Swiss commodities giant Glencore is in advanced talks to fund the development of French miner Eramet’s lithium processing plant in Centenario-Ratones, Argentina, in exchange for lithium supplies, reported Bloomberg News.

In collaboration with China’s Tsingshan Holding Group, Eramet is developing the plant to help meet surging demand for key battery ingredients.

Glencore intends to sign an offtake agreement with Eramet in exchange for funding the development of the lithium processing plant.

Details of Glencore’s investment and how much lithium the commodity commodity would secure from the offtake agreement were undisclosed.

Eramet was cited by the news agency as saying that it received interest from several potential companies including Glencore.

The French mining compnay said that “talks are continuing to determine which offer is in the best interest of the company”.

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Eramet’s planned processing plant will have a 24,000-tonnes-per-year production capacity of lithium carbonate equivalent.

Estimated to cost more than €700m ($763m), the facility is scheduled to start production in the second quarter of next year.

In May 2023, Glencore and Canada’s Li-Cycle Holdings announced plans to establish a recycling hub in Portovesme, Italy, to produce crucial battery materials such as lithium.

The companies are considering setting up a 50:50 joint venture to repurpose an existing Glencore facility in Portovesme into a facility to produce nickel, cobalt and lithium from recycled batteries.