French diversified miner Eramet plans to make an investment decision on its Centenario-Ratones lithium project in Argentina in the first half of 2019 and potentially start production at the end of 2021.
It said Dec. 19 that work on a technical and economic feasibility study is underway. Eramet estimates that a €500 million investment is needed for an operation producing 24,000 tonnes of lithium carbonate equivalent per year.
The company discovered the Centenario-Ratones deposit in 2012 and has held the mining rights since April 2014. It contains resources estimated at 9 million tonnes of LCE and should produce at the above-mentioned rate for several decades.
Eramet is appointing the CEO of its Gabonese subsidiary, Herve Montegu, as senior vice president of lithium activities as of Jan. 1, 2019, to lead the development of Centenario-Ratones.
The company is also is studying other lithium projects in Chile and Europe.
Eramet Chairman and CEO Christel Bories said the lithium project in Argentina is "central" to company strategy.