Albemarle granted permit to increase lithium brine extraction rates in Chile; MOU for 27-year lithium quota
Albemarle Corporation, a premier specialty chemicals company and leader in the production of lithium and lithium derivatives, 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 announced 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 established in its final report issued in January 2015.
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 provides for commission payments to the Chilean Government based on sales price/MT and Albemarle’s support of research and development in Chile in lithium applications and solar energy. In addition, the MOU recognizes the principle of community value sharing and acknowledges the cooperation agreements that Albemarle has entered into with local, indigenous communities under which Albemarle provides financial support for social, environmental and economic development. Finally, the MOU provides Albemarle with an exclusive option for an additional lithium quota in connection with the development of lithium hydroxide production directly from brine.
The definitive agreement is expected to be executed by the end of the first quarter 2016.