Nov. 4. 2010
Marubeni Corporation agreed to establish the Lithium Innovation Center (LIC) in Chile with Sociedad Quimica y Minera de Chile S.A. (SQM), Sociedad Chilena de Litio Ltda. (Chemetall) and Chile University.
Chile’s strategy is to not only export lithium itself, but also to develop high value-added lithium products and other related business, and includes a strong interest in electric vehicles. The purpose of LIC is to pursue the development of lithium-related producing starting with lithium-ion batteries and has planned to invite professionals from both the academic and industrial fields to research and commercialize these products.
Marubeni will support LIC’s activities through the introduction of technology for the development of these lithium-based products, among other things. Both SQM and Chemetall are leading companies in the field of lithium production and together have more than an 80% share of the market for lithium used in batteries.
Marubeni is the official distributor of Nissan automobiles in Chile and already signed an agreement with the Chilean government through Chile University in December of 2009 to advance the use of electric vehicles in Chile by supporting the development of electric vehicle-related infrastructure and technology. Marubeni also invested $2 billion in 2008 to purchase stakes in Chilean copper mines and has just decided to purchase the third largest water and sewage utility company in Chile that serves 48 cities throughout the country. Marubeni, as a leading Japanese trading firm in Chile, plans to continue to expand its business activities in the country.