(TREVOSE, PA – June 28, 2022 – SUEZ Release) SUEZ Water Technologies & Solutions (SUEZ WTS) has been selected by Eramet, a global mining and metallurgical group, to supply critical technologies to concentrate and purify lithium brine for the Centenario-Ratones lithium mining project in Salta, Argentina.
The project will use a novel direct lithium extraction (DLE) process, developed by Eramet and enabled by SUEZ WTS’ technologies, that utilizes extraction, concentration and purification to mine lithium. This novel process increases lithium yield to more than 90% and speeds the production process to just hours. In comparison, conventional mining methods that rely on solar evaporation produce a significantly lower yield with a 12-24-month production timeline.
SUEZ WTS will provide nanofiltration (NF) and reverse osmosis (RO) membranes, as well as a thermal package consisting of a mechanical vapor recompression (MVR) evaporator and a thermal vapor recompression (TVR) crystallizer to enable this novel DLE process.
“SUEZ has been supporting the global lithium market for several years, adapting our technologies to offer customers the ability to increase product yield while reducing production time and environmental impact compared to conventional extraction processes,” said Michael Odam, Commercial Manager of Lithium Projects in Latin America for SUEZ WTS. “We are proud to be working with Eramet to develop the solutions needed to increase the efficiency and yield of the lithium mining process as it becomes increasingly critical to support the global energy transition.”
SUEZ WTS worked closely with Eramet in developing and adapting its membrane and thermal technologies for Eramet’s DLE process. A long-term pilot program was conducted at Eramet’s R&D facility in France, followed by additional pilot work at its Training Center at the project site in Salta, Argentina to demonstrate the effectiveness of the technologies.
“SUEZ WTS’ ability to adapt the application of their products to meet our complex flowsheets, along with their performance guarantees, made them the best technology provider for this project,” said Hervé Montégu, Senior Vice-President of Lithium BU at Eramet. “Our combined expertise and on-going collaboration with SUEZ WTS will be a milestone in lithium production as demand for the mineral skyrockets and production increases.”
The project is expected to produce 24,000 tons of lithium carbonate equivalent per year once commissioned in 2024.
About SUEZ Water Technologies & Solutions
With operations in 130 countries and over 10,000 employees worldwide, SUEZ - Water Technologies & Solutions (SUEZ WTS) solves the toughest water, wastewater, and process challenges around the globe. Leveraging a comprehensive set of chemical, equipment and digital enabled services and products, the company helps customers optimize water resources and overcome process challenges. SUEZ WTS serves customers across all industries, including food and beverage, metals and mining, power, pharmaceutical, oil and gas, chemicals, petrochemicals, pulp and paper, and utilities.