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Joint lithium and geothermal project in Nevada with DOE grants

Silver Peak project site, Nevada (source: Sierra Geothermal Power)
Alexander Richter 15 Jul 2010

A lithium production operation in Silver Peak, Nevada derives lithium from geothermal brine and is funded through DOE grants, which also includes the operation of a geothermal power plant, which makes the project energy self-sufficient.

A lithium production operation in Silver Peak, Nevada derives lithium from geothermal brine and is funded through DOE grants, which also includes the operation of a geothermal power plant, which makes the project energy self-sufficient, so a recent announcement by Rockwood Holdings.

“Rockwood Holdings, Inc. (NYSE: ROC) has announced that its Chemetall Foote subsidiary has begun expansion of its lithium production operation in Silver Peak, Nevada. The project is funded in part by a $28.4 million grant from the U.S. Department of Energy to expand and upgrade the production of lithium materials for advanced transportation batteries.

The Chemetall Foote operation, which is the only operating domestic lithium resource in the US, extracts lithium salts by brine evaporation in the Clayton Valley. The brine is pumped from salt-rich aquifers beneath the desert and evaporated in large ponds on the desert surface. The concentrated brine is then pumped to a production plant at Silver Peak where it is converted into lithium carbonate, the basic raw material for lithium compounds.

The expansion activities include a well drilling program to begin in the next few months that will double the capacity of its lithium carbonate production. The Department of Energy grant is also being used to install a geothermal power plant which the company expects will make the operation self-sufficient for electric power. The company believes that the reduced energy costs will increase the global competitiveness of the operation and that the combination of solar and geothermal energy should supply more than 98% of the energy requirements at the site.

As of June 2010, 20 new jobs have been created either by Chemetall Foote or by contractors directly working on projects for the site. During the peak of construction in 2011 and 2012, the project will employ 50 additional people between the company and its contractors. At the conclusion of the project in 2013 the site will employ 50 people, doubling the number of employees in 2009. As previously announced, the project is part of a $56.8 million expansion of Rockwood’s lithium capabilities in the United States.”

Source: Financial Post