Orocobre Ltd. plans to increase lithium carbonate equivalent production capacity at its Olaroz lithium facility in Argentina to 35,000 tonnes per annum, from 17,500 tpa currently, as part of a phase-two expansion.
Commissioning of the additional capacity, which is expected to cost US$190 million including a US$25 million contingency, is targeted for late 2018 or early 2019, the company said on Dec. 14.
The capital expenditure will be financed through a combination of project finance and cash flows from the first stage of operations.
The company is considering constructing a 10,000-tpa, battery-grade lithium hydroxide plant, with Japan as the preferred location, which is expected to cost an additional US$30 million before any government incentives.
The second-stage operating costs for battery-grade lithium carbonate production are expected to decrease to US$2,500 per tonne in fiscal 2018, compared to about US$3,500 per tonne currently.
Orocobre and its joint venture partners, Toyota Tsusho Corp. and Jujuy Energia y Mineria Sociedad del Estado, expect to reach a final investment decision by mid-2017.