Albemarle Expanding Nevada Site to Increase Domestic Production of Lithium
Published on January 12th, 2021 | by Johnna Crider
January 12th, 2021 by Johnna Crider
Albemarle Corporation has announced plans to expand capacity at its lithium production facility in Silver Peak, Nevada. The company will also start a program that evaluates clays and other local resources for the commercial production of lithium, which is critical in advancing the electric vehicle revolution and a sustainable future.
North American automotive manufacturers hope to regionalize their supply chains for greater security and sustainability as global demand for electric vehicles continues to grow. Albermarle’s investment in Silver Peak will support this newly increased demand for more domestic supply of lithium.
Silver peak produces lithium from brine extracted from the Clayton Valley basin. Starting this year, Albemarle will begin investing $30–50 million to double the current production at the Nevada site by 2025. This will make full use of its brine water rights. Also, it plans to commence exploration of clay and to evaluate the technology that could grow the viability of lithium production from the clay resources in the region.
Eric Norris, Albemarle President, Lithium, shared his thoughts on the company’s priority. “As a leader in the lithium industry, our priority is to optimize our world-class resources and production. This includes Silver Peak, a site uniquely positioned as the only lithium-producing resource in the United States,” he said. “This investment in domestic capacity shows that we are committed to looking at the many ways in which Silver Peak can provide domestic support for the growing EV market.”
Along with examining the clay resources, the company is looking for ways to optimize lithium extraction from its brine resources — including those in the Clayton Valley. The Department of Energy sponsored a research project with Argonne National Laboratory, and through this Albemarle will investigate a process to streamline the production of lithium hydroxide.
Albemarle’s domestic resources include the Nevada site as well as a historic 800-acre Kings Mountain lithium site in North Carolina. The Kings Mountain region is one of the richest spodumene ore deposits in the world. It’s also home to Albemarle’s global lithium technical center and policing operations. Albemarle also has lithium-containing brines in Arkansas.
Note that CleanTechnica has spoken at length with lithium experts on various topics — the different types of lithium, where most lithium is extracted and processed, the fact that most of the industry is concentrated in China, North American possibilities, and more. In fact, CleanTechnica CEO Zach Shahan notes that he recently recorded podcast interviews with experts from Benchmark Mineral Intelligence and BloombergNEF on this topic. Keep an eye on Cleantech Talk, or CleanTechnica more generally, to not miss those.
All images courtesy Albemarle via this video.
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