South Korean Posco is to build a lithium carbonate plant at the Cauchari salt lake in Argentina and to install its lithium extraction technology.
The lithium plant is set to start operations in December this year. The facility is aimed to have an annual production capacity of 200 tonnes.
Posco’s lithium extraction technology is based on natural evaporation. The recovery rate is 80%.
Posco’s new extraction technology will be applied for mass production for the first time.
The mineral rights are owned by Lithium Americas. The Canadian company will provide the rights to use the Cauchari brine, infrastructures and relevant licensing, while POSCO will build and operate independent facilities.
The lithium market is expected to grow rapidly. The expanding market for electric vehicles that use lithium batteries will lead to a higher need. Tesla recently announced to invest $5m in its planned secondary cell plant, which is estimated to lead an upsurge for lithium demand.
South Korea is depending on lithium imports despite being the top producer of secondary cells in the world. Posco also runs a lithium extraction plant in Chile with a capacity of 20 tonnes.