SQM shareholders approve $1.1 billion capital increase

Image courtesy of SQM.

Shareholders of Chilean miner SQM voted on Friday to greenlight a plan to raise $1.1 billion through the sale of common stock to help underwrite an expansion of its lithium, nitrate and iodine operations, a company spokesperson told Reuters.

The world’s No. 2 lithium producer expects the capital will help finance its previously announced $1.9 billion, four-year investment plan, which aims to more than double its capacity to produce lithium carbonate in Chile to 180,000 tonnes annually from 70,000 tonnes. Funds might also be put toward its Mount Holland lithium project in Australia.

SQM recently reported progress in improving relations with the communities that live in that area of ​​the arid Chilean north through several cooperation deals.

The company said it believed the lithium market would expand long-term by 20% a year, reaching 800,000 to 1 million metric tonnes by 2025.

Prices for lithium dropped last year due in part to the coronavirus pandemic, forcing companies to halt expansions.