French mining company Eramet has unveiled its plans to enhance its battery-grade lithium mineral production capacity in Argentina and double its nickel mine production in Indonesia.

As part of its plan, Eramet intends to invest around €1.9bn ($2.03bn) in capital expenditure, between 2024 and 2026, an increase in expected annual investment from €550m for this year.

In Argentina, Eramet has been developing the Centenario lithium project, in partnership with Chinese private company Tsingshan, with an in-house DLE technology to extract lithium.

The company intends to advance the second phase of development of the project, which aims to produce 30,000 tonnes of lithium carbonate equivalent (LCE) a year.

The first phase of development, currently under construction, is expected to begin production in Q2 2024, with an annual production capacity of 24,000t of battery-grade LCE.

Eramet’s Board of Directors recently approved the investment decision for Phase 2 development, subject to obtaining construction permits.

The second phase of the Centenario lithium project is anticipated to begin construction in Q2 2024, with production in Q2 2026, and a full ramp-up expected by mid-2027.

Eramet Group chair and CEO Christel Bories said: Over the past six years, we have repositioned the Group into a pure leading mining and metals company with a diversified portfolio of world-class assets and a more agile organization.

“With this successful repositioning and its strategy focused on metals needed for economic development and the energy transition, Eramet is particularly well positioned to take full advantage of the unique period ahead in a world that will need more and more metals, and thus to create value in a sustainable way.

“With a portfolio of long-life high-grade deposits, a robust financial profile, a strategy aligned with macro trends and an ambitious new CSR roadmap, the Group is poised to further drive its momentum in this new era of metals.”

In Indonesia, Eramet plans to increase production from the Weda Bay nickel mine from the projected 30 million wet metric tonnes for this year to 60 million tonnes in 2026.

Weda Bay is the world’s largest nickel mine that supplies saprolite and limonite nickel laterite ores to local Class 1 and Class 2 nickel producers at an attractive price, said Eramet.

Furthermore, the French mining company intends to enhance manganese production from its mine in Gabon and has acquired a 120,000-hectare lithium concession in Chile for $95m.

Eramet chair and CEO Christel Bories told Reuters: “These investments are being made in areas with very high growth. Lithium is not tied to world economic growth, it’s tied to the development of batteries and the energy transition.”