November 29, 2017 / 3:44 AM / a year ago

Codelco CEO seeks to learn about lithium mining on China trip

SHANGHAI (Reuters) - The Chief Executive Officer of Chilean state copper company Codelco [COBRE.UL], Nelson Pizarro, will visit research institutes in China to learn about lithium extraction on his current trip to Asia, he said on Wednesday.

Nelson Pizarro, Chief Executive Officer of Chile's state copper giant Codelco, attends a news conference in Santiago, Chile September 5, 2017 REUTERS/Ivan Alvarado/File Photo

Speaking to Reuters on the sidelines of the Asia Copper Conference, Pizarro said the exchanges were aimed at “analyzing or getting to know the technology to extract lithium, because we don’t have experience in this.”

Codelco has lithium assets in Chile but is currently not producing the metal, Pizarro said. More than 10 companies have expressed interest in partnering with Codelco to exploit its lithium assets in Chile, Codelco Chairman Oscar Landerretche told Reuters last month.

Asked why Codelco was looking to learn about lithium from the Chinese specifically, Pizarro pointed to the growing demand for the metal in batteries for China’s booming electric vehicles sector. He declined to comment when asked if Chinese companies might invest in Codelco’s lithium assets.

Reporting by Tom Daly; Editing by Christian Schmollinger

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