Chilean lithium exports continue rise, to $949m in 2018 – central bank

Chile is the second largest producer of lithium and holds the world’s third largest reserves of the metal. (Image by SQM.)

Chile’s exports of lithium carbonate reached $949 million in 2018 compared to $686 million the previous year as demand and prices for the key component in electric vehicle batteries continues to rise, the central bank said on Monday.

Chile lies in the “lithium triangle” in Argentina, Bolivia and Chile, a region containing a large portion of the world’s lithium reserves.

The value of exports of the metal from Chile reached $65.8 million in December, compared to a high of $97 million in August, $71 million in November and $45 million in December 2017. The increase represented a year-on-year rise of 46.2 percent.

Top lithium producers Albemarle and SQM have both signed deals in recent years with the Chilean government to increase production in the lithium-rich Salar de Atacama.

Global demand for lithium is expected to quadruple by 2025.

(By Aislinn Laing; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama)