Albemarle has officially inaugurated La Negra III/IV, its third chemical conversion plant, 27 km from the city of Antofagasta in Chile. The firm claims that this is the most modern plant of its kind in Latin America and that it will help to double lithium production and reduce freshwater consumption by up to 30% per tonne of production.
Albemarle has signed a joint development agreement with 6K, a specialist in microwave-controlled plasma technology, to explore the use of 6K’s UniMelt materials production platform to develop novel lithium battery materials. It has also made an undisclosed investment in 6K through Volta Energy Technologies, a venture capital firm active in the energy storage sector that is already an investor.
Chlor-alkali producer Nobian, which was separated from the rest of Nouryon last year, has signed an agreement with German-Australian lithium developer Vulcan Energy to assess the feasibility of producing lithium hydroxide from lithium chloride in Germany.
Nobian has an electrolysis and crystallisation demo-plant at its site in Frankfurt, near to Vulcan’s own geothermal-lithium reservoir sites in the Upper Rhine Valley area, where it plans to build several geothermal plants and a central lithium-hydroxide plant.
Shortly after acquiring a lithium converter in Guangxi province, Albemarle has signed investment agreements that will enable it go build two lithium hydroxide plants in China. Each will have 50,000 tonnes/year of capacity and construction is to be completed by the end of 2024.
They are located at the Yangtze River International Chemical Industrial Park within the Zhangjiagang Free Trade Zone in Jiangsu province and the Pengshan Economic Development Park in the Pengshan district in Sichuan province.