Argentina
Feature

Spotlight: Neo Lithium's US$319mn 3Q lithium project

Bnamericas Published: Friday, May 29, 2020
Spotlight: Neo Lithium's US$319mn 3Q lithium project

Toronto-based Neo Lithium advances its US$319mn Tres Quebradas (3Q) lithium project in Argentina’s Catamarca province without problems because it prefers working with a local team, imposes strict cost control, and cultivates relations with surrounding communities.

“To advance a project you need a very strong technical in-country lithium experience. We currently have 50-60 people in Argentina, our CEO lives there. In Latin America you need to know where you are working, your team needs to be on top of the things with communities and legislation,” CFO Carlos Vicens told BNamericas. 

According to BNamericas data, 3Q has the lowest capex of Argentina’s 12 lithium projects, which combine investments of US$4.5bn.

3Q capex intensity is planned to reach US$16,000/t, the lowest of any greenfield development, according to the company.

Neo Lithium has moved 3Q from discovery to full development over the last two years. In March, the asset produced battery grade lithium carbonate of 99.6% purity at its pilot plant.

“We have a high-grade, low impurities and low capex project. 3Q is the third-largest grade project worldwide,” Vicens said.

Yet, the executive added, lithium grade does not necessarily define economic viability because high lithium grades require bigger evaporation ponds, which increase expenses.

One part of 3Q is near the Chilean border, but its pilot plant is 150km away in Fiambalá city. 

“In Fiambalá we have water, energy and people. The city is 2,000m above sea level (masl) and it is cheaper to build a plant there than at 4,000masl, where the ponds are,” Vicens said.

The Fiambalá pilot plant is solar powered, but to reduce electricity consumption for the final plant, the company recently added a stage to the production process, using cold water to extract calcium from the brines.

Neo Lithium controls the entire salar where the 1.3Mt of 3Q’s lithium carbonate reserves are. The company has already permits for surface easement for mine construction, and has been assured of tax stability for 30 years.

The miner works on the environmental impact assessment for a definite construction permit and seeks a strategic partner, including a complete financing solution.

Photo credit: Neo Lithium

To continue reading, subscribe to BNamericas to get all the information in this article and access to related news items and reports.

Subscribe to BNamericas and gain access to thousands of project profiles, key contacts and news.

Other projects in: Mining & Metals (Argentina)

Get critical information about thousands of Mining & Metals projects in Latin America: what stages they're in, capex, related companies, contacts and more.

  • Project: Mariana
  • Current stage: Blurred
  • Updated: 5 months ago
  • Project: Centenario
  • Current stage: Blurred
  • Updated: 5 months ago
  • Project: Cachi
  • Current stage: Blurred
  • Updated: 5 months ago
  • Project: Las Opeñas
  • Current stage: Blurred
  • Updated: 5 months ago
  • Project: Las Tapias
  • Current stage: Blurred
  • Updated: 5 months ago

Other companies in: Mining & Metals (Argentina)

Get critical information about thousands of Mining & Metals companies in Latin America: their projects, contacts, shareholders, related news and more.

  • Company: Panedile Argentina S.A.I.C.F. e I.  (Panedile)
  • Panedile Argentina S.A. (Panedile) is an engineering and construction company focused on the provision of large-scale projects in the following areas: hydroelectric and hydrauli...