Monday, October 31, 2022

C&EN: Lithium!

A fascinating feature in this week's Chemical and Engineering News on lithium production by Alex Scott: 
...Arguably, the company best placed to increase US lithium production is Albemarle, a US firm that is the world’s largest lithium producer. The company is substantially expanding production at its brine-based lithium site in Chile and at two huge rock mines in Australia.

In June, Albemarle inaugurated a lithium-​processing facility near Antofagasta, Chile, as part of a $500 million investment that will enable the firm to double production at the site, to more than 80,000 t per year of battery-grade lithium carbonate.

Albemarle also operates the only major lithium production site in the US, a brine evaporation complex in Silver Peak, Nevada. The company plans to spend up to $50 million to double production there by 2025, to about 7,500 t per year. It also plans to build a plant for converting lithium ore into lithium hydroxide in the southeastern US and to reopen a hard-rock mine in North Carolina.

“Pricing has very much gone up. That helps us with the long-term investments that we need to make,” says Glen Merfeld, Albemarle’s chief technology officer for lithium. “By 2030, we’re forecasting in our supply-versus-demand models a deficit of lithium.”

It's been fascinating to watch Albemarle orient itself around lithium over the years - will be interesting to see if other metals will arrive on the scene as the world electrifies... 

1 comment:

  1. cobalt became much more expensive as a result of Li- rechargeable battery demand, and this in turn stimulated development of cobalt-free Li-batteries


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