Essential information

Ongoing leadership
Sophisticated talent
Entrepreneural Enviroment
A Latin American hub

CORFO and InvestChile meet companies in Japan to promote tender for specialized lithium producers

Chilean authorities met with over 20 companies in Tokyo, including Toshiba, Marubeni and JX Nippon Mining. The tour concludes this Thursday in South Korea.

The “Lithium Call” through which the Chilean government’s Economic Development Agency (CORFO) is seeking, with the collaboration of InvestChile, to promote an international tender to select the best projects for the manufacture of value-added lithium products in Chile continued on Monday and Tuesday in Tokyo, Japan.

CORFO’s executive vice-president, Sebastián Sichel, and the director of InvestChile, Cristián Rodríguez, met with over 20 representatives of Japanese companies such as Toshiba Corporation, Marubeni Corporation, Sojitz Corporation, Kowa Company, JX Nippon Mining, JX Metal Corporation and Itochu Corporation, all of which are related to the production of batteries or parts and components for lithium batteries.

Sichel highlighted the importance of transforming lithium into a development opportunity for Chile, indicating that it is crucial to add value to the industry, undertake research and development and increase the efficiency of production. “We are encouraging overseas companies to participate in a tender in which we ensure 25% of output at a competitive price so that, for the first time, Chile does more at the industrial level than merely extract lithium carbonate and, for example, produces cells or battery parts or cathodes for energy storage,” he said.

“We are very happy because the strategy of the Chilean government and our mandate from President Sebastián Piñera to add value to the lithium industry is materializing when one sees the interest that over 20 companies here in Tokyo have in learning about the tender, participating and accompanying Chile in this development strategy,” added Sichel.

The director of InvestChile, Cristián Rodríguez, stressed the importance of attracting foreign investment that generates added value for the country’s different economic sectors. “Lithium represents a great opportunity to add value to production chains in Chile and one of the tasks of InvestChile is to identify the most suitable companies and invite them to make investments of this type in the country. In this way, we are ensuring that Chile remains an important player in the global lithium industry, especially at a time when electromobility is gaining importance,” he said.

The “Lithium Call” began last Friday in Paris where the Chilean authorities met with European companies such as Umicore, Rosatom and Bolloré. It culminates tomorrow with a roadshow in Seoul, South Korea.

About the lithium market

In 2018, Chile produced some 88,000 tonnes of lithium carbonate equivalent (LCE), equivalent to 33% of the world lithium chemicals market. Its output is estimated to increase to some 250,000 to 300,000 tonnes by 2025, allowing Chile to remain one of the world leaders in lithium production.

In 2019, world demand for lithium is expected to be around 276,000-290,000 tonnes LCE, with lithium carbonate having the largest market share (42% compared to 30% for lithium hydroxide). By 2035, demand is expected to reach 1.9 million tonnes LCE of which 900,000 tonnes would be used for batteries.