Tag Archives: Albemarle

Albemarle to double capacity at Silver Peak lithium brine operation

Albemarle Corp has confirmed it will expand capacity at its lithium production facility in Silver Peak, Nevada, USA, and begin a program to evaluate clays and other available Nevada resources for commercial production of lithium.

Beginning in 2021, the company plans to invest $30-$50 million to double the current production at the Nevada site by 2025, making full use of its brine water rights. Additionally, the company plans to commence exploration of clay and evaluate technology that could accelerate the viability of lithium production from clay resources in the region this year.

The company explained: “As global demand for electric vehicles grows, North America automotive manufacturers are seeking to regionalise their supply chain for greater security and sustainability. Albemarle’s investment in Silver Peak, which produces lithium from brine extracted from the Clayton Valley basin, will support this increased demand for domestic supply of lithium.”

Eric Norris, Albemarle President, Lithium, said: “As a leader in the lithium industry, our priority is to optimise our world-class resources and production. This includes Silver Peak, a site uniquely positioned as the only lithium-producing resource in the United States.

“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 electric vehicle market.”

In addition to examining clay resources, Albemarle is seeking ways to optimise lithium extraction from its brine resources, including those in the Clayton Valley. Through a US Department of Energy-sponsored research project with Argonne National Laboratory, the company is investigating a process to streamline production of lithium hydroxide, which is principally used in electric vehicle batteries, from brine resources.

Albemarle’s domestic resources also include the historic 324 ha Kings Mountain, North Carolina, lithium site, which, it says, is one of the richest spodumene ore deposits in the world and home to the company’s global lithium technical centre and piloting operations, as well as lithium-containing brines in Arkansas.

JordProxa crystallises battery chemical market potential with Albermarle, Terrafame orders

Australia-based JordProxa Pty Ltd has recently delivered crystallisation plants for two major battery metal producers, solidifying, it says, its position in the growing new energy market.

JordProxa designed, fabricated and dispatched several large-scale orders to site, including an evaporator and two crystallisation plants to lithium producer Albemarle, in Western Australia, and nickel sulphate, cobalt sulphate and ammonium sulphate crystallisation plants to Terrafame, in Finland. The modular plants are now being installed in Western Australia and installation is underway on site in Finland with the last modules in transit (pictured above), JordProxa said.

The most recent crystallisation plant deliveries follow, in 2019, the arrival of a JordProxa nickel sulphate crystallisation plant at BHP’s Nickel West operations in Western Australia.

JordProxa Managing Director, John Warner, says the rapid uptake of battery-electric vehicles has led to a surge in demand for battery chemicals and associated technologies.

“Battery chemical producers need a technology provider that can meet and exceed the demands of product purity, with a focus on continued process improvement, to keep up with changing product specifications,” Warner said.

“JordProxa understands the process fundamentals that influence product quality through evaporation and crystallisation. We combine the project delivery skills and global footprint of Jord and Proxa and are perfectly positioned to deliver state of the art plant solutions for ultra-pure battery chemicals at large tonnage scales.”

He added: “We leverage an established network of fabrication alliances and modular design capabilities. This allows us to deliver key assemblies that are tested in the workshop before they are dispatched and installed on site. Our aim is to optimise project delivery time while minimising project risk.”

Jord International CEO, Angus Holden, said he was pleased the group is demonstrating its technical and operational expertise in the new energy market.

“Our track record over 50 years of business demonstrates that we can successfully design and build reliable plants with tangible process benefits,” he said.

“This important crystalliser work from JordProxa delivers on our goal of supporting clean energy technologies and is generating a new long-term, sustainable revenue stream. It has helped our group achieve a record revenue for the 2020 financial year, aided by other new areas of business, including enhanced minerals beneficiation and topside modules for offshore gas fields.”

Albemarle chooses ARMS Reliability’s OnePM to help manage Kemerton build

Albemarle has selected ARMS Reliability’s asset strategy management tool, OnePM, to rapidly develop and deploy new maintenance strategies for its joint venture lithium hydroxide plant in Kemerton, Western Australia.

Albemarle holds a 60% interest in the joint venture, with Mineral Resources Limited owning the remaining 40% stake following an agreement signed last year.

This marks ARMS Reliability’s first engagement by Albemarle, the company said.

“OnePM is a technical solution that allows companies to easily consolidate, structure, and augment master data to build optimal asset maintenance strategies, connect and quickly deploy those strategies to their enterprise asset management system, and monitor the strategies in a dynamic environment to ensure optimal asset performance is sustained over time,” ARMS Reliability said.

Jason Apps, ARMS Reliability’s CEO, said: “We’re pleased to welcome Albemarle to the growing community of OnePM users and look forward to supporting them through the asset strategy management process.”

Construction on the Kemerton 50,000 t/y lithium hydroxide conversion facility kicked off last year and will be commissioned in stages starting in 2021.

Monadelphous engineering and maintenance divisions hit by COVID-19

Engineering company Monadelphous Group says both its Engineering Construction and Maintenance divisions have been hit by measures to curb the spread of the COVID-19 virus.

In reaction to this, it said its Chairman, Managing Director and Non-Executive Directors had agreed to a 30% reduction in salary and fees for the next six months, while the Executive and General Management teams would take 10-20% salary cuts over the same period.

In a market update issued last week, Monadelphous said COVID-19 operational impact measures taken by governments and industry across the world to prevent further spread of the virus had impacted the economy, resulting in the delay, suspension, deferral or reduction of services across a range of the company’s projects and worksites, as well as materially disrupting productivity levels.

“Monadelphous continues to take all necessary measures required to proactively manage the business through this unprecedented period to ensure the safety of its employees and sustain business continuity,” it said.

In the Engineering Construction division, which recently secured major contracts on BHP’s South Flank, Rio Tinto’s West Angelas (pictured) and Albemarle Lithium’s Kemerton projects, Monadelphous said it had experienced supply chain issues causing delays on large resources construction projects currently in progress. It had also witnessed several temporary deferrals to potential new construction contract award dates.

In its maintenance division, the company has experienced a material reduction in activity levels, particularly in fly-in-fly-out operations with customers reducing non-essential work, delaying discretionary maintenance spend and deferring shutdowns, it said.

On top of this, and following several water projects approaching completion recently experiencing an escalation in contract disputes and “disappointing levels” of profitability, Monadelphous said it planned to discontinue its Water Infrastructure business operations in New Zealand, plus consolidate its east coast engineering construction operations into a single Eastern Australian business unit. This followed a strategic and operational review of the business in Australia and New Zealand.

Rob Velletri, Monadelphous Managing Director, said: “We will continue to work closely with our customers during these challenging and uncertain times. Our disciplined and prudent management, loyal workforce and strong balance sheet mean that we are well positioned to deal with the challenges ahead, and the opportunities that will arise in time. I am confident that the actions we have taken to refocus the Water Infrastructure business will deliver more profitable and sustainable pipeline of opportunities over the longer term.”

Kerman to work on another lithium project in Western Australia

Kerman Contracting says it has been awarded a contract by Albemarle Lithium on the greenfield lithium hydroxide production plant in Kemerton, Western Australia.

The scope of this project comprises two separable portions – one includes the design and construction of the pyromet buildings, such as the spodumene storage building, the acidified ore handling building and the tailings building. The other separable portion includes the sodium sulphate packaging and storage warehouse, sodium sulphate pallet storage building, lithium hydroxide packaging and storage warehouse and lithium hydroxide pallet storage building as well as the boiler and air compressor buildings.

Recently Kerman has completed projects at Talison Lithium’s chemical grade plant in Greenbushes and the Tianqi lithium hydroxide processing plant in Kwinana, both in Western Australia

“We are excited about being part of yet another project in the lithium market,” said Kerman’s Managing Director Chris Kerman.

Back in August, engineering company Monadelphous Group was awarded a major construction contract at the project, which will initially consist of three production trains, each producing 20,000 t/y of lithium hydroxide, with a potential expansion to five trains that will see production increase to 100,000 t/y by around 2025. Production is expected to start production in 2021.

Civmec starts fabrication work for Albemarle’s WA lithium hydroxide plant

ASX-listed Civmec has announced the award of a contract from Albemarle for the delivery of a new lithium hydroxide plant to be built in Western Australia.

Albemarle’s new hydroxide production plant will be in the Kemerton Strategic Industrial Area, around 160 km south of Perth, near the port town of Bunbury. It will initially comprise of three production trains, each producing 20,000 t/y of hydroxide, with a potential further expansion to five trains and ultimate site production of 100,000 t/y by around 2025. Albemarle began earthworks earlier this year.

Civmec’s scope of work includes structural, mechanical and piping for the hydromet and final product, reagents and utilities for Trains 1, 2 and 3.

The company’s Henderson facility will be used to fabricate and pre-assemble selected components for the on-site plant erection, with fabrication commencing immediately. Site works, meanwhile, are expected from mid-2019 to March 2021.

At the peak of construction, there is expected to be some 300 personnel involved in the delivery of the current defined scope, providing significant opportunity for skilled people residing in the region, Civmec said.

Civmec’s CEO, Patrick Tallon, said: “We are delighted to have been selected by Albemarle as a significant construction partner for this exciting project. This two-year project is ideally suited to our operations, fabricating, modularising and site erecting steel work for this key Western Australian development.

“This project reflects the growing confidence in the Western Australia resource industry, highlighting a bright future for the coming years.”

The contract award takes the Civmec’s current order book to approximately A$758.5 million ($543 million), it said.

Albemarle on course for 2021 commissioning at Kemerton lithium hydroxide conversion site

Albemarle has begun earthworks at the Kemerton Strategic Industrial Area, in Western Australia, for the construction of the company’s Kemerton lithium hydroxide (LiOH) conversion site.

Albemarle recently received environmental approval from the federal and state government for the Kemerton plant and has followed this up with the groundbreaking.

Eric Norris, Albemarle President, Lithium, said: “The site earthworks at Kemerton today are on track with our projections. Achieving this milestone underscores our commitment and confidence in developing LiOH operations in Western Australia and in our overall strategy to drive significant shareholder value and meet our customers’ demands.”

The Kemerton plant is expected to have an initial capacity of 60,000 t/y of LiOH with an ability to expand to 100,000 t/y over time. The commissioning of the site is expected to start in stages during the course of 2021.