China’s Zijin Mining Group is in advanced talks with Argentinean mining company Camyen to develop a facility to produce lithium iron phosphate for cathodes, reported Bloomberg News, citing two people familiar with the matter.

With the capacity to produce 50,000 tonnes of lithium iron phosphate per annum, the plant could be commissioned as soon as next year.

Cathodes are used in the production of batteries for electric vehicles (EVs).

Zijin is planning to commission its Tres Quebradas lithium mine in Catamarca, Argentina, in the fourth quarter of this year.

Earlier this year, Reuters reported that Zijin Mining was considering investing $380m (2.73bn yuan) to construct a lithium carbonate plant in the Tres Quebradas project.

The proposed plant will have a 20,000-tonnes per annum (tpa) production capacity of lithium carbonate. The production capacity is anticipated to be doubled in the medium term.

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By GlobalData

Argentina is said to be the world’s fourth-largest battery metal producer behind Australia, Chile and China, according to US Geological Survey data.

Recently, Bloomberg News reported that Glencore was in advanced talks to fund the development of Eramet’s lithium processing plant in Centenario-Ratones, Argentina, in exchange for lithium supplies.

Estimated to cost more than €700m ($763m), the planned processing plant will have a 24,000tpa production capacity of lithium carbonate equivalent. It is scheduled to start production in the second quarter of next year.