South Korean steel-making company POSCO is planning to invest $4bn in a new lithium mining project in Argentina, reported Reuters.

The investment forms part of the firm’s plan to capitalise on surging demand for lithium, which is the key metal for rechargeable batteries.

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Posco will invest in a project at a salt flat, known as Salar de Hombre Muerto, located at the border between the northern Salta and Catamarca provinces.

According to Salta’s mining department, the company initially planned to invest $830m in the venture. However, the modifications in the original project resulted in the increased investment amount.

The project is expected to have an initial annual production of 25,000t of lithium hydroxide and increase to 100,000t following the completion of the venture.

Over the next three decades, the project’s export value is expected to be $260m a year, reported the news agency citing a statement from Argentina President Alberto Fernandez’s office.

Last month, Chinese mining firm Zijin Mining Group said it is looking to invest $380m to construct a lithium carbonate plant in Argentina.

To be built in the Neo Lithium-owned Tres Quebradas project in the northern province of Catamarca, the new plant will have a 20,000tpa production capacity of lithium carbonate.

Argentina, together with neighbours Bolivia and Chile, share the so-called ‘lithium triangle’, which is claimed to host one of the world’s largest lithium reserves.