A new production of lithium in Chili

A new production of lithium in Chili

Simco SpA, a firm linked to Francisco Javier Errázuriz Ovalle, son of the former presidential candidate of the same name, started  the Environmental Assessment Service (EIA) for a project that seeks to produce lithium in Maricunga, (Atacama region), an initiative in which the investment will reach US $ 350 million. Last February, Mr. Errázuriz Ovalle met with the executive director of the Chilean Nuclear Energy Commission (CChen), Patricio Aguilera Poblete, to explain the scope of the project and the cooperation with the Simbalik Group in the development of the project

According to the document, the project includes the exploitation of fresh seawater from the north-east sector of the Salar de Maricunga, at an extraction rate of 275 L / s; the seawater is processed by the method of solar evaporation and subsequent precipitation in a lithium carbonate plant for the production of 5,700 tons per year, and, by solvent extraction, 9,100 tons per year of Lithium Hydroxide (equivalent to 14,300 t/ year of Lithium Carbonate), also generating 38,900 t / year of Potassium Chloride as a by-product.

“As for the stages of execution of the Project, the construction phase will be carried out in three years, during which operation activities will also be carried out, and from the fourth year on, the Project will reach its maximum production capacity”, explains the company in the EIA.  The company is working at laboratory level in a new technology that allows to extract the lithium in a process of osmosis and using an extractant, detailing the possible benefits of the new technology from the environmental point of view and in the care of the lithium resource, since it would allow an overall yield of lithium extraction of the order of 85%.

He also reported that this year they hope to have regularized the environmental issue and that they expect to start producing lithium hydroxide by 2021.

About Author

Arnaud Lefevre

Arnaud Lefevre is the Chief Executive Officer of Dynatom International. Arnaud is in charge of the international development of the business portfolio.