Chile lithium rebound offers relief to miners hit by China angst

Brines are found in the middle of Chile’s Salar de Atacama and contain the world’s highest known concentrations of lithium and potassium. (Image courtesy of SQM.)

A rebound in lithium exports from the No. 2 supplier Chile offers some relief for the nation’s two producers, SQM and Albemarle Corp., which have been hit by slumping prices.

Revenue from Chilean lithium shipments jumped 18% in August versus July, according to data released Thursday by the central bank.

That’s despite an acceleration in global price declines as economic weakness in China undermines sentiment for electric-vehicle demand.

While Chile’s exports in August are still a far cry from levels seen last year when the market tightened, they may help alleviate some investor concern and explain why SQM and Albermarle remain upbeat on demand projections.

(By James Attwood)


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