Lithium squeeze looms as top miner front-loads, Chile says

June 25, 2017

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Plans by one of the world’s top lithium producers to accelerate output could lead to a shortage of the light metal used in electric-car batteries in five years, according to the Chilean government’s development agency. Soc. Quimica & Minera de Chile SA last month announced plans to increase its capacity to produce lithium carbonate from 48 000 to 63 000 metric t a year. At that rate, it would reach its output limit of about 1 million t well before the concession with Corfo, which owns the land, expires in 2030. Extracting more from the area would require applying for new licenses. SQM is embroiled in a dispute with Corfo over royalty payments.

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