Chile’s leading lithium miner SQM is slated to begin discussions regarding joint lithium initiatives with state-operated mining firm Codelco over the next several weeks. The announcement was made on Thursday, May 18th, by SQM chief executive Ricardo Ramos at a quarterly earnings call with analysts and shareholders. However, Ramos did not disclose exactly when such talks would be conducted.
Last month, the Chilean government announced its plans to take greater control of the country’s lithium mining sector. In essence, private mining firms will only be allowed to initiate any activities regarding the extraction and production of the vital element if they allow the government to hold a majority stake in such critical projects.
The world’s second-largest lithium producer, SQM’s management team has expressed optimism despite the way its Chinese rivals have been ramping up their activities over the past several months.
The company reported that its lithium sold for about $38,000 per metric ton throughout much of the first quarter of last year, but the price went up to around $59,000 a ton towards the end of 2022.
While SQM did not disclose its quarterly prices in its latest report, Ramos stated that he felt positive about volumes for the end of the first half of 2023.
Meanwhile, company revenues were pegged at $2.26 billion as of the end of the first quarter, up by nearly 12% from the same time last year. Profits, however, fell by 6%.