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Chile seeks lithium listing on London Metals Exchange

Chile is seeking for lithium to be traded on the London Metals Exchange to provide greater "clarity" about its value, Reuters reported Oct. 10, citing the country's Minister of Mining Baldo Prokurica.

Lithium producers negotiate contracts with buyers, but the terms of the deals are not made public. This lack of clarity, according to critics, has "a chilling effect" on potential new investments in the market since the metal's value cannot be precisely measured.

"We want to generate conditions for our products to be sold in a transparent manner, and that raises the possibility that lithium be traded on the London Metals Exchange so there can be clarity about its value," Prokurica said.

Prokurica said he had a series of meetings with U.K. firms regarding possible partnerships with state-owned copper miner Codelco to eventually produce value-added lithium products.

"Chile is to electric vehicles what Saudi Arabia is to crude oil," he told Reuters.

Demand in battery metals such as cobalt, nickel and lithium has soared on the automotive industry's plans to produce electric cars and cut noxious fumes from vehicles powered by fossil fuels.

Chile is the world's second largest producer of lithium and holds 48% of its known reserves, according to statistics.