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Chilean lithium giant SQM boosts net income 567% to $3.9B in 2022 on record lithium sales and prices

Kitco News

(Kitco News) - Chilean mining company Sociedad Quimica y Minera de Chile (NYSE: SQM), a major lithium producer, yesterday reported net income for the twelve months ended December 31, 2022 of US$3,906.3 million, up 567% compared to US$585.5 million for the same period the year before.

The company said that earnings per share totaled US$13.68 for the first twelve months ended December 31, 2022, significantly higher than the US$2.05 reported for the same period of 2021.

SQM explained that the record high sales volumes of almost 157,000 metric tons of lithium products and average sales prices of close to US$52,000 per metric ton contributed to the outstanding lithium business results the company reported for 2022.

CEO Ricardo Ramos stated, “We are well pleased with the extraordinary results that the company delivered in 2022. While the positive price environment during the year contributed to the record earnings that we published today, our long-term view of the lithium market, the investments we made in new capacity, the risk we took and the operational success, all of that well positioned us to benefit from the market conditions seen last year.”

He continued, “As electric vehicle sales continue to grow, we now expect the lithium demand to reach almost 1.5 million metric tons by 2025. This strong demand growth expectations give us confidence as we remain focused on expanding our lithium production capacity.”

The company said that in Chile, it has reached a run-rate of 180,000 metric tons of high-quality lithium products while working to further expand its lithium carbonate and lithium hydroxide capacity.

“With our lithium project in Australia in construction, we expect to be producing spodumene from the Mt. Holland site by the end of the year and lithium hydroxide during the first half of 2025. The Sichuan refinery is expected to be completed in the second quarter this year while we continue to invest in lithium exploration,” it added.

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.

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