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Caucharí-Olaroz lithium project, Argentina – update

Image of lithium brine ponds

16th June 2023

By: Sheila Barradas

Creamer Media Research Coordinator & Senior Deputy Editor

     

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Name of the Project
Caucharí-Olaroz lithium project.

Location
Jujuy province, Argentina.

Project Owner/s
Caucharí-Olaroz is 100%-owned by Minera Exar, a 50:50 joint venture (JV) between Lithium Americas and Ganfeng Lithium.

Project Description
Stage 1 of the project aims to produce 40 000 t/y of battery-quality lithium carbonate.

This includes a conventional, commercially proven brine-processing technology, optimised from the salar in partnership with Ganfeng Lithium, to produce battery-quality lithium carbonate. This, in turn, can be used to meet the specifications of battery material producers in the manufacturing of cathode, and electrolyte for lithium-ion batteries.

The project has a 40-year mine life.

Stage 2 will have a capacity of 20 000 t/y of lithium carbonate equivalent.

Potential Job Creation
More than 1 000 workers were on site in May 2021.

Net Present Value/Internal Rate of Return
The project has a base case after-tax net present value, at a 10% discount rate, of $1.33-billion.

Capital Expenditure
The project’s capital cost has risen to $979-million at the official Argentina exchange rate. This compares with $645-million previously.

Planned Start/End Date
First production is expected in mid-2022.

Construction on Stage 2 is targeted to start in the second half of 2022, with production expected in 2025.

Latest Developments
Lithium Americas has reported that the Caucharí-Olaroz project has produced its first lower-than-battery-quality lithium carbonate as part of commissioning.

During the ramp-up stage to production capacity of 40 000 t/y, the company expects Caucharí-Olaroz to operate substantially below designed capacity and to produce lithium carbonate below battery-quality specifications.

Additional purification processing equipment required to achieve battery-quality lithium carbonate is expected to be completed on site in the second half of 2023.

Key Contracts, Suppliers and Consultants
None stated.

Contact Details for Project Information
Lithium Americas, tel +1778656 5820 or email info@lithiumamericas.com.

Edited by Creamer Media Reporter

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