The minor offence refers back to the extraction, from October 2019 to September 2020, of a median annual stream of 452 litres/second of brine from the salt flat, thus exceeding the restrict of a median annual stream of 442 litres/second established in environmental decision No. 21/2016.
The intense offence, alternatively, refers back to the US firm not complying with the rules established within the Aquifer Alert Sector’s Early Warning Plan.
In accordance with the Superintendence, the incident associated to the intense offence befell in March 2021 when Albemarle didn’t notify the SMA it had activated the Early Warning Plan and failed to instantly cut back brine extraction from the Atacama salt flat for the February-March 2021 interval.
“The fees are primarily based on environmental inspections carried out by officers from the SMA along with specialists from the Agricultural and Livestock Service and the Nationwide Geology and Mining Service. These inspections began in 2018 within the services of the lithium chloride plant undertaking,” the assertion reads.
The communiqué factors out that Superintendence personnel additionally compiled historic information associated to water utilization and offered by Albemarle in its environmental monitoring reviews.
“These expenses are primarily based on data supplied by the corporate itself and help the actions that the SMA is taking on this territory,” the Superintendent of Atmosphere, Cristóbal De La Maza, stated within the assertion. “Let’s not overlook that along with Albemarle, one other three mining firms function on this space – Zaldívar (CMZ), Escondida (MEL) and Soquimich (SQM). Their actions have the potential to immediately have an effect on ecosystems and communities and, to this point, all of them have been penalized for environmental breaches.”
From the second the fees had been laid, Albemarle has 10 enterprise days to current a ‘compliance plan’ and 15 enterprise days to enchantment the fees.
Albemarle extracts lithium-rich brine from beneath the Atacama salt flat and places it into open-air swimming pools at its Salar plant, the place it reaches a focus of 6% lithium by photo voltaic evaporation. The corporate then processes the distilled brines into battery-grade lithium carbonate and lithium chloride at its La Negra chemical plant close to town of Antofagasta in northern Chile.
La Negra produces 44,000 tons per yr of battery-grade lithium carbonate and it’s being expanded to a 3rd section that may improve its manufacturing capability to over 80,000 tons per yr.