lithium

Your correspondent

Walking around the Uyuni salt flats, all you see is a dry and crusty white nothingness stretching to the horizon. But underneath this almost-lunar landscape in Bolivia’s Andean plateau is half the world’s lithium – the lightest metal on the planet, used in the batteries that drive a host of modern gadgetry and a potential power source for electric vehicles.

Now Bolivia wants to cash in on the value to be added to this precious resource, with the opening of the country’s first lithium processing plant

Electric cars may be struggling to build sales momentum, but that’s not stopping Chengdu Tianqi Industry from making a bold bet that demand for lithium-powered products can only go in one direction – up.

The Chinese battery maker on Monday gatecrashed US chemical maker Rockwood Holding’s bid for Perth-based miner Talison Lithium with a C$806m ($803.3m) takeover offer. The bid, at C$7.15 a share, represents a 10 per cent premium to Rockwood’s C$724m (or C$6.50 a share) bid. 

After the mammoth battle between Codelco and Anglo American, resource nationalism is back on people’s lips in Chile.

But this time it’s lithium, not copper.

SQM, a Chilean company and the world’s biggest producer of the mineral that is used for smartphone batteries and hybrid cars, has won a tender to develop a lithium concession in Chile after beating other offers with its $41m bid to develop the concession for a 20-year term. Keep it in the family, as it were?