China’s Ganfeng Lithium has finalised a US$160 million investment deal to raise its stake in Argentina’s Cauchari-Olaroz lithium brine project to 50%.
China's largest lithium compounds producer Ganfeng Lithium will now partner Canada’s Lithium Americas (LA) in a 50-50 joint venture that will develop and operate the project.
LA said a Ganfeng subsidiary increased its stake in the project from 37.5% by subscribing to newly-issued shares of Minera Exar— the holding company for the Caucharí-Olaroz project. Minera Exar received $160m in cash from Ganfeng to continue to fund the project’s construction activities.
Jon Evans, LA’s president and CEO, said: “With the project investment complete, we have further strengthened our liquidity and expect to release the results of a feasibility study on an expanded initial production capacity for the project of 40,000 tonnes per annum of battery-grade lithium carbonate in September 2019.”
Ganfeng initially bought into Caucharí-Olaroz in 2018 when it acquired its 37.5% interest from Chilean mining firm Sociedad Quimica y Minera de Chile (SQM).
Last year, Ganfeng agreed to supply a fifth of its production to Tesla, which would designate its battery suppliers to buy lithium-hydroxide products from Ganfeng.
Earlier this year, Ganfeng agreed to buy a 30% stake in Mexico-focused Bacanora Lithium. Ganfeng deputy chairman Wang Xiaoshen said the deal was key towards the company becoming the world's largest lithium producer.