Li3 Energy Inc. is focused on developing a business strategy in the lithium brine mining and energy sectors. In accordance with its business strategy, Li3 Energy has acquired the assets of Next Lithium Corp., a move that Li3 Energy said it believes will help position the company as one of the largest holders of prospective lithium acreages in the world.

Per the agreement, Li3 Energy owns a 100 percent stake in 170,000 acres of a “strategically located” property prospective for lithium brine in Big Smoky Valley near Tonopah, Nevada.

Li3 Energy said the property is geologically similar to the Clayton Valley, one of the world’s leading lithium hydroxide providers, and the only lithium producing mine in the U.S.

According to Luis Saenz, president and CEO of Li3 Energy, the acquisition provides several opportunities for the company.

“We are pleased that the acquisition closed as planned and to the mutual satisfaction of all concerned. We are increasingly excited by the heightened prospects before us with this new acquisition. We now control the largest potential lithium brine land position near to the Silver Peak Mine and are confident this asset will prove to have significant value. We have begun the requisite permitting process working with the Nevada Bureau of Mines and local authorities so as to commence our planned exploration program. The opportunity to develop a new major lithium resource within the United States comes during a period of highly favorable conditions in light of the recent significance the government has placed on the domestic production of lithium,” Saenz stated.

Li3 Energy’s exploration strategy includes surface sampling, regional and detailed seismic surveys, diamond drilling and pumping tests. The company expects the program to cost about $1.5 million and anticipates completion by the end of 2010.