November 15, 2019 / 9:52 AM / a month ago

Eramet CEO says plans FID on Argentina lithium project in Q1 2020

TOKYO, Nov 15 (Reuters) - French mining company Eramet plans to make a final investment decision (FID) in the first quarter of 2020 on its lithium development project in Argentina, with an aim to start production by the end of 2021, CEO Christel Bories said on Friday.

Eramet earlier predicted the FID would be made at the earliest in the fourth quarter of this year, but the decision has been slightly delayed due to the change in Argentina’s government, Bories said.

“It’s more probable that we will make the decision early next year, but we are talking about (a delay of) a couple of months,” she told a news conference in Tokyo.

The company is in talks with potential customers and it has already tested product from the pilot plant with some potential customers, she added.

Another official at the company said potential customers include companies in Japan, China and Europe and some letters of intent and memorandums of understanding have been signed.

Eramet plans to produce 3,000 tonnes of battery-grade lithium carbonate in 2021 and increase output to 24,000 tonnes in 2024.

In June, Eramet approved the development of a lithium mine in Argentina as it pursues a shift towards minerals used to power electric vehicles to meet burgeoning demand.

Reporting by Yuka Obayashi; editing by Jason Neely

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