POSCO Holdings has begun construction of a brine lithium facility at Salar del Hombre Muerto in Argentina, with its completion expected in the first half of 2024.

The firm is the Latin American country’s first to manufacture lithium hydroxide for batteries through the complete process, right from acquisition of mining rights to exploration to construction and operation of a production facility.

A groundbreaking ceremony was held on 23 March in Salta Province of Argentina for the brine lithium plant based at Salar del Hombre Muerto (Salt Lake).

Once the facility becomes operational, it will have a production capacity of 25,000t of lithium hydroxide annually.

The total investment of $839m includes for infrastructure and working capital.

POSCO Argentina, a completely-owned subsidiary of POSCO Holdings will be responsible for the financing, construction and operation of the lithium plant.

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Besides the lithium business, the company intends to grow the mass production to 50,000t from the end of 2024 via a second investment of 25,000t annually and expand the production to a maximum of 100,000t from the Salt Lake by 2028.

The 25,000t of lithium hydroxide that the firm will produce annually with the commence of operations will be enough to supply about 600,000 electric vehicles.

Once production is expanded to a maximum of 100,000t, this volume can meet the demand for about 2.4 million electric vehicles.


Image: POSCO Group’s brine lithium demo plant in Argentina. Credit:  POSCO Holdings/PRNewswire.