Argentina: Plans for Potash Production as By-Product of Lithium Operations

Canada-based Lithium Americas Corp. principal property consists of a portion of two adjacent Argentinean salt lakes, Cauchari and Olaroz (Jujuy province), covering 82,500 hectares in the Lithium Triangle region of South America. They are developing one of the world’s largest and lowest cost lithium operations. They plan to include potash production at their Cauchari-Olaroz Lithium Brine Project, potash output has been estimated to be two tonnes of potash per tonne of lithium carbonate. A Preliminary Economic Assessment filed by the Company in May 2011, completed by the independent engineering firm ARA WorleyParsons, identified annual lithium carbonate production of 40,000 tonnes – built in two equal phases of 20,000 tonnes per annum. As such, Lithium Americas is anticipating approximately 80,000 tonnes per year of potash production once both phases are complete. Potash salts have been sent to the Saskatchewan Research Council for metallurgical testing.

It has been indicated that Lithium Americas’ operating cost per tonne of lithium carbonate is US$1,434 (prior to expected potash by-product credit); this would make Lithium Americas the world’s lowest cost lithium producer.

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