Lithium producer Orocobre and joint venture partner Toyota
Tsusho Corp have started construction at what will be the first
lithium hydroxide plant in Japan.
The Naraha lithium hydroxide plant will be built with a
production capacity of 10,000 tonnes per year of lithium
hydroxide and is the first of its kind in Japan, using
lithium carbonate as feedstock.
The companies plan to use lithium carbonate produced
following stage 2 expansion at Orocobre's Olaroz lithium
facility in Northern Argentina to produce battery grade
lithium hydroxide for the battery industry in
The Naraha plant expects to use about 9,500-9,700 tonnes
of lithium carbonate to produce the 10,000 tpy of lithium
hydroxide, but these numbers are unconfirmed until the plant
ramps up, Orocobre said.
Commissioning at the Naraha plant is expected during the
first half of Orocobre’s 2021 financial year
starting July 2020.
In the 2019 financial year that ended in June, Orocobre
produced 12,605 tonnes of lithium carbonate, an increase of
1.08% from 12,470 tonnes produced in the previous 12
Commissioning of Orocobre’s stage 2
production expansion at Olaroz will start at the beginning of
2020 with the aim of reaching production of 17,000 tpy of
battery grade lithium carbonate and 15,500 tpy of technical
and industrial grade lithium carbonate.
"This is an exciting time for Orocobre and our joint
venture partners as we see construction commencing at the
Naraha site. This couldn’t have come at a more
opportune time, as we work towards producing low-cost battery
grade lithium hydroxide at a time when demand is expected to
grow significantly," Orocobre’s managing
director and chief executive officer Martín
Pérez de Solay said.
Under the joint venture agreement, Toyota will manage the
sale of the lithium hydroxide produced at Naraha, which will
be situated close to Sumitomo's operating cathode
manufacturing plant and a future battery manufacturing
facility built in a joint venture between Toyota and
Lithium hydroxide production expansion has been a trend
in the lithium industry, with lithium producers seeking to
increase their production of lithium hydroxide ahead of the
expected growth of next generation nickel-rich lithium ion
batteries which typically use lithium hydroxide.