Toyota secures mother lode of lithium in Argentina

 

Listen to my story ‘bout a company named Toyota
Crankin out the Pria, tryin to make their sales quota
Without enough batteries, production would halt
Good thing they found a bunch of carbonate salt

Lithium, that is…white gold…Argentine applesauce…

…but seriously folks, Japanese news site Nikkei reported this week that the Toyota Tsusho Corporation will soon begin producing lithium at the Salar de Olaroz, a salt flat in Argentina. Toyota Tsusho and Australian mining company Orocobre formed a joint venture in 2010 to extract minerals from the site, which they originally estimated to contain about 1.5 million tons of lithium carbonate, the raw material for EV batteries. A more detailed assessment shows that the salar may contain well over six million tons of the stuff.

The two companies will begin developing the site in 2012, and mining should begin in 2013. Projected production is 16,400 tons of lithium per year. Toyota Tsusho supplies the strategic mineral not only to Toyota Motors but to many other Asian companies, including Panasonic and Sanyo.