Chaiwat Kovavisarach, BCP’s president and chief executive officer, said it will launch a joint venture to produce lithium in Argentina at the end of 2021, delayed from the original mid-2021 start date due to the Covid-19 impact.
"The company has lifted the target for lithium production in the project’s first phase to 40,000 tonnes per year from the original 25,000 tonnes," he said.
"The company aims to achieve revenue by 2021, but this has been delayed due to the Covid-19 impact."
He said the company will buy about 6,000 tonnes of lithium per year.
"Meanwhile, the company is now considering whether to produce lithium batteries or merely distribute them, because several businesses are interested in buying lithium from us," he said.
The market price of lithium has fallen from US$15,000 to $9,000-$10,000 per tonne, in response to the drop in the crude oil price.
"However, we expect the price of lithium to increase in response to Europe’s economic recovery after the Covid-19 outbreak is resolved," he said.
"In addition, European countries such as Germany are helping businesses to set up charging stations, in order to encourage people to use electric cars."
He added that BCP had invested in lithium mining with its 15.8-per-cent shareholding in Lithium Americas Corporation (LAC).
"LAC and Ganfeng Lithium each hold 50 per cent of shares in Minera Exar, a lithium miner in Argentina," he added. "In addition, LAC holds a 100-per-cent of the shares to develop lithium mines in the US state of Nevada."
Published : June 15, 2020
By : The Nation