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Rockwood Awarded $28M To Produce Lithium For Car Batteries

Tue, 08/11/2009 - 6:40am

PRINCETON, N.J. — Rockwood Holdings, Inc. (NYSE:ROC) today announced that the U.S. Department of Energy has awarded its Chemetall Foote Corp. subsidiary $28.4 million in Recovery and Reinvestment Act funds to expand and upgrade the production of lithium materials for advanced transportation batteries.

The funds will be used by Rockwood to expand and upgrade the production of lithium carbonate at the company’s Silver Peak, Nevada, site and add the production of very high purity lithium hydroxide to the company’s Kings Mountain, North Carolina, facility. Rockwood and its Chemetall business are the only U.S. domestic source of lithium raw material and the largest global producer of lithium and lithium compounds used in batteries, pharmaceuticals and many other industries.

Commenting on the award, Seifi Ghasemi, chairman and chief executive officer, said, “The current dependence of the US and Western Europe on imported oil is a major national security issue. The practical and environmentally beneficial way to reduce this unsustainable dependence is the electrification of the transportation system. The key enabling technology to achieve this worthwhile goal is further development of lithium ion batteries as the most effective means of storing energy in all-electric or plug-in hybrid vehicles. We are very pleased to see the U.S. government taking the initiative and providing major support toward the commercialization of these technologies.

“Rockwood and its subsidiary Chemetall are proud to be among the awardees from this highly competitive process, and to be an important part of this national program. We are committed to use our global leadership position to support the eventual electrification of the transport system in the US and across the globe.”

The Department of Energy’s $2.4 billion program under the Recovery and Reinvestment Act is the single largest investment in advanced battery technology for hybrid and electric-drive vehicles ever made, and the award to Rockwood’s business ranks, in dollar amount, as third highest among advanced material grants. Together, the awarded projects are expected to accelerate the development of manufacturing capacity for batteries in the U.S. and electric drive components as well as the deployment of electric vehicles.

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