Specialty chemicals firm Albemarle Corp. announced the inauguration of its third chemical conversion plant, La Negra III/IV in Antofagasta, Chile on Monday, positioning the company to double its capacity for lithium and meet rising demand. $500 million was invested in the project.
“This new plant marks a milestone in Albemarle’s commitment to lead our industry, responding to increasing global demand for lithium through innovation and dedication to sustainability,” Albemarle president and CEO Kent Masters said in a release. “Lithium is key to an energy transition that must be implemented with meticulous attention to dialogue, sustainability, and social value. This inauguration also demonstrates the importance of Chile for Albemarle, and our commitment to continue collaborating with the country in this industry.”
An event was held Monday to mark the inauguration, which was attended by Chile’s Minister of Mining, Marcela Hernando, mining industry representatives, other public officials, and others.
The Antofagasta location features R&D laboratories, facilities for complex chemical processes, and a $100 million thermal evaporator to reduce the amount of fresh water used in production processes at the site.
“This is an important milestone for the region and the country, as it shows that sustainable investment continues to advance Chile and that companies such as Albemarle are working hand in hand with governmental objectives toward the development of a lithium industry that generates value in the territory and installed capacities through the contract that the mining company has with Corfo,” Min. Hernando said.
Albemarle has operated in Chile for more than four decades.