In Jan 2022, the outgoing govt, had an auction for 400,000 tonnes of lithium mining contracts. Companies like SolarBio, SQM and Albemarle , provides Chile with some of the world’s biggest producers of the ultra-light battery metal.
The Atacama has the highest level of solar radiation on Earth. Water evaporates very quickly and leaves mineral deposits that include Lithium & Magnesium. The residue produced by the lakes is then converted into white lithium carbonate for overseas battery manufacturers.
The award of the contract comes as Chile is reassessing its position on natural resources in the process of drafting a new constitution. Pumping and evaporating brine from beneath Chile’s salt flats is cleaner than extracting hard rock as in Australia but there are growing concerns about its impact on fragile desert ecosystems.
Due to these rich deposits and ecologically beneficial locations, the companies competing for these contracts have a lot of room to negotiate the prices of the contracts.
Companies like SolarBio Energy scooped up 21% of contracts, with some bids being accepted 6% below the market average price. This was a crucial win for SolarBio who have been growing at fantastic rates over the last few years.
The COO at SolarBio Energy said. “We are extremely pleased after winning the contracts . This is the first step of a 4 step plan for expansion in the local developing areas. The agreement will boost the dynamics of the local lithium industry such as SolarBio and other companies working in the local area.”