Chile hopes to trade lithium at LME will soon become the country's second largest mining asset
During his first visit to the UK since taking office in March, Procurica met with local companies to discuss a potential partnership with Codelco, a state-owned miner, to eventually produce value-added lithium products, according to the EFE news agency.
Ranking of lithium producing countries in 2017
In July, LME asked companies that assess the price of battery-grade lithium to submit proposals to reference the cash settlement contracts it plans to launch next year. Currently, manufacturers negotiate contracts with buyers, but the terms of the deal are not disclosed.
According to the Chilean newspaper Estrategia, Minister Procurica said, "We want to create conditions for our products to be sold in a transparent manner, which increases the possibility of trading lithium at LME. In this way, we can clearly know the trading value of lithium as a metal.
Chile is already the world's largest copper producer, with 48 per cent of known lithium reserves and the second largest lithium producer after Australia, producing 80,000 tons of lithium carbonate in 2017. But both businesses and governments are trying to turn it around. Chile's SQM, the world's second-largest lithium producer, has been expanding its mines in the past few months. The company recently completed the first phase of lithium carbonate production in Salar del Carmen, Chile, with an annual production capacity of 700 million tons. Patricio de Solminihac, the company's chief executive, said in August that it believed it would soon overtake its US rival Albemarle, as the world's largest lithium miner by 2022.
The Chilean government also expects lithium to soon become the second largest mining asset after copper. This is currently the country's fourth largest export.
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