8 December 2023
by Sarah Morgan

SQM’s lithium operation achieves mining assurance

SQM’s Salar de Atacama operation became the world’s first lithium mining operation to achieve IRMA 75.

Circulor Compliance Dashboard © Circulor

Circulor confirmed supply chain traceability for SQM’s lithium operation at Salar de Atacama, which has achieved an IRMA 75, as confirmed by an audit by The Initiative for Responsible Mining Assurance (IRMA).

Such information will be made available to downstream customers, including Volvo cars.

Through its PROVE platform, combining its compliance and material traceability solutions, Circulor can reportedly authenticate the lithium as IRMA 75, connecting the IRMA audit report of SQM’s Salar de Atacama operation with the flow of material and assuring its incorporation into specific battery cells and packs that are delivered downstream.

IRMA is a mining standard that has been developed over more than 10 years with input from numerous stakeholders.

The IRMA audit approach evaluates operations across 26 areas, including water management, human rights, greenhouse gas emission, and fair labour, among other aspects.

With Circulor’s PROVE platform, customers can reportedly set requirements for suppliers and upload pre-defined documents and data.

They can also reportedly track updates, completion, renewals, and certification processes via automated notifications, and manage a growing library of compliance documentation.

‘This is a first-ever for the industry,’ says Circulor CEO Douglas Johnson-Poensgen, ‘and the coming together of credible third-party audits with material traceability will change the game in terms of how we evaluate the responsibility and sustainability of our supply chains and products.

‘SQM’s commitment to transparency is evident both in their IRMA audit results and in the leadership role they are taking here to share the sustainability and responsibility of their product all the way through to downstream customers,’ he continued.  

Ann-Sofie Ekberg, CEO of Volvo Cars Tech Fund, said, 'In working with SQM and Circulor, we're proud to say we are sourcing sustaiable, responsible, and transparent lithium, as audited by IRMA, and this is an important milestone for Circulor and Volvo Cars.'