Since 2022, BYD has been reportedly investing in lithium mines outside China. In an interview with the Chilean news media last year, Stella Li, BYD’s executive vice president, said that her company plans to secure partnerships with lithium suppliers around the world. She added that BYD was negotiating for a mining project in Chile and applying for a permit to process raw materials and manufacture battery cathode materials locally.
There is a new development to BYD’s efforts to set up a mining and manufacturing operation in Chile. On April 19, the official website of CORFO issued a notice stating that it will grant BYD’s local subsidiary BYD Chile the status of qualified (or “specialized”) lithium producer. This means that BYD Chile will be able to procure a certain amount of locally-produced battery-grade lithium carbonate at a preferential price. CORFO, or the Production Development Corporation, is a state-owned enterprise.
With the granting of the status, BYD Chile’s cathode manufacturing plant in Antofagasta will be able to obtain 11,244 tons per year of lithium carbonate from SQM Salar for the period from the current year to 2030. Meanwhile, BYD Chile has set the production target of 50,000 tons per year for lithium iron phosphate. The plant in Antofagasta is currently in development and is scheduled to enter operation before the end of 2025. This project entails an estimated investment of at least US$290 million and is expected to create 500 new local jobs.
According to CORFO’s notice, BYD Chile is the first company in the country to provide electric buses for the public transportation systems of the country’s cities. Hence, the company is instrumental in promoting the electrification of public transportation vehicles. Furthermore, Chile has recently reached the milestone of having the largest fleet of electric buses in Latin America.
This article is a translation of a Chinese article posted by TrendForce. It contains information that is either sourced from other news outlets or accessible in the public domain. Some Chinese names are transcribed into English using Hanyu Pinyin.