Qinghai Institute of Salt Lakes (ISL) is a research institution established based on the affluent salt lake resources in western China. With over 40 years of development since its foundation, ISL has built up a complete chain of fields featuring an integrated combination of salt lake geology and geochemistry, salt lake solution chemistry and chemical engineering, and materials chemistry based on salt lake potassium, magnesium, lithium and boron resources. ISL people's persistent innovative efforts in addition to collaborations with international institutions from USA, Russia, Australia, Swiss, etc, have resulted in a rich legacy of achievements, contributing vitally in the developing and thriving of national potash industry.
In recent years, ISL has become increasingly active in persistent collaborations with US scientists in studying salt lake and environmental evolution on Qinghai-Tibet Plateau and developing Laotian potassium salt resources cooperating with Yuntianhua Group Corporation. For national strategic needs, the cooperative exploration and mining studies in Laos has been attached with great importance, and substantial progress has been witnessed at present. In the Laotian based project, the institute has been funded 20 million RMB by the national company for industrialization studies.
In the coming years, ISL will continue to promote its international cooperation with a focus on meeting national strategic needs, particularly for developing overseas potassium resources. For the Laotian potash project, ISL will cooperate with China-Laotian Minerals in scaling up its potassium chloride facilities to a capacity of 1 m tons per annum in 5 years time, which will significantly relieve the gravity of China's reliance on importation of potassium fertilizers. Meanwhile, ISL has signed an agreement for collaboratively developing abundant potassium resources in Central Asian countries including Turkmenistan and Kazakhstan, with CITIC Int'l Cooperation Co., Ltd., (CITIC Int'l.). Pre-project work will soon be cooperatively executed by the two parties. It is expected that the completion of the project can basically meet China's national potash needs, thereby providing a solid shield for the security of national agriculture. Besides, ISL is pooling some resources in developing salt lake based energy storage materials. So far, some materials have been successfully prepared which are undergoing field tests. It is supposed that the materials could shorten winter heating period by two months in northern China upon successful industrialization, thereby greatly reducing the consumption of energy resources as well as the discharge of greenhouse gases. Also, ISL has made considerable progress in the study of geological chronology through cooperation with Oxford University and first-class achievements are foreseeable in the near future in this field.