Lithium Americas and Arena Minerals have signed a technical collaboration agreement to work together on developing processing technologies in the Pastos Grandes basin in Argentina.
Three members of Lithium Americas and three members of the Sal de la Puna Holdings company, jointly owned by Arena (65%) and Ganfeng New Energy Technology Development, will sit on the technical committee.
The technical committee will manage the sharing of ideas on developing processing technologies for producing up to 35% lithium chloride directly from ponds with lithium chemical processing in northern Argentina.
The committee will also focus on producing lithium carbonate using a liming process by constructing an on-site lithium carbonate plant. The technical committee will also work on alternative direct lithium extraction technologies.
Outside of processing, the companies will develop a basin-wide resource model, as well as develop an optimal brine production model.
The companies will share environmental baseline data, drill hole and sampling databases, processing methodologies and concentration paths, and existing extractive models. No intellectual property, including patents or inventions, will be provided or transferred.
The companies will also share infrastructure owned by Lithium Americas and Arena, which includes an on-site analytical laboratory, pilot ponding facilities, a pilot carbonate conversion plant, and ancillary camp infrastructure.
"Arena's Sal de la Puna project is adjacent to our recently acquired 100% owned Pastos Grandes project, and together, we will collaborate to develop the basin in the most sustainable and efficient way for all stakeholders," Lithium Americas chief executive Ignacio Celorrio said.