Around $754 million in new lithium industry investments have been approved by the development agency of Chile, Corfo, as revealed in an announcement from the authority.
The new investments were approved via a competitive bidding process that saw inputs from a number of different regions and sectors. Among the companies approved to make investments were the Chile-based firm Molymet and the China-based joint-venture Sichuan Fulin Industrial Group (which is itself a joint venture between involving the South Korean firms Samsung SDI Co and POSCO).
The Reuters coverage provides more: “Corfo said that within 2 years the companies would be ready to produce about 58,000 tonnes of cathode per year, the main material in lithium batteries.”
“The Atacama salt flat is part of the so-called ‘lithium triangle’ in Argentina, Bolivia, and Chile, a region containing a large portion of the world’s lithium reserves. Investment and output have increased in recent years as demand for electric vehicles surges.
“Also on Friday, the mining ministry said in a statement state-run miner Codelco had signed a contract to mine lithium from the Maricunga deposit, without giving details on potential partners or investments. It would be the first foray into lithium for the world’s top copper producer. Corfo said in January it had struck a deal with miner SQM that would allow Codelco to begin lithium development in Maricunga.”
This is more news to suggest that near-term lithium supply constraints aren’t anything like as much of an issue as they are sometimes presented as being. That said, the firms that lock up long-term supply contracts will clearly have an advantage.
On that note, see: Tesla Eyeing Chile’s Lithium Reserves, In Talks With SQM.