Global specialty chemicals firm Albemarle recently signed agreements to invest in two new lithium conversion facilities in China that will each have a capacity of 50,000 mt/yr of lithium hydroxide, the company said in a release issued October 22. The plants will be constructed at the Yangtze River International Chemical Park in the Jiangsu province’s Zhangjiagang Free Trade Zone and the Pengshan Economic Development Park in the Pengshan district of the Sichuan province.
“These agreements are important steps in our continued commitment to invest in new capacity that will support our customers’ growth plans,” Eric Norris, president, Lithium for Albemarle, said in a statement. “We are excited to expand our network of high-quality, battery-grade hydroxide production in China.”
The company will design, engineer, and secure permits for each facility. Albemarle anticipates that construction on the sites will begin in 2022 and the facilities will become operational in 2024.
“We are excited to work with our local teams in China to deliver Albemarle’s next generation lithium hydroxide plants,” said Jac Fourie, chief capital projects officer, in the release. “These projects represent the next step in our Capital Excellence Program to capture benefits in speed to market, lower capital intensity, lower product cost, and improved sustainability.”
Albemarle said last month that its subsidiary, Albemarle Lithium UK Ltd., entered into a definitive agreement to purchase the outstanding equity of Guangxi, China-based lithium converter Guangxi Tianyuan New Energy Materials Co. Ltd. The company will pay $200 million to acquire the equity from the Chinese entity’s shareholders, though the sum is subject to certain adjustments.