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Removal of magnetic metal particle

Faena: SQM Salar

Deadline 17/05/2023

Closing Time 4:00 pm

Technological solutions are sought to ensure the
removal of magnetic metal particles (MMP) smaller
than 10 microns found in aqueous and solid flows. The
removal of magnetic particles must be conceptualized
as a unit operation, with the objective of obtaining a
final product with a concentration of impurities lower
than 30 ppb (parts per billion by weight).

• It is up to the proponent to define the location of the
technological solution within the operation, which could
be F1 (sodium carbonate solution), and F2 (dry solid
lithium carbonate).
• The removal of magnetic particles must be
conceptualized as a unit operation
• The solution must be compatible with the current
• It must have an automatic operation mode, selfcleaning capability and/or low maintenance
• It must ensure the safety of people.
• Due to the characteristics of the process, high corrosion
and ab

• Magnetic traps that do not allow adaptation to flow
• Sodium carbonate (soda ash) vendors.
• Solutions that avoid the generation of magnetic
particles, such as modifications in the current dry area
equipment: coatings, coatings of rotating equipment or

• Filter press with pre-layer that retain particles larger
than 10 microns. They are currently part of the process.
• Magnetic traps. There are currently 84 traps in
operation in the wet and dry areas; however, the
increase in production flows has exceeded their design
capacity. In addition to the high operational cost of the
traps, which require constant cleaning and
• Soda ash cleaning: electromagnet, rotary magnetic
traps and precoat filter press; the expected results were
not obtained.

The final product of the lithium carbonate
production process contains metallic magnetic
particles that affect its quality. The origin of
these particles comes from two sources: a
reagent (sodium carbonate) and the abrasion
generated by the friction of the moving metal
parts of the equipment in contact with the dry
solid lithium carbonate.

The sodium carbonate used contains an
average of 1,200 ppb of magnetic particles
(reaching points of 13,000 ppb) and its
solution preparation process has a filtration
stage that removes the fraction larger than 10
microns. This stream (F1, solution resulting
from the filtration stage) represents a flow of
4,020 m3
/d, projecting an increase to 5,320
/d by the end of 2023 with a % solids of
0.30%, particle size below 10 microns and a
100 ppb concentration of MMP affecting the
downstream crystallization process. A part of
this flow is distributed in four different ponds,
one of them with an outlet flow equal to 19
m3/h, while the other three with an outlet flow
equal to 50 m3
/h. These are the flows whose
MMP concentration must meet the detailed
objectives. The filtered F1 solution is
conveyed through closed pipes to the lithium
carbonate crystallization area.

The process continues in the lithium carbonate
drying area, where the final product is dried
and packaged. In this process, the equipment
involved generates metallic magnetic particles.
The production line of interest has in its output
stream (F2 – dry solid lithium carbonate) and
the following characteristics: flow 30 ton/h and
average concentration of magnetic particles
100ppb, reaching point values around 1000

▪Description of the technological
solution and technology readiness
level (under development, tested,
implemented or in operation).
▪ Previous experience in similar
solutions or in the technological
field of the challenge. Indicate if
there are any success stories.
▪ Indicate relevant competencies of
the team members who will solve the
▪ Ability to provide operational and
maintenance services in the field.
▪ Proposed business model.
▪ International suppliers indicate
availability to operate in Chile or
through technical and/or commercial
▪ Indicate if suppliers have worked
together before in case of alliances.