July 18, 2011 / 12:37 PM / in 6 years

UPDATE 1-Lithium Americas' Argentina plant to start producing in Q4

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July 18 (Reuters) - Canadian miner Lithium Americas Corp expects to start producing lithium carbonate at its Cauchari-Olaroz project in Argentina in the fourth quarter of this year.

The company said it is constructing a pilot plant to produce 99.5 percent purity lithium carbonate at the third-largest lithium brine project in the world, which will likely benefit from an expected 20 percent rise in lithium carbonate prices.

Demand for lithium carbonate, used mostly in hybrid vehicles, computer and smartphone batteries, is on the rise as countries look to reduce their dependence on crude oil to meet their energy needs.

As at May 31, the company invested about $31 million in property rights and exploration in the project, Lithium Americas said in a statement.

Shares of the company closed at C$1.63 on Friday on the Toronto Stock Exchange. (Reporting by Gowri Jayakumar in Bangalore; Editing by Maju Samuel)

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