IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/a/spr/minecn/v33y2020i1d10.1007_s13563-019-00181-8.html
   My bibliography  Save this article

Lithium and Chile: looking back and looking forward

Author

Listed:
  • Philip Maxwell

    (Curtin University)

  • Mauricio Mora

    (Nexis Consulting SPA)

Abstract

This paper focuses on the economic fortunes of the Chilean lithium industry over the past three decades and considers its likely future directions. When SQM commissioned its brine extraction facilities in the Salar de Atacama in 1995, joining the already established SCL (operating since 1984), Chile emerged as the world’s leading lithium producer. It retained this position until 2013 when Australian production surpassed it. Chile, Australia and Argentina now dominate the early stages of the lithium industry. Four multinational companies—Albemarle, SQM, FMC Corporation and Tianqi Lithium—accounted for more than 83% of world lithium output in 2016. These firms appear to exert considerable market power. Against this background, we outline and assess recent developments in the Chilean lithium sector, noting that the second Bachelet government (in office from 2014 to early 2018) convened a year-long National Lithium Commission in 2014. The members of this group suggested strategies to maintain and enhance Chile’s competitive advantage in the lithium sector. The final section considers the implementation of these in the light of the election of the second Piñera administration which took office in March 2018.

Suggested Citation

  • Philip Maxwell & Mauricio Mora, 2020. "Lithium and Chile: looking back and looking forward," Mineral Economics, Springer;Raw Materials Group (RMG);Luleå University of Technology, vol. 33(1), pages 57-71, July.
  • Handle: RePEc:spr:minecn:v:33:y:2020:i:1:d:10.1007_s13563-019-00181-8
    DOI: 10.1007/s13563-019-00181-8
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://link.springer.com/10.1007/s13563-019-00181-8
    File Function: Abstract
    Download Restriction: Access to the full text of the articles in this series is restricted.

    File URL: https://libkey.io/10.1007/s13563-019-00181-8?utm_source=ideas
    LibKey link: if access is restricted and if your library uses this service, LibKey will redirect you to where you can use your library subscription to access this item
    ---><---

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to search for a different version of it.

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Maxwell, Philip, 2015. "Transparent and opaque pricing: The interesting case of lithium," Resources Policy, Elsevier, vol. 45(C), pages 92-97.
    2. Yaksic, Andrés & Tilton, John E., 2009. "Using the cumulative availability curve to assess the threat of mineral depletion: The case of lithium," Resources Policy, Elsevier, vol. 34(4), pages 185-194, December.
    3. John E. Tilton, 2018. "Assessing the market power of mineral commodity producers," Mineral Economics, Springer;Raw Materials Group (RMG);Luleå University of Technology, vol. 31(1), pages 71-76, May.
    4. Ebensperger, Arlene & Maxwell, Philip & Moscoso, Christian, 2005. "The lithium industry: Its recent evolution and future prospects," Resources Policy, Elsevier, vol. 30(3), pages 218-231, September.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Most related items

    These are the items that most often cite the same works as this one and are cited by the same works as this one.
    1. Fernando Moreno-Brieva & Carlos Merino, 2020. "African international trade in the global value chain of lithium batteries," Mitigation and Adaptation Strategies for Global Change, Springer, vol. 25(6), pages 1031-1052, August.
    2. Kushnir, Duncan & Sandén, Björn A., 2012. "The time dimension and lithium resource constraints for electric vehicles," Resources Policy, Elsevier, vol. 37(1), pages 93-103.
    3. Miedema, Jan H. & Moll, Henri C., 2013. "Lithium availability in the EU27 for battery-driven vehicles: The impact of recycling and substitution on the confrontation between supply and demand until2050," Resources Policy, Elsevier, vol. 38(2), pages 204-211.
    4. Jean-François Labbé & Georges Daw, 2012. "Lithium: An Overview [Panorama 2011 du marché du lithium]," Working Papers halshs-00809298, HAL.
    5. Grosjean, Camille & Miranda, Pamela Herrera & Perrin, Marion & Poggi, Philippe, 2012. "Assessment of world lithium resources and consequences of their geographic distribution on the expected development of the electric vehicle industry," Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, Elsevier, vol. 16(3), pages 1735-1744.
    6. Jean-François Labbé & Georges Daw, 2012. "Lithium: An Overview [Panorama 2011 du marché du lithium]," Université Paris1 Panthéon-Sorbonne (Post-Print and Working Papers) halshs-00809298, HAL.
    7. Maxwell, Philip, 2015. "Transparent and opaque pricing: The interesting case of lithium," Resources Policy, Elsevier, vol. 45(C), pages 92-97.
    8. Hache, Emmanuel & Seck, Gondia Sokhna & Simoen, Marine & Bonnet, Clément & Carcanague, Samuel, 2019. "Critical raw materials and transportation sector electrification: A detailed bottom-up analysis in world transport," Applied Energy, Elsevier, vol. 240(C), pages 6-25.
    9. Fizaine, Florian, 2018. "Toward generalization of futures contracts for raw materials: A probabilistic answer applied to metal markets," Resources Policy, Elsevier, vol. 59(C), pages 379-388.
    10. Gil-Alana, Luis A. & Monge, Manuel, 2019. "Lithium: Production and estimated consumption. Evidence of persistence," Resources Policy, Elsevier, vol. 60(C), pages 198-202.
    11. Stepanek, Christian & Walter, Matthias & Rathgeber, Andreas, 2013. "Is the convenience yield a good indicator of a commodity's supply risk?," Resources Policy, Elsevier, vol. 38(3), pages 395-405.
    12. Monnet, Antoine & Gabriel, Sophie & Percebois, Jacques, 2017. "Analysis of the long-term availability of uranium: The influence of dynamic constraints and market competition," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 105(C), pages 98-107.
    13. Fizaine, Florian, 2015. "Minor metals and organized markets: News highlights about the consequences of establishing a futures market in a thin market with a dual trading price system," Resources Policy, Elsevier, vol. 46(P2), pages 59-70.
    14. Knut Einar Rosendahl & Diana Roa Rubiano, 2019. "How Effective is Lithium Recycling as a Remedy for Resource Scarcity?," Environmental & Resource Economics, Springer;European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 74(3), pages 985-1010, November.
    15. Meshram, Pratima & Pandey, B.D. & Abhilash,, 2019. "Perspective of availability and sustainable recycling prospects of metals in rechargeable batteries – A resource overview," Resources Policy, Elsevier, vol. 60(C), pages 9-22.
    16. Juan Ignacio Guzmán & Enrique Silva, 2018. "Copper price determination: fundamentals versus non-fundamentals," Mineral Economics, Springer;Raw Materials Group (RMG);Luleå University of Technology, vol. 31(3), pages 283-300, October.
    17. Tian, Xu & Geng, Yong & Sarkis, Joseph & Gao, Cuixia & Sun, Xin & Micic, Tatyana & Hao, Han & Wang, Xin, 2021. "Features of critical resource trade networks of lithium-ion batteries," Resources Policy, Elsevier, vol. 73(C).
    18. Xian Zhao & Siqi Wang & Xiaoyue Wang, 2018. "Characteristics and Trends of Research on New Energy Vehicle Reliability Based on the Web of Science," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 10(10), pages 1-25, October.
    19. Medina, Juan Pablo, 2021. "Mining development and macroeconomic spillovers in Chile," Resources Policy, Elsevier, vol. 70(C).
    20. Weimer, Lucas & Braun, Tobias & Hemdt, Ansgar vom, 2019. "Design of a systematic value chain for lithium-ion batteries from the raw material perspective," Resources Policy, Elsevier, vol. 64(C).

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Chile; Lithium; Collusive behaviour; Vertical integration; Horizontal integration; Value adding; Market power; Mineral policy;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • L0 - Industrial Organization - - General
    • L1 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance
    • L72 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Primary Products and Construction - - - Mining, Extraction, and Refining: Other Nonrenewable Resources
    • L11 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - Production, Pricing, and Market Structure; Size Distribution of Firms
    • D43 - Microeconomics - - Market Structure, Pricing, and Design - - - Oligopoly and Other Forms of Market Imperfection

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:spr:minecn:v:33:y:2020:i:1:d:10.1007_s13563-019-00181-8. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: . General contact details of provider: http://www.springer.com .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a bibliographic reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: Sonal Shukla or Springer Nature Abstracting and Indexing (email available below). General contact details of provider: http://www.springer.com .

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.