And over the weekend, more critical developments emerged on both of these fronts.
In lithium, it was the possible sale of a control position in one of the world’s top producers: Chile’s SQM.
On Friday, local Chilean investor Oro Blanco announced that it is seeking to sell control of a 20% share block in SQM. A position that would give an incoming buyer the opportunity to significantly influence this major player in lithium production. Related: Just About Every Part of the Permian Basin is Unprofitable at $30 Per Barrel
Given the emerging interest in lithium, it will be extremely interesting to see who bids for these shares. With groups like Rio Tinto and electric car maker Tesla having both delved into the lithium mining sector the last few weeks.
In this way, the sale of the SQM position could give us a big indicator on who’s most bullish on lithium. Watch to see who emerges as part of the purchase — with the sale expected to be completed over the next six months.
Then there’s the Silk Road. Where China’s $40 billion infrastructure fund announced Friday it has signed up another deal — this time in Russia.
The Silk Road Fund said Friday that it has finalized binding agreements to take a 9.9% stake in the Yamal liquefied natural gas (LNG) project in Russia’s northern Yamal Peninsula. Related: The Golden Age Of Coal In China Is Over
The price for the investment wasn’t announced. But the Fund said it will also provide an $800 million loan to the Yamal LNG development, which is being advanced by Russian firm Novatek.
This suggests the overall scale of investment for the Silk Road Fund here is likely to be in the billions. Making this another significant step for this rapidly-rising player in the Asian/European natural resource space.
Things are moving fast on both of these fronts. Watch for more news on lithium and link-ups along the Silk Road over the coming months.
Here’s to big stories of 2016
By Dave Forest
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