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TOKYO (Reuters) - Japanese trading house Itochu Corp is taking part in a U.S. project to extract lithium from wastewater used in geothermal power generation in California, the Nikkei business daily reported on Saturday.

Itochu has taken a roughly 20 percent stake in Simbol Mining Corp, spun off from a research institute under the U.S. Department of Energy, for what is believed to be several billions of yen in return for exclusive sales rights in Asia, excepting India, the Nikkei added.

The project will target annual production of 16,000 tonnes, nearly 20 percent of the current global output, the Nikkei said.

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