09 | 11 | 2018

Visit to lithium extraction plant at Salar de Atacama (Chile)

Surface Engineering

The so-called lithium triangle covers a vast South American region including north of Chile, south of Bolivia and northwest of Argentina, that concentrates about 70% of the worldwide Lithium reserves in the form of brines –i.e. concentrated water solutions of lithium and other salts-. In this area are located the renowned Salar de Uyuni (Bolivia) and Salar de Atacama (in Antofagasta region, Chile).

A small group of selected guests to the 5th International Workshop on Lithium, Industrial Minerales and Energy (IWLiME 2018) –including Oscar Miguel, Director of CIDETEC Energy Storage-, recently held in Santiago de Chile on 1 to 3 October 2018, had the opportunity to visit the lithium concentration plant at Salar de Atacama operated by ALBEMARLE company, one of the main sponsors of the conference.

There, Eng. Mr. Hernán Cáceres Egaña, General Manager of the plant, kindly explained to the attendants the process workflow of the site, including the expansion and improvement processess under way. Afterwards, the site was visited by the guests under guidance of several host technicians, offering in-situ a deeper insight on the process.

We would like to acknowledge ALBEMARLE for making possible this visit as well as their hospitality, and Prof. Mario Grágeda from University of Antofagasta for the invitation to participate in the conference and site visit.

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