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Lithium Americas and Ganfeng Lithium plan project expansion

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Global Mining Review,

Partners Lithium Americas Corp. and Ganfeng Lithium Co., Ltd have provided an update on their Caucharí-Olaroz lithium project in Jujuy province, Argentina.

The Caucharí-Olaroz partners have approved the commencement of development planning for a second stage expansion of at least an additional 20 000 tpy 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 tpy LCE to commence in 2025.
  • Construction commencing in 2H22, following the commissioning and start-up of the initial 40 000 tpy 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 4Q21, followed by an updated feasibility study in 2022.

Stage 1 construction update

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

  • There are currently over 1000 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 2Q21, 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.

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