From Trappes to Salta
ERAMET Research has developed around 10 patents to produce battery-quality lithium carbonate from brine in Argentina’s salt flats. In the Salta region of the Andes, around 30 wells have been dug to explore the deposit and check the deposit’s resources.
In Trappes, ERAMET Research and partners are using pilot facilities to study production processes on a pre-industrial scale.
On course for the final development phase
In 2016, the teams confirmed that the site holds over 7 million tons of lithium carbonate equivalent (LCE), as well as enough industrial water to run correctly.
In December, ERAMET Research conducted a pre-industrial pilot programme on the upstream part of the process for extracting lithium from the Argentinean deposit.
In parallel, the prefeasibility study was carried out by ERAMET Ingénierie and an Argentinean firm. Following tests to check the industrial process was repeatable, the project is set to enter its final development phase, the feasibility study, prior to industrialisation.
On the regulatory front, in late 2016 the Group applied to local authorities for an environmental permit.
2017 will be given over to semi-industrial pilot tests, detailed engineering studies and technical-economic appraisals on a possible industrial facility.
- 20,000 tons
of lithium carbonate for several decades: ERAMET’s production target if the project goes ahead.
The depth below the surface of Centenario and Ratones salt flats at which the lithium deposit studied by ERAMET is located.
Exploration studies on Centenario-Ratones salt lake in 2015 © Christophe Thillier / ERAMET
Quinoa culture re-introduction test in 2015 © Christophe Thillier / ERAMET
Quinoa harvest in 2015 © Christophe Thillier / ERAMET
Centenario salt lake © Christophe Thillier / ERAMET