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Lithium Americas, Ganfeng planning Stage 2 expansion at Caucharí-Olaroz

Lithium Americas’ Caucharí-Olaroz project, located in Argentina’s Jujuy province. (Image courtesy of Lithium Americas)

Lithium Americas (TSX: LAC) (NYSE: LAC) announced on Friday that the company and its joint venture partner Ganfeng Lithium have approved a second stage expansion at the Caucharí-Olaroz lithium project in Jujuy province, Argentina.

Caucharí-Olaroz, named after the two salars in northwest Argentina where the project is located, has an annual production capacity of 40,000 tonnes lithium carbonate equivalent (LCE) over a projected mine life of 40 years.

Development planning is now underway for the Stage 2 expansion, which is expected to add at least 20,000 tpa of production capacity to the Caucharí-Olaroz operation, beginning in 2025.

Construction of the Stage 2 expansion is expected to begin in H2 2022, following the commissioning and start-up of the Stage 1 operation.

Infrastructure additions to support long-term expansions beyond Stage 2 are also targeted by the JV partners.

“Caucharí-Olaroz is on track to become the largest new lithium brine operation in over 20 years”

Lithium Americas chairman George Ireland

Meanwhile, construction of the initial 40,000 tpa Stage 1 operation is progressing and remains on track for completion within the next year. First production is expected in mid-2022.

In Q2 2021, senior members of Ganfeng Lithium’s commissioning and construction team arrived in Argentina to assist the project through to start-up.

“Caucharí-Olaroz is on track to become the largest new lithium brine operation in over 20 years,” Lithium Americas chairman George Ireland said in a news release.

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

Shares of Lithium Americas rose 1.9% by 12:30 ET on the TSX, giving the company a market capitalization of C$2.2 billion.