Albemarle Corporation, a leader in the production of lithium and lithium derivatives, announced today that it has developed an innovative technology that could enable Albemarle to sustainably increase total lithium production in Chile to as much as 125,000 metric tons of lithium carbonate equivalent (LCE) annually, without the need for additional brine pumping at the Salar de Atacama.
As a result of this development, Albemarle has requested that Chile's Economic Development Agency (Corfo) increase Albemarle's lithium quota.
"Our efforts to improve efficiencies and sustainability in our Atacama operations are consistent with the spirit of our agreement with Corfo and the way we operate globally," commented John Mitchell, Albemarle President of Lithium and Advanced Materials. "We are focused on adding value to our Chilean operations while supporting the creation of a downstream industry in the country."
Assuming the technology proves commercially viable, Albemarle plans to build and start-up additional lithium carbonate capacity in Chile in the early 2020s, once current expansion projects are completed and producing at capacity. Projects already underway should increase Albemarle's total annual production capacity in Chile to greater than 80,000 metric tons of LCE by 2020.