Salta: The Centenario Project is on track to become Argentina's fourth lithium carbonate producer

Eramet announced that it is ready to mark a milestone in the Argentine industrial landscape with the upcoming inauguration of its production plant in the province of Salta. It will be the fourth project capable of producing lithium carbonate in the country and the first in the Salta region. Known as Centenario and operated in collaboration between the French company Eramet and the Chinese company Tsingshan, it stands as a promise of development and growth in the NOA region.

By Panorama Minero

The inauguration ceremony is scheduled for July 3, marking the culmination of over a decade of hard work and a projected investment exceeding US$800 million. Strategically located in the Centenario Ratones salt flat, at 4,000 meters above sea level and 75 kilometers from the community of Santa Rosa de los Pastos Grandes, this plant will represent, according to Eramine estimates, a significant boost to the local and regional economy amid a global context linked to the energy transition that especially demands copper and lithium.

For its production phase, the project will use an alternative direct extraction (DLE) technology that allows for a more dynamic production than the classic evaporation pond format, a recurring sight in lithium brine operations in the region. With this technology, Eramine South America S.A, the local subsidiary, projects to reach its initial lithium production by September, with an estimated figure of around 4,000 metric tons of LCE by year-end. Long-term commercial capacity is projected at 24,000 metric tons annually, marking a significant step in the consolidation of the venture within the national mining offer.

According to the latest quarter analysis, the plant has achieved a progress level of 95%, with an investment of US$630 million already made. Now, it is expected that once this phase 1 is completed, a second phase will be initiated, which includes the construction of an additional plant and the addition of greater production capacity, subject to the approval of environmental impact studies and company decisions.

Additionally, the lithium resources in the Centenario-Ratones salt flat have been reevaluated and increased by 52%, totaling 15.1 Mt-LCE as of January 1, 2024 (compared to January 1, 2023), with an average grade for these resources increased by 16% to 407 mg/L.

Perspectives from Christel Bories, President and CEO of the Group

The head of the European firm Eramet stated in a recent release that "at the beginning of this second quarter, we maintain our focus on achieving our operational performance, strictly managing our costs and growth CAPEX, especially in Argentina." The company's view is that the market environment remains uninspiring, though showing signs of improvement and a perspective of strong tension in manganese ore supply, another key resource for battery production.

Christel Bories also emphasized the strategic importance of the project, especially in a global context where lithium demand is projected to steadily increase. According to previous statements by Bories, the scarcity of lithium in the global market and the forecast of an exponential demand increase by 2030 make this project a highly relevant investment and one of the most prized assets for a diversified company like Eramet.


Edición 529 - Abril 2024
2024 Argentine Mining Compendium
Edición 528 - Marzo 2024
Edición 527 - Febrero 2024
Edición 526 - Diciembre 2023
Edición 525 - Noviembre 2023
Edición 524 - Octubre 2023
Edición 523 - Septiembre 2023
Edición 522 - Agosto 2023
Edicion 521 - Julio 2023
Edición 520 - Junio 2023
Edicion 519 - Mayo 2023


    Expo San Juan
    Lithium in South America
    Gold, Silver & Copper

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