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Business | February 06, 2012

Rockwood with major expansion

Rockwood with major expansion to double lithium production capacity.
Rockwood Holdings plans to invest USD 140 million in a new lithium carbonate production plant in Chile. The new investment, along with the company’s current USD 75 million expansion program in the United States, will increase total annual production capacity to 50,000 metric tons of lithium carbonate equivalent by end of 2013.

Under the new investment program, Rockwood will build a 20,000 metric ton lithium carbonate plant at the sight at LeNegra, near the port of Antofagasta in northern Chile. The company expects this plant will be on stream by the end of 2013.

As previously announced, Rockwood is currently completing a USD 75 million expansion of its lithium production in the United States which includes expansion of its brine pond system at Silver Peak, NV and construction of a battery grade lithium hydroxide plant and a global technical center at Kings Mountain, NC. These expanded sites in the US will be on stream this spring.

Commenting on the expansion, Rockwood Chairman and CEO Seifi Ghasemi said, “The accelerating increase in the demand for lithium, especially high purity lithium compounds required for the production of large format lithium ion batteries for electric vehicles of the future, is making it necessary for us to substantially increase production capacity to ensure that we meet the growing needs of our customers.

“We are committed to maintain our position as the leading supplier of lithium products to the world. The new investment will also make it possible for us to develop and produce new grades of sophisticated and high purity lithium compounds required for all applications such as batteries, pharmaceutical and lithium alloy.”

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