Hyundai & Kia secure lithium for EV future

Chilean lithium miner, SQM, the world's second-largest lithium producer, says it has reached a long-term supply deal with Hyundai and Kia to provide the carmakers with the white metal, key to the production of electric vehicle batteries.

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Hyundai and Kia will "secure a portion of (their) future lithium hydroxide supply from SQM", the SQM, which has already landed supply deals with Ford Motors and battery maker LG Energy, said in a statement.

SQM did not give financial details of the deal with the Korean automakers, but said there was "strong motivation to continue with (its) lithium hydroxide expansion plan."

The mining company’s current Chilean capacity for lithium hydroxide, made from lithium carbonate, is at 40 000 metric tons a year, according to its first-quarter results.

SQM is on track to boost output in Chile to 100 000 tons in 2025. It is also building up capacity in China and Australia.

At the end of May, SQM signed an agreement with Chilean state-run mining company, Codelco, to form a joint venture that will let SQM boost output through to 2060 at the Salar de Atacama, one of the world's most prized areas for extracting lithium.


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