Santiago, Chile - December 13, 2021 – Acting on their commitment to conservation, preservation and restoration of the plant communities in the extreme environmental conditions of the Atacama salt flats, Albermarle unveiled a new plant nursery at its Salar de Atacama plant in Chile.

The nursery will be used to grow and propagate native vegetation that is both ecologically and culturally important. Both climate and water inputs to the plants will mimic the natural plant species environments (azonal conditions). Over 5000 plants are expected to be produced, to be later used in revegetation projects.

Albermarle - one of the world’s largest lithium producers who has worked in Chile for 40+ years - together with Ausenco’s environmental specialists, developed the nursery as part of an Environmental Impact Study. Ausenco’s environmental specialists were responsible for the project’s design and will oversee the ecosystem studies, plant material and seed collection, reproduction and transplanting protocols, nursery production and restoration work. Local Indigenous communities played an active role in the development of this project and continue to be involved as it progresses.

The inauguration of the nursery was held November 30th, 2021. In attendance were Albermarle’s management team, Ausenco representatives, the Ministerial Regional Secretariat of the Antofagasta Region Alex Acuña, the Chargé d'Affaires of the United States Embassy in Chile Richard Glenn, and local authorities including the mayor of San Pedro de Atacama Justo Zuleta, the president of the Council of Atacameño Peoples Manuel Salvatierra, the president of the Peine community Amanda Barrera and representatives of the community of Toconao.

Ausenco’s biodiversity leader Patricio Olivares noted “We are excited that the nursery has been completed, and that this very important 4-year project is underway. By studying and better understanding the ‘adaptive’ nature of these native plants to such extreme environments, we will be better equipped in our restoration work to help revegetate threatened ecosystems. This pioneering project will help create a balance between lithium extraction and the need to protect this high ecological sensitive environment and respect the cultural heritage of the local communities. Collaborative work with the local communities and entities dedicated to scientific research is key.”

About Ausenco

Ausenco is a global company redefining what's possible. Our team is based across 26 offices in 14 countries, with projects in over 80 locations worldwide. Combining our deep technical expertise with a 30-year track record, we deliver innovative, value-add consulting studies, project delivery, asset operations and maintenance solutions to the mining & metals, oil & gas and industrial sectors. We find a better way. 

South America Media Contact:
Henry Vizcarra (

Technical contact on the project:
Patricio Olivares (