BRAWLEY – At the June 17 meeting of the Brawley City Council Simbol Materials President/CEO Dr. John Burba gave a presentation concerning the groundbreaking of a new lithium plant September 2014.
Simbol has an existing engineering lab in Brawley.
Lithium is extracted from the brine at geothermal plants. The lithium is used to make lithium batteries. Lithium batteries are more powerful than other batteries and sustain a longer charge.
“We will be building a new lithium plant here in the valley because the demand for lithium is skyrocketing for batteries for vehicles and grid storage,” said Burba. “Tesla has done a remarkable job of proving electric vehicles are practical and very economical. Some vehicles can travel up to 260 miles on a single charge. Interest in investment in our company has jumped as well.”
The plant will be completed in the first half of 2017. The first full year of manufacturing will be 2018 with expansion after that. Another project will begin after the first plant is completed. It will be double the size.
“We are going to be constructing for some time,” said Burba.
Simbol will be shifting more work to the Brawley lab as it moves its headquarters from northern California to Denver, CO.
The $360 million plant will employ 150 people. Expansion will bring more jobs. During construction, workers will number 400.
“Our main focus is hiring locally and training with continuing education,” said Burba.