The company plans to invest US$30-to-$50 million to double current production at the Nevada site in the Clayton valley basin from 5,000 tonnes per year of lithium carbonate equivalent (LCE) by 2025, making full use of its brine water rights.
Albemarle is a founding member of the Zero Emission Transportation Association (ZETA) group launched in November 2020, pushing for 100% EV sales in the USA by 2030, which includes EV manufacturer Tesla, ride share company Uber and others.
"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 US. 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 EV market," said Albemarle president Eric Norris.
Through a Department of Energy-sponsored research project with Argonne National Laboratory, Albemarle is investigating a process to streamline production of lithium hydroxide from brine sources, which is principally used in EV batteries.
Albemarle expects to commission lithium expansion projects at Kemerton in Western Australia (50,000tpy LCE) and La Negra in Chile (40,000tpy LCE) later this year with sales volume beginning in 2022.