April 18, 2011 / 12:34 PM / in 7 years

UPDATE 2-Lithium Americas to build 40,000 tonne plant in Argentina, shrs rise

* Says to spend about $398 mln to build plant

* Says plant to start adding to rev in 2014

* Shares rise 14 pct (Adds details on project, updates share movement)

APRIL 18 - Canadian miner Lithium Americas Corp said it plans to start building a lithium carbonate facility next year at its Cauchuri project in Argentina, sending its shares up nearly 14 percent.

The plant, which is to have a total output capacity of 40,000 tonnes per annum and cost $398 million, is expected to start adding to the company’s revenue in 2014, Lithium Americas said in a statement.

The plant is to be designed to exploit about half the project’s resources over a 40-year mine life at operating costs of $1434 per tonne.

The company said the preliminary economic assessment of the Cauchari-Olaroz lithium brine project, which is estimated to be the third largest in the world, did not include by-products potash and borax.

In December, Lithium Americas had estimated total measured and indicated resources of about 1 million tonnes of lithium metal and 5.3 million tonnes of lithium carbonate at the Cauchuri project.

Interest in Lithium carbonate, used most popularly in hybrid vehicles, computer and smartphone batteries, has surged recently as countries across the globe look to cut their dependence on crude oil to meet their energy needs.

Earlier this month, peer Canada Lithium Corp said it was facing a lawsuit for about $52 million over resource estimates at its Quebec lithium project that may not be as high as projected. [ID:nN11167572]

Shares of the Toronto-based miner were up 27 Candian cents at C$2.28 in Monday morning trade on the Toronto Stock Exchange. (Reporting by Abhiram Nandakumar in Bangalore;Editing by Vyas Mohan)

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