The construction schedule of the Cauchari-Olaroz lithium project, in Argentina, will be reassessed to account for delays in the delivery of equipment for the chemical plant, Vancouver-based Lithium Americas reported on Friday.
The company said that several pieces of equipment were being fabricated in China and that some suppliers had sub-vendors fabricating in China.
As a result of the recent outbreak of the new coronavirus, Covid-19, which closed factories and business in China for an extended period, there could be delays of up to 90 days in the delivery time for some of the items.
Construction could now be delayed until early 2021, rather than the end of 2020, Lithium Americas said, noting that at the end of February, construction of the 40 000 t/d battery-quality lithium carbonate project was about 36% complete.
“The company continues to assess the impact of Covid-19 on the development program, including discussions with all vendors and freight forwarders on the delivery schedule, to assess the impact on schedule and to develop mitigation strategies, if necessary. The company intends to provide updated guidance on the construction schedule in the second quarter,” it said in a statement.
Minera Exar – a 50:50 joint venture between Lithium Americas and China’s Jiangxi Ganfeng – owns the project, which is adjacent to Orocobre’s Olaroz facility.
The project will cost $565-million.