Chile's SQM says lithium industry needs at least $10 bln investment over 10 yrs

SHANGHAI, April 18 (Reuters) -

* The global lithium industry will need $10 billion-$12 billion investment over the next decade to meet growing demand for the metal on the back of the electric vehicle boom, Chilean lithium miner SQM says

* Demand is set to grow by 600,000-800,000 tonnes of lithium carbonate equivalent over the next 10 years, Daniel Jimenez, senior commercial vice president at SQM, tells the Metal Bulletin Battery Materials Conference in Shanghai

* Lithium is a key ingredient in batteries for electric vehicles

* SQM’s projection is based on typical greenfield capital expenditure per tonne of lithium carbonate equivalent, he adds, noting that the industry has historically underestimated lithium demand and over-estimated supply

* Company currently has annual lithium carbonate production capacity of 48,000 tonnes in Chile, which it will expand to 70,000 tonnes this year and to 100,000 tonnes next year, Jimenez says. (Reporting by Tom Daly; Editing by Amrutha Gayathri)