Albemarle increase lithium brine extraction in Chile

Albemarle to increase lithium brine extraction in Chile

4:32 AM, 3rd February 2016
Albemarle to increase lithium brine extraction in Chile
Luke Kissam, president and CEO, Albemarle Corporation. (File photo)

BATON ROUGE, US: Albemarle Corporation said that it has been granted approval by the Environmental Assessment Commission (CEA) of the Antofagasta region to increase its currently authorized lithium brine extraction rate at the company’s facility in the Salar de Atacama, Chile.

The increase will enable the company to meet the accelerating demand for lithium, especially high purity lithium compounds required for the production of lithium batteries.

In addition, the company also said that it has entered into a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the Chilean Government defining the terms of a partnership for an increased lithium quota consistent with the principles and goals of the Lithium National Commission, as reported in January 2015.

The definitive agreement is expected to be executed by the end of the first quarter 2016.

The MOU provides Albemarle with sufficient lithium to support the production, over a 27-year period, of 70,000 mt annually of technical and battery grade lithium carbonate and 6,000 mt annually of lithium chloride at Albemarle’s two manufacturing facilities in La Negra, Antofagasta, as well as at a third lithium carbonate facility that Albemarle will commit to construct under the MOU.

The MOU also provides Albemarle with an exclusive option for an additional lithium quota in connection with the development of lithium hydroxide production directly from brine.

“Our sustainable, state-of-the-art operations allow us to maximize the amount of lithium extracted from the brine, thus increasing the value of this resource for the stakeholders,”said Luke Kissam, president and CEO, Albemarle Corporation.

“This agreement will not only establish Chile as the global leader in the production of value-added lithium-based products, it provides economics that justify Albemarle’s continued investment in the region. As a result, we will be better positioned to capture 50 percent of the growth in lithium applications and solidify our leadership position in the industry,” he added.

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