“We turned on the equipment (…) and what we emphasized is that the plant is already producing lithium, as a test; “We achieved the most important and most complex goal: to run the plant with load and get lithium carbonate,” he said.
Beltrán maintained that the stabilization phase allowed YLB staff and the contractor company to find technical difficulties and make the necessary operational improvements to ensure optimal functioning of the complex.
He indicated that this was a stage where they had to force the factory to make mistakes with the aim of establishing corrections and then operating it in a standard way.
It is expected that in the coming weeks the stabilization process of the entire circuit will be completed to give way to the production of technical grade lithium carbonate and, later, to start industrial type production.
Despite the inconveniences that forced us to “change” the construction design of this plant, there is certainty that it will work before the end of the year, YLB president Karla Calderón said at the end of October.
The owner described having to make adjustments to the electrical, mechanical and automation parts, in addition to solving the lack of water plant.
He maintained that the facility has a production capacity of 15 thousand tons per year and its construction required an investment of more than 94 million dollars.
He added that “(…) several difficulties were found regarding the design, which was approved at that time, and I can speak about it personally because at that time, in 2021, I joined the Project Manager and in “The problems. very found. ”
The design of the facility was worked on by K-Utec AG Salt Technologies, as a result of a contract signed in 2015, and then the construction work was entrusted to Beinjing Maison Engineering Co Ltd. Machinery Engineering Corporation Association (MAISON). -CMEC Association).
In addition to design problems, a lack of water for plant operations was observed.
Calderón continued to have a dialogue with the company and agreed that this phase could end, because “it is one of the (…) most important.”
The YLB president emphasized that his team’s role this season is more technical.
The construction of the plant began in 2018, was stopped during the de facto government of Jeanine Áñez (2019-2020), and the project continued after the recovery of democracy with the election of the current president, Luis Arce, at the end of 2020.