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Chilean lithium giant SQM boosts net income 1,071% in first quarter, increases capacity

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(Kitco News) - Chilean mining company Sociedad Quimica y Minera de Chile (SQM), a major lithium producer, yesterday reported net income of US$796.1 million in Q1 2022, an increase of 1,071% compared to net income of US$68.0 million in Q1 2021.

The company said that this substantial increase in earnings was a result of significantly higher sales volumes and realized prices.

The company added that the global lithium market growth is putting pressure on prices and, despite the higher market environment, SQM still believes that the lithium market will grow at least 30% this year.

Importantly, SQM said that in light of market demand expectations, the company is increasing its capacity and expects that sales volumes of lithium and derivatives in 2022 will surpass 140,000 metric tonnes.

SQM is a major lithium producer with a 19% market share, as well as other divisions servicing nutrition and industrial chemicals.

In the Atacama Desert, located between Chile’s first and second regions, SQM has exclusive access to the world’s best and largest reserves of caliche ore and brines. The company possesses the most extensive reserves of iodine and nitrate, as well as the highest concentrations of lithium and potassium on record.

In addition, in 2017 the company began diversifying geographically by acquiring new resources to extract lithium from spodumene in Western Australia (in partnership with Kidman Resources).

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