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CORFO and InvestChile launch overseas tour to promote tender for specialized lithium producers

In France, Japan and South Korea, the two institutions will promote investment opportunities in the development of an industry to produce value-added lithium products in Chile.

On Friday in Paris, France, the Chilean government’s Economic Development Agency (CORFO) will launch, with the collaboration of InvestChile, its “Lithium Call” to promote an international tender to select the best projects for the manufacture of value-added lithium products in Chile. The tour will continue on Monday, June 10, in Tokyo, Japan, and will finish on Thursday, June 13, in Seoul, South Korea. It will be headed by CORFO’s executive vice-president, Sebastián Sichel, and the director of InvestChile, Cristián Rodríguez.

The tender is part of the contract between CORFO and SQM Salar for the mining of lithium in northern Chile’s Atacama Salt Flat. It was announced in April this year and will close in January 2020, with the results announced in March 2020. The companies selected will be able to buy lithium at a preferential market parity price from SQM Salar, with a stable supply through to 2030.

Sichel pointed out that “lithium is a strategic resource for Chile, but we must move forward in discussing why we have lithium and what for and how to create value for our economy; that is the reason for this tender. In this process, we will visit companies to show them how attractive Chile can be for investing and developing industries and local value.”

Similarly, Rodríguez stressed the importance of attracting foreign investment that generates added value for the country’s different economic sectors. “Lithium represents a great opportunity to add value to production chains in Chile and one of the tasks of InvestChile is to identify the most suitable companies and invite them to make investments of this type in the country. In this way, we are ensuring that Chile remains an important player in the global lithium industry, especially at a time when electromobility is gaining importance,” he said.


About the lithium market

In 2018, Chile produced some 88,000 tonnes of lithium carbonate equivalent (LCE), equivalent to 33% of the world lithium chemicals market. Its output is estimated to increase to some 250,000 to 300,000 tonnes by 2025, allowing Chile to remain one of the world leaders in lithium production.

In 2019, world demand for lithium is expected to be around 276,000-290,000 tonnes LCE, with lithium carbonate having the largest market share (42% compared to 30% for lithium hydroxide). By 2035, demand is expected to reach 1.9 million tonnes LCE of which 900,000 tonnes would be used for batteries.