The company temporarily halted operations at its Argentinian production sites located in the provinces of Catamarca and Salta to comply with local government lockdown measures implemented on March 20.

At the same time, the company sought to apply for an exemption and to obtain authorization from the government to restart its operations.

In February, the company said it would delay its lithium carbonate capacity expansion project in Argentina by six months due to the challenging economic environment triggered by the coronavirus pandemic.

The delay was attributed to low lithium prices and to allow the company to maintain its financial flexibility and align additional supply with expected future demand growth, it said.

Lithium carbonate is a critical component of electric vehicles (EV) batteries.

Fastmarkets assessed the lithium carbonate, 99.5% Li2CO3 min, battery grade, spot price at $8-9.50 per kg on a cif China, Japan and Korea basis on Thursday April 2, down by around 28.6% from $11.00-13.5 per kg on April 4, 2019.