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Chile’s Advantageous Position in Electromobility Development Highlighted

During her participation in the Raw Materials Convention between the European Union and Latin America 2023 in Argentina, Chile’s Mining Minister Marcela Hernando highlighted her country’s advantageous position for the development of electromobility due to its large copper and lithium reserves.

“Chilean copper and lithium mining is fundamental for the advance towards electromobility and the future of our country … to promote an industry that offers the world raw materials with a low carbon footprint and contribute to the fight against the climate crisis,” Hernando said. 

A leading firm in the South American country has reached an agreement to supply lithium to Ford to manufacture electric vehicles. Sociedad Química y Minera (SQM) announced Monday a long-term strategic deal with the Ford Motor Company to ensure the supply of the raw material for the production of electric vehicles. The Chilean company reported that “the agreement between Ford and SQM will guarantee the supply of battery-grade lithium carbonate and lithium hydroxide, essential components for manufacturing high-performance electric vehicle batteries.”

SQM added that the lithium provided to the US company “will help support its plans to produce electric vehicles and expand its presence in global electromobility markets.” Given that the raw material extracted in Chile ”should help Ford vehicles qualify for the U.S. Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) consumer tax credit.“

”We value Ford’s confidence in SQM’s ability to deliver battery-grade lithium products produced sustainably in Chile,“ said SQM’s lithium executive vice president Carlos Díaz, who also pointed out that the Chilean firm has been one of the world’s largest lithium producers for more than two decades, a period in which it has invested in technologies and the development of its own processes ”with one of the lowest environmental footprints in the industry.“

”This alliance will allow both companies to contribute even more to the decarbonization of the planet on a global scale,” he added.

SQM is currently a leading private company in the lithium, potassium nitrate, iodine, and salts markets.

Chilean President Gabriel Boric Font last month launched the National Lithium Strategy whereby the Chilean State is to become a key player in the entire production cycle through National Copper Corporation (Codelco)’s public-private entrepreneurship in addition to the creation of a National Lithium Company, which requires Congressional approval.

Chile currently has one of the largest reserves of lithium in the world in its northern salt flats, with which it seeks to consolidate its position as the world’s leading supplier. In 2022, lithium emerged as the most exported non-copper product from the southern country, and they expect it to be an important source of income in the future.

During the forum in Argentina, Latin American countries seek to promote and intensify cooperation with the European Union in the development of raw material value chains. New business models are also being evaluated based on complementarities, and common objectives, it was explained.

Source: MercoPress