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Old 02-07-2018, 02:43 AM
Sparty Sparty is offline
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Default Australia overtook Chile as the world's top lithium supplier in the past decade

The Shifting Landscape of South America's "Lithium Triangle"

In 2012 Chilean President Sebastian Piņera, a billionaire entrepreneur, tried to kick-start the country's lithium industry amid fast-growing demand for batteries found in mobile phones and tablets. Armed with growing evidence that the world's leading automakers had chosen the lithium-ion battery as the engine of electrical vehicles (EVs), Piņera sought to sidestep a 1979 law that made lithium mining the exclusive preserve of the state by offering a one-off license to a new company to extract the resource under a special operating contract.

His vision ended in failure. Santiago-based SQM, the world's largest lithium producer at the time, won the contest that was aimed at encouraging a new investment in the industry. An eagle-eyed lawyer from another firm that lost out in the auction spotted SQM was in contravention of bidding terms, because of an ongoing legal dispute with the government. The auction was declared void and the government officials entrusted with the bidding process were accused of negligence.

The debacle may have cost Chile its leadership status in the global lithium market, at a moment when EV demand is taking off. Australia overtook Chile as the world's top lithium supplier in the past decade, and even neighboring Argentina is set to overtake Chile by 2020, according to a study by Morgan Stanley. Read the full article
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