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Chile regulators reject Albemarle plans to boost lithium output

Chile regulators reject Albemarle plans to boost lithium output
FILE PHOTO: Brine pools from a lithium mine, that belongs U.S.-based Albemarle Corp, is seen on the Atacama salt flat in the Atacama desert, Chile, August 16, 2018. REUTERS/Ivan Alvarado/File Photo   -   Copyright  Ivan Alvarado(Reuters)
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SANTIAGO (Reuters) – Chilean environmental regulators this week rejected plans submitted by the world’s top lithium producer Albemarle to expand output from the Salar de Atacama, according to filings with Chile’s Environmental Assessment Service (SEA) reviewed by Reuters.

SEA said in the filing on Monday that Albemarle’s environmental impact statement – which included plans to build a new plant to produce 42,500 tonnes of lithium carbonate in northern Chile – lacked key information it needed to gauge the project’s impacts, prompting an “early termination” of its review.

“The applicant [Albemarle] doesn’t present the details necessary to rule out significant adverse impacts on the quantity and quality of renewable natural resources, including the soil, water and air,” the regulator concluded in the Nov. 12 resolution. Albemarle did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

(Reporting by Dave Sherwood; Editing by Daniel Flynn and David Evans)

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