Future lithium’s investment will be concentrated in Australia and Argentina

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Future lithium’s investment will be concentrated in Australia and Argentina Mr. Eduardo Bitrán is Executive Vice-president of the Chilean Economic Development Agency (CORFO in Spanish), and he estimates that lithium could reach second place among Chilean exports after copper, by generating revenue of over US$10 billion by 2035.

However, Chile’s global leadership in lithium production could be on the verge of falling as a result of competition from Australia, Argentina, and the lack of agreement between CORFO and SQM regarding the Salar de Atacama.

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The reconciliation that could close this arbitration, which began in 2013, has not yet been  achieved, leaving around US$1.8 billion in unexploited lithium.

The CORFO – SQM agreement included increasing the extraction limit to 180,000 tons, and increasing the royalty from 6.8% to 40%, which would result in over US$1 billion in revenue for the Treasury. However, CORFO’s request that the SQM Chairman be an independent director without a casting vote, wrecked months of negotiation.

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