Rockwood begins expansion to double Nevada lithium production

12 July 2010 15:29  [Source: ICIS news]

HOUSTON (ICIS news)--Rockwood Holdings has begun a three-year expansion that could double its lithium production capacity in Silver Peak, Nevada, the US specialty chemicals producer said on Monday.

The expansion, run through Rockwood’s Chemetall Foote subsidiary, would be funded in part by a $28.4m (€22.4m) grant from the US Department of Energy (DOE) to upgrade the production of lithium materials for automobile batteries, Rockwood said.

The expansion includes a well drilling programme, set to begin in the next few months, that would double the plant’s capacity for lithium carbonate, Rockwood said.

The DOE grant would also be used to install a geothermal power plant, which Rockwood said it expected would make the operation self-sufficient for electric power, thus reducing energy costs.

The expansion would conclude in 2013, Rockwood said, and employ about 50 people – double the number of employees in 2009. The project is part of a $56.8m expansion of Rockwood’s lithium capabilities in the US, the company said.

($1 = €0.79)

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By: Ben DuBose
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