Toyota Tsusho Corporation, (Toyota Tsusho) announced that Sales de Jujuy S.A., an Argentine lithium development company in which it owns a stake, has officially started lithium production at Salar de Olaroz in Jujuy Province, northwestern Argentina.
The company plans to produce 17,500 tons of lithium carbonate annually.
In January 2010, Toyota Tsusho and Australian resources developer Orocobre Limited began conducting a joint feasibility study for the development of lithium resources at Salar de Olaroz. In December 2012, development authorization and mining rights were secured from Jujuy Province, and Toyota Tsusho acquired a 25% stake in Sales de Jujuy.
In August 2013, Sales de Jujuy started construction of a lithium carbonate plant to draw brine from Salar de Olaroz and refine the brine into lithium carbonate. This plant has now starts commercial production.
This project marks the first investment by a Japanese company into lithium carbonate development in Argentina.
Toyota Tsusho has acquired 100% sales rights to the lithium carbonate produced at the plant and aims to build a complete lithium supply chain, extending from upstream to downstream processes, in order to meet the expected growth in demand from Japan and other countries around the world.
Shipments of lithium carbonate from the plant to Japan are expected to begin in January 2015.