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Progress made in BYD project for Chilean lithium processing plant

InvestChile - July,12,2023

The Chinese giant will send engineers to our country to choose the location for a development that would cost $290 million.


The Bloomberg site has released important news for progress in electro-mobility. The news chain announced that the BYD brand is working on a project to establish itself in Chile, not only with cars, but with investments that are in line with lithium and mineral extraction.

According to the news agency, "BYD is deploying an engineering team as part of a project to begin processing lithium in Chile, home to the world's largest reserves of the metal that is a key component in EV batteries."

The move being taken by the Chinese electric car giant is part of plans by BYD, the world's second-largest battery maker, to build a $290 million lithium cathode factory in northern Chile, reported Bloomberg.

“Now we are sending the engineering team to carry out the feasibility study and choose the site,” Executive Vice President Stella Li said in an interview from Bloomberg's offices in Sao Paulo.

One of the reasons for the move is that "most of the company's processing has been concentrated in China, so moving to the South American country will allow it more strategic access to lithium reserves," according to the agency.

It should be noted that in April BYD was given preferential prices for lithium carbonate. The Chilean government specifically granted the special status because of plans to build the plant, which will start producing lithium iron phosphate for cathodes by the end of 2025.

On the occasion, after an evaluation process that has been ongoing since last November, BYD Chile SpA was assigned the status of specialized lithium producer by Corfo (Chilean economic development agency). Thus, the electric vehicle company will be given the preferential price established for one of the carbonate quotas of lithium available in the corresponding call bases for up to 11,244 tons/year of battery grade lithium carbonate (Li2CO3), and a supply contract by SQM Salar S.A. until the year 2030, for its “BYD Chile Lithium Cathode Plant” project that will be installed in the Antofagasta Region.

In Chile, BYD is completing final contracts for its project at a time when the country's government is adopting a new model for lithium extraction that will give the state a stake in new ventures.

The news confirms what Stella Li herself commented to MT La Tercera at the end of last year, when a lithium tender which BYD had participated in and been awarded was suspended.

“BYD is looking for a long-term relationship with Chile. The fact that the Chilean Government stopped that tender is just a milestone. All the technology and R&D potential is helping the Government to achieve sustainable growth. BYD, as a leader in global clean technology, is willing to work with the Chilean Government to develop lithium technology, and deliver it to help the country.

We are going to help the Chilean Government create the technology locally, which will also provide the country with knowledge”, acknowledged the executive.

Now, we will have to wait for the development of the strategic plan to install a lithium processing plant in Chile and see if it falls within the new National Lithium Company’s objectives.

Source: La Tercera

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Topics: Mining- Lithium



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