Lithium Americas (TSX: LAC; NYSE: LAC) has marked the official opening of its lithium process testing facility located in Reno, Nevada, with a ground-breaking ceremony on Thursday. The company was joined by Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak and University of Nevada, Reno president Brian Sandoval.
The Lithium Technical Development Center was developed to demonstrate the chemical process designed for the company’s Thacker Pass lithium project in Humboldt county, Nevada. Production of lithium product samples using the Thacker Pass flowsheet commenced last month. Initial production successfully produced 5 kg of battery-quality lithium carbonate.
Additionally, the approximately 2,800 m2 facility will be used to conduct test work on new target ores and brines, and contains a state-of-the-art analytical laboratory capable of analyzing ultra-pure lithium compounds. Lithium Americas and the UNV Reno are collaborating on this commercial work.
“As we prepare to break ground on Thacker Pass, we have never lost sight of our broader responsibility in developing the largest and most advanced new source of lithium in the U.S.,” stated Jonathan Evans, president and CEO of Lithium Americas, adding that the new lithium facility will "help cement Nevada’s place as a critical hub for battery development."
With the processing facility now fully commissioned and operational, Lithium Americas plans to proceed with early-works construction for its Nevada lithium operation this year. All state and federal permits to commence construction are currently in place. The federal appeal of the record of decision, which was received in January 2021, is ongoing, with briefings scheduled to end on Aug. 11, 2022. Oral arguments and a final decision are expected to follow shortly after.
The Thacker Pass project is currently moving towards its feasibility phase, targeting an initial production capacity to 40,000 tonnes of lithium carbonate per year, with a second stage expansion targeting a total annual production capacity of 80,000 tonnes. Results of the feasibility study is expected in the second half of this year.
Full details of the Thacker Pass can be found on www.lithiumamericas.com.