The new resource estimate is 13.7 tonnes of lithium carbonate equivalent (LCE), more than double the estimate in 2018, Lithium Americas said on Thursday October 7.

Phase 1 capacity increased to 40,000 tonnes of lithium carbonate annually, up by one-third from the previous estimate.

Lithium Americas is targeting additional capacity of 40,000 tonnes of LCE, reaching a total capacity of 80,000 tonnes.

Global lithium demand is set to total almost 500,000 tonnes this year, and supply is seen as a key risk, market experts said at this year's Fastmarkets Lithium Supply & Markets conference.

Fastmarkets’ assessment of lithium carbonate 99.5% Li2CO3 min, battery grade, spot price ddp Europe and US reached $20-21/kg on October 7. It has more than doubled from a year ago.

Early work at Thacker Pass, such as building roads and water pipes, should begin in the first half of 2022 once permits have been secured, Lithium Americas has said.

Lithium Americas has promised to use carbon-free power as its primary energy source, air emissions control and water recycling technologies to ease ecological concerns.

In July, a US judge permitted exploratory work at Thacker Pass despite concerns about damage to the local wildlife habitat.

Lithium exploration at Thacker Pass is now meeting local unrest. Nearby Native American communities have been setting up camps, protesting the Thacker Pass exploration due to religious rights, local press had reported.