Lithium Americas plans phase II expansion at Argentinian mine, adding at least 20,000tpa of lithium carbonate equivalent production capacity

Lithium Americas is pleased to provide an update on the Caucharí-Olaroz lithium project (“Caucharí-Olaroz”) in partnership with Ganfeng Lithium (“Ganfeng Lithium”) (together, the “Caucharí-Olaroz Partners”) in Jujuy province, Argentina.

The Caucharí-Olaroz Partners have approved the commencement of development planning for a second stage (“Stage 2”) expansion of at least an additional 20,000 tonnes per annum (“tpa”) of lithium carbonate equivalent (“LCE”) production capacity from Caucharí-Olaroz.

Caucharí-Olaroz is on track to become the largest new lithium brine operation in over 20 years,” commented George Ireland, Chairman of Lithium Americas, “With construction for Stage 1 expected to be complete within the next year, together with Ganfeng Lithium, we are beginning to plan our next phase of growth in Argentina.”

Stage 2 Expansion Plan
The Caucharí-Olaroz Stage 2 expansion is targeting the following development parameters:

  • Production capacity of at least 20,000 tpa LCE to commence in 2025.
  • Construction commencing in H2 2022, following the commissioning and start-up of the initial 40,000 tpa operation (“Stage 1”).
  • Infrastructure additions to support long-term expansions beyond Stage 2.

The Caucharí-Olaroz Partners expect to provide further details of the Stage 2 expansion plan by Q4 2021, followed by an updated feasibility study in 2022.

Stage 1 Construction Update
Construction on the initial 40,000 tpa Stage 1 operation remains on track for first production in mid-2022.

  • There are currently over 1,000 workers on site, following the completion of additional camp capacity to ensure compliance with strict COVID-19 health and safety protocols. No positive cases of COVID-19 have been reported at site in eight months.
  • In Q2 2021, senior members of Ganfeng Lithium’s commissioning and construction team arrived in Argentina to assist the project through to start-up. Ganfeng Lithium’s team brings recent experience constructing and commissioning lithium carbonate plants in China.
  • All major equipment and the majority of bulk materials have been delivered to site, reducing risk of supply chain delays.
  • The evaporation ponds are well advanced with sufficient brine inventory to support production ramp up.
  • Mechanical construction of the lime plant is completed and the piping work to connect the lime line is more than 95% complete.