Saudi-Backed Almar Eyes Lithium Collaboration in Chile

Almar Water Solutions, a subsidiary of the prominent Saudi Arabian conglomerate Abdul Latif Jameel, has set its sights on a partnership with Chilean mining giant Codelco. The target?A collaborative effort to tackle the Maricunga lithium project, a potential boon for the electric vehicle battery market.

This news comes amidst a global scramble for lithium, a key component in electric vehicle batteries. The surge in demand is fueled by the accelerating transition towards clean energy and a growing environmental consciousness. However, lithium extraction is a water-intensive process, posing a significant challenge, especially in arid regions like Chile's Atacama Desert, where the Maricunga project is situated.

This is where Almar Water Solutions believes it can add value. The Spanish-based firm, despite its name, is a specialist in water solutions for renewable energy production. Their expertise lies in minimizing water usage, a crucial factor for sustainable lithium extraction in water-scarce environments.

Carlos Cosin, CEO of Almar Water Solutions, emphasized the company's three-pronged approach to the partnership:financial muscle, established presence in the region, and access to cutting-edge technology. He clarified that Almar isn't interested in becoming a lithium seller; their core business lies in providing solutions.

Codelco, the world's largest copper producer, was tasked by the Chilean government to bolster the state's presence in the lithium sector. To achieve this, Codelco hired investment bank Rothschild to find a suitable partner for the Maricunga project. The state-owned mining giant aims to finalize the selection process by the first quarter of 2025.

Almar's interest in the project stems from their technological capabilities. Their expertise extends beyond water management; they possess solutions for metal separation in the microelectronics industry, direct lithium extraction, and even battery recycling. This comprehensive skillset positions them as a potentially valuable partner for Codelco.

Furthermore, Cosin highlighted the potential for Almar to bring in an additional strong financial partner if they are included in a consortium for the Maricunga project. Their affiliation with the Abdul Latif Jameel conglomerate grants them access to substantial resources.

The potential collaboration between Almar Water Solutions and Codelco signifies a growing trend in the lithium mining industry. Companies are increasingly seeking partnerships that combine expertise in extraction, sustainability, and financial backing. This collaborative approach is crucial for ensuring a responsible and efficient lithium supply chain, vital for the future of electric vehicles and the clean energy revolution.

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