Chile's SQM to receive Korea Eximbank's $100 million fund for stable lithium supply to S. Korean firms

By Lim Chang-won Posted : September 7, 2022, 16:59 Updated : April 1, 2024, 15:40
Courtesy of Korea Eximbank
[Courtesy of Korea Eximbank]
SEOUL -- Korea Eximbank, an official export credit agency in South Korea, will provide a fund of $100 million to SQM, a Chilean supplier of plant nutrients, iodine, lithium and industrial chemicals, to help ensure a stable supply of lithium for domestic battery and cathode material makers. 

The fund including $55 million in loans and $45 million in guarantees will be used to invest in SQM's development of lithium mines in Australia and the renovation and expansion of production facilities. SQM, one of the world’s biggest lithium producers, should supply lithium worth about $470 million to South Korean companies for 10 years.

"Korea Eximbank will contribute to stabilizing South Korea's supply chain by expanding the base of financial support to energy such as oil and gas as well as grain resources with unstable supply and demand," said Korea Eximbank head Yoon Hee-sung.

LG Energy Solution (LGES), the battery-making wing of South Korea's LG Group, has signed long-term contracts to receive spodumene concentrate from Australia's Liontown Resources, hydroxide from Germany’s Vulcan Energy Resources, battery-grade lithium from Sigma Lithium of Brazil, and lithium carbonate and hydroxide from SQM.

LGES has beefed up its battery manufacturing capabilities to meet growing demands in North America. The battery maker has partnered with Stellantis N.V. to open a joint battery plant in North America. A joint venture between LGES and General Motors is building two battery plants, while Michigan was selected as the site for a third plant. 
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