China's Ganfeng gets green light for Argentina lithium plant

(Reuters) - China’s Ganfeng Lithium on Tuesday said its subsidiary had received approval to build a 20,000 tonnes per year lithium plant for its Mariana project in northern Argentina, where it intends to use solar power.

Ganfeng, one of the world’s top producers of lithium chemicals for electric-vehicle batteries, said its unit Litio Minera Argentina “recently obtained an Environmental Impact Report approval for the construction of a plant for the Mariana lithium salt lake project from Salta Province”.

The document approved a plant with capacity to produce 20,000 tonnes of lithium chloride annually.

Lithium chloride, produced at lithium brine projects, can be used to make battery-grade lithium carbonate or lithium metal.

Ganfeng, which said last month it would use a 120-megawatt photovoltaic system to power the plant, had previously noted lithium at Mariana could be extracted through solar evaporation, reducing emissions and costs.

Reporting by Tom Daly; editing by Barbara Lewis