Singapore-based battery and critical metals explorer and producer Pan Asia Metals (PAM) has signed agreements to acquire the Tama Atacama lithium brine project in South America.

The Tama Atacama lithium brine project constitutes the Dolores North, Dolores South, Pozon and Pink project areas, along with the northern half of the Ramatidas project area.

It is one of the largest lithium brine projects in South America, with around 120,000ha (around 1,200km2) of area, where PAM has secured priority concerning mineral rights.

Located in a Tier 1 mining jurisdiction, the Tama Atacama lithium brine project has exploration licenses or license applications in place.

The project covers three salars and extensive lithium surface anomalies within the area, with assays up to 2,200ppm Li and averaging 700ppm Li.

The Li anomalies are situated in a trend which extends around 160km from north to south.

Pan Asia Metals managing director Paul Lock said: “The Tama Atacama Lithium Project has the potential to be one of the largest lithium brine projects in the global peer group.

“Surface assays for lithium are extremely high and the project has enviable strategic positioning, with all infrastructure requirements satisfied.

“Waste and water balance solutions are available should straight evaporation or a DLE-evaporation hybrid lithium extraction model be adopted.

“The project is situated at a comfortable altitude, is close to a large labour pool and will attract specific brine skillsets from elsewhere in South America.

“Underlying PAM’s advantages are the progressive changes happening in the Chilean lithium sector, the recent MOU between SQM and Codelco quells speculation around nationalisation.”

PAM said that it is in initial discussions with potential strategic partners and expects to have initial discussions with key Chilean government organisations in early 2024.

The company finds Tama Atacama’s scale, Li in surface grades, strategic positioning, and location of several operations adjoining the project as attractive.

The nearly 400km2 target lithium brine and clay blocks located to the south, comprising the southern half of Ramatidas and Powerline, are under review and consideration.

Furthermore, PAM intends to halt the plans for the Hilix Lithium clay project, based on the small scale and restrictive positioning of key road, rail, energy and communications infrastructure.