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UPDATE 1-Russia's Rosatom may buy controlling stake in Chile lithium project

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MOSCOW, Oct 15 (Reuters) - Uranium One Group, a subsidiary of Russia’s state nuclear company Rosatom, may buy a controlling stake in a lithium project in Chile from Canada-listed Wealth Minerals Ltd, Wealth Minerals said in a statement on Tuesday.

Rosatom, the world’s biggest nuclear company by foreign orders, offered Chile technology which, according to the Russian company, can boost output of lithium, a key ingredient in electric vehicle batteries, lobbyist transparency filings showed in December.

Wealth Minerals, the mineral resource company with focus on lithium projects in South America, signed a memorandum of understanding with Uranium One, it said in the statement.

The memorandum provides for the acquisition by Uranium One of up to a 51% stake in Wealth Minerals’s Atacama lithium project in northern Chile on commercial terms to be agreed upon by the parties, it added.

Rosatom’s interest in the South American nation’s lithium industry comes as electric automakers worldwide seek resources for their batteries. Chile is the world’s top copper producer and the world’s No. 2 producer of lithium - both metals critical for the industry. (Reporting by Polina Devitt; Editing by Nick Macfie)