Expansion Doubles Lithium Production Capacity

Rockwood Holdings, Inc. increases production in both the U.S. and Chile.

Rockwood Holdings, Inc. will increase its total annual production capacity to 50,000 metric tons of lithium carbonate equivalent by end of 2013.

It will achieve this through its current $75 million expansion program in the United States, and building a new plant in Chile.

The new 20,000 metric ton lithium carbonate plant located at the sight at LeNegra, near the port of Antofagasta in northern Chile, will begin production by the end of 2013, the company said on Feb. 6.

As previously announced, Rockwood is currently completing a $75 million expansion of its lithium production which includes expansion of its brine pond system at Silver Peak, Nev. and construction of a battery grade lithium hydroxide plant and a global technical center at Kings Mountain, N.C.

"The accelerating increase in the demand for lithium, especially high purity lithium compounds required for the production of large format lithium ion batteries for electric vehicles of the future, is making it necessary for us to substantially increase production capacity to ensure that we meet the growing needs of our customers," said Rockwood CEO Seifi Ghasemi.

"The new investment will also make it possible for us to develop and produce new grades of sophisticated and high purity lithium compounds required for all applications such as batteries, pharmaceutical and lithium alloy," he added.

Rockwood Holdings, Inc. is a provider of inorganic specialty chemicals and advanced materials company. Rockwood has a worldwide employee base of approximately 9,700 people and annual net sales of approximately $3.5 billion.

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