Tianqi Lithium has successfully purchased almost 24% of Chilean competitor SQM, despite strong push back from Chilean regulatory authorities. The Chinese lithium producer purchased the shares from Canadian fertilizer company Nutrienfor US$4 billion, a strategic move by the Chinese to increase their inventory of the raw material required to in the production of electric vehicles and smartphones.
A spokesperson from Tianqi said “A minority stake in SQM is great from our perspective, especially when we look at long-term growth and expectations for the lithium industry,”
The deal was not supported by all, as Chilean authorities had voiced concerns that the purchase would allow the Chinese company to control the global lithium market and significantly influence global pricing. However, the deal was allowed to go ahead with stringent intellectual property restrictions that would limit SQM’s exposure to the Chinese lithium miner.