Chilean regulator terminates review of new Albemarle plant
Published: Thursday, 20 December 2018
Plans for Albemarle's new lithium plant have been stalled after Chile's environmental office stopped its review due to the impact statement lacking the necessary information.
Chile’s environmental regulatory authority has
terminated a review into US chemicals company
Albemarle’s plan to build a new lithium plant in
Albemarle’s environmental impact statement for
its plan to build a new lithium carbonate plant in northern
Chile, with capacity for 42,500 tonnes per year, lacked the
information necessary to gauge the project’s
effects on the local soil, water and air, the regulator said on
Albemarle filed the environmental impact statement in
September, telling regulators that the expansion would not
increase brine usage at the site.
The company could not be reached for comment about the
regulator’s response at the time of publication,
and it is unclear what its next course of action will be.
What is clear is that more regular supply would be welcome.
This year the company suffered shutdowns in three of its
facilities. Albemarle chief executive officer Luke Kissam
addressed the issue in a separate press release when the
company submitted its third-quarter results.
"While unexpected shutdowns at three of our lithium
manufacturing sites resulted in volume shortfalls during the
quarter, all facilities are now back online and operating at
forecast rates," he said on November 8.
Its Kings Mountain plant in the United States closed for two
weeks due to Hurricane Florence; unannounced environmental
inspections at its Xinyu plant in China caused a one-week
closure there; and its Chilean operations closed for a week due
to a power blackout and the failure of a soda ash delivery
Albemarle reported rising revenues, thanks to higher prices
and increasing volumes in the third quarter of 2018.
Although lithium prices have been trending lower throughout
2018, they reached historical highs at the end of 2017, thanks
to strong demand from the battery sector.
Fastmarkets IM assessed the price of lithium carbonate, min
99-99.5% Li2CO3, large contracts, packed in bags, cif Asia,
at $14-18 per kg on October 31, compared with $17-20 per kg
on December 27 last year.