SQM launches environmental data platform

Chilean mining company SQM has launched an online monitoring system that provides daily updates on industrial water usage, brine extraction and other environmental data points from its Salar de Atacama lithium project.
SQM launches environmental data platform SQM launches environmental data platform SQM launches environmental data platform SQM launches environmental data platform SQM launches environmental data platform

Salar de Atacama lithium data was previously confidential

The company has said its ‘SQM Online' system, which cost more than US$1 million to build, provides public access to data generated by about 225 sensors installed onsite, to improve transparency and strengthen community relations.

"This monitoring system is designed to provide more information on sensitive environmental systems and surrounding areas in order to enhance knowledge of their hydrogeological and hydrological dynamics," said area manager Javier Silva Müller.

"We are committed to making this information public as a means of verifying compliance with extraction obligations, based on established operating rules, in order to assure the sustainability of the Salar de Atacama."

The frequency of the measurements provided by the monitoring system is based on commitments made under an environmental permit known as an Environmental Qualification Resolution (Resolución de Calificación Ambiental) that was issued in 2018 by the country's CORFO (Corporation for the Promotion of Production).

SQM, the world's second-largest producer of lithium, reported in August that it had sold more than 12,600 tonnes of lithium in April through June, up 45% from the first three months of the year. Net income fell 27.6% year-on-year to US$50.8 million, due to lower lithium prices.