Exploration and development company Bacanora Lithium (LON:BCN) said on Wednesday it had begun initial site activities at its flagship Sonora lithium project in Mexico.
The company is developing the mine with strategic partner Ganfeng Lithium, which recently increased its stake in the Mexican project from 22.5% to 50%, injecting $65 million into Bacanora’s coffers.
Production of battery grade lithium, the company said, is scheduled for 2023, with output estimated at 35,000 tonnes of lithium per year.
Bacanora said the construction team is focusing on preparatory work required to upgrade the main access road to the site. This will allow heavy equipment to start the bulk site earthworks later in the year.
The company has launched a tender program that aims to use local construction and engineering groups from the surrounding Sonora region.
Bacanora said it has also engaged an ecological services company based in Sonora to begin initial site works. These activities will involve the rescue and removal of surface vegetation and topsoil in the area where the processing plant will be built.
The excavated material will be stockpiled at a location adjacent to the plant site and will be stored in a manner that allows Bacanora to incorporate it into the future project rehabilitation schedule, the company said.
Lithium prices have soared in recent weeks, particularly in China, on the back of heavy demand for lithium iron phosphate (LFP) batteries and tight battery-grade lithium carbonate spot supply.
The uptrend has expanded into Europe, the United States and the seaborne Asia market.
Producers have said they expect the price trend to continue after the Chinese New Year holiday, which officially ends on February 17.
Bacanora has said it expects lithium demand to grow by 800% by 2030, thanks to increased electric vehicles (EV) demand.