To whom it may concern: the surprising no bidding process over strategic Salar de Atacama lithium

The facts are as follows:

  1. Uniqueness of Salar de Atacama, Chile: it is considered one of the best brine deposits from where to extract lithium in the world. As of today, it is administered by a state owned entity CORFO and it has only two players operating under different contract conditions: Albemarle, an American company which is authorized to extract up to 85.000 lithium carbonate (LCE) metric tons per year until 2043 and SQM, a Chilean company co-controlled by two industrial groups (Grupo Pampa (26%) and China´s TIANQI (22%)), which is authorized to annually extract 180.000 LCE metric tons until 2030. Both operations are subject to the same royalty structure and pay income taxes as any other company based in Chile. TIANQI has a joint venture with Albemarle in Australia in Greenbushes hard rock deposit, the largest operational lithium mine globally. Total production capacity in Salar de Atacama remains undefined.

World lithium demand in 2023 is expected to reach 1.2 million LCE metric tons: electromobility would account for a million LCE metric ton.       

…. see attached PDF document

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