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Chile and Argentina will lead lithium production in the coming years

09/01/2018
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A recent report by BMI Research has revealed that Chile and Argentina will lead lithium production in the coming years with most of the new capacity coming online in 2019.

Lithium production Chile and Argentina
(Image sourced via PotashCorp)

The report states: 

"We have updated our lithium production forecasts for Chile and Argentina to reflect a relatively slower-moving project pipeline due to regulatory hurdles in the former and growing exploration efforts boosting long-term output in the latter. While we have revised down Chile's lithium production growth rate slightly in 2018, we maintain a quite positive outlook for the sector and expect both countries to drive global lithium production, along with Australia, over the next decade"

BMI believes that substantial investment opportunities in Chile’s lithium sector will gather interest, especially following the election of president Sebastián Piñera. Development agency Corfo has announced that it has received proposals from six companies to advance metallic lithium and lithium cathodes. The companies include; three Chinese firms, one South Korean, one South Russian and one domestic.

Argentina is expected to become a larger producer by 2020 with advantages such as a strong project pipeline, competitive operating costs and a supportive regulatory environment.

Some of the key projects scheduled to come online in 2019 in Argentina are:

 Lithium Americas and SQM's 675-million joint-venture Cauchari-Olaroz, with estimated lithium carbonate production of 25kt.
▪ Galaxy Resources' Sal de Vida project.
▪ FMC Corp's 300-million expansion of its Hombre Muerto operations, which would double its lithium carbonate output to 40kt.

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