Orocobre has officially opened its Olaroz lithium mine.
The project, located in Argentina, is a joint venture between Australian firm Orocobre and Toyota Tsusho Corporation, with Orocobre now focusing on signing lithium offtake agreements.
The mine itself has a design capacity of approximately 17 500 tonnes per annum of lithium carbonate.
Speaking on the opening of the mine, Orocobre CEO Richard Seville said: " It is almost exactly seven years since we first traded on the ASX on 4 December 2007 with the hope that our Olaorz lithium project would have real merit. It is hard to believe that in such as short time we have taken Olaroz through exploration, feasibility studies, permitting, financing, construction, and now on to the commencement of production."
"We are looking forward to becoming a major reliable supplier of lithium chemicals to worldwide industry."
Lithium is currently being looked to as one of the drivers for cleaner, renewable energy.
As the world moves slowly from gasoline driven cars to rechargeable electric and hybrid vehicles, it needs lithium to construct the batteries that power them.
However, there are not that many producers of lithium, either from mineral or brine sources.
As the need for lithium rises, it is put under pressure as currently one mine alone, Talison’s Greenbushes, supplies 69% of all lithium mineral to the world.
This new development is set to relieve some of the current lithium market pressure.