Exploration and development company Bacanora Lithium (LON:BCN) announced it expects to reopen the Hermosillo pilot plant at its flagship Sonora lithium project in Mexico next month.
Despite the coronavirus pandemic, the company said it was continuing to progress all feasible workstreams, with significant attention focused on completing work at Sonora.
Bacanora also said the project review by strategic partner Ganfeng Lithium is now scheduled for the third quarter of the year. Previously it was expected to be completed in the first six months of 2020.
The delay may not impact the overall project timeline, Bacanora said. However, Ganfeng’s timing of an engineering, procurement and construction proposal for the production of downstream battery-grade lithium products from the Sonora plant is also under review.
The company said it anticipates lithium demand to grow by 800% by 2030, thanks to increased electric vehicles (EV) demand.
“Whilst demand for internal combustion vehicles has been significantly impacted by the spread of covid-19 and a general economic slowdown, electric vehicle demand in Europe increased over 50% during first quarter [of] 2020,” Bacanora said in a media release.
Bacanora now expects to kick off site works in the first half of 2021. This would allow the miner to begin lithium deliveries to its offtake partners, Ganfeng Lithium and Hanwa Corp, in 2023.
The company, however, has yet to secure full financing for construction of project, which is expected to produce 35,000 tonnes of lithium per year.
Prices for lithium are expected to climb in two years, when shortages in the market caused by curtailed production and halted expansions start to emerge.