France’s Eramet Looking to Double Lithium Production in Argentina Project

French miner Eramet is examining to double production target at its lithium project in Argentina, as it scrambles to meet growing demand for minerals used in electric vehicles (EVs). The company aims to start production of lithium at the Centenario deposit from early 2024. It is developing the project with Chinese steelmaker Tsingshan, with a production target of 24,000 tonnes per year of lithium carbonate equivalent.

“Together with Tsingshan … Eramet has commenced a prefeasibility study into the potential for a Phase 2 expansion of the project. Whilst still at a preliminary stage, this study is investigating the potential to double the annual production capacity from Phase 1,” Eramet reported in a third-quarter sales statement on Thursday.

The French mining company also reiterated its ambition and interest in developing other lithium projects in the “lithium triangle” a territory which covers parts of Argentina, Chile and Bolivia.

The company is also looking at opportunities to use its lithium extraction technology for brine in unconventional sites such as geothermal, waters and oilfields.

Eramet is among companies testing geothermal extraction of lithium in the Rhine basin around the French-German border.

Earlier this week, another French miner Imerys announced it is planning to develop a large mine deposit in France.

As part of its effort to focus on battery metals, Eramet is also studying possibilities to produce battery grade nickel and cobalt from ore extracted at its Indonesia operations.

An investment decision is expected in the first half of 2023, Eramet said.

The French group raised its full-year targets for nickel ore output in Indonesia and manganese output in Gabon, but lowered nickel production and export forecasts for New Caledonia due to heavy rain.

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