt flats, Enami has the scope to negotiate terms with private partners.

Altoandinos, comprised of three undeveloped salt flats in the Atacama region, will churn out 20 000 metric tons by 2032 and triple that by 2037, according to government projections.

On Tuesday, Enami released the first results from a $10.5-million drilling campaign, with brine samples at the Aguilar flat showing an average concentration of 740 milligrams of lithium per liter. Enami boss Ivan Mlynarz is hoping those “promising” results will help secure partners to fund, develop and run the project. Firms have until Friday to register.

“We have high interest from relevant companies in the sector,” Enami said a text message Tuesday, declining to elaborate further.

Separately, Enami is undertaking indigenous consultation as part of permitting requirements, while 30 firms and consortia — including Rio Tinto Plc and Schlumberger — are participating in a process to chose a direct lithium extraction methodology. Chile is pushing the use of DLE as a greener alternative to the conventional evaporation technique.