General manager of SQM on participation at Exponor 2019: “We are open to alternatives that provide greater value to our business”

The top executive reviewed the lithium production company’s ambitious expansion plans and the need to take on new suppliers.
Exponor 2019 has confirmed the presence of the non-metallic mining company SQM, which will be part of the international exhibition with a business centre and technical delegations, site visits and the business meetings.
The company’s general manager, Patricio de Solminihac, highlighted the participation of SQM at Exponor 2019 as “an important date for the calendar, which is a key meeting point for industry suppliers and purchasers. It is also a moment for large companies to present their innovations to the local market and a space for camaraderie in the mining sector. An excellent way to do business”.
The top executive and representative of SQM explained that the participation of the company at Exponor will address the search for new suppliers for the projects under development. “We work under the principle of continuous improvement, which means that we are always open to evaluating and getting to know alternatives that provide greater value to our business. The procurement area is constantly analysing and seeking out suppliers and services. Additionally, as a company we have innovation in our DNA, and we are not afraid of getting to know and evaluating new products, supplies and services”.
Expansion projects
The general manager of the company reviewed the expansion plans of SQM, a challenge that will extend into 2021 and includes the renewal of the lithium carbonate plant and an increase in capacity of the Potassium Nitrate Plant 3. These projects will be showcased at the exhibition, which will take place from May 27th to 30th 2019.
“In May 2018, we announced an ambitious expansion to our strategic plan for lithium in Chile, which is made up of three phases: the first consisted of expanding our production from 48,000 to 70,000 MT in 2018; the second was to increase production from 70,000 to 120,000 MT; the third phase adds 60,000 MT of capacity to our operations, reaching a total of 180,000 TM by 2021”, explained the general manager of SQM, adding that this plan included “a renovation of the current lithium carbonate plant, changing and updating key components and implementing cutting-edge technology”.
Meanwhile, de Solminihac referred to the increase in capacity of the Potassium Nitrate Plant 3, which will involve increasing potassium nitrate (KNO3) production by 500 thousand tonnes a day.
“In this expansion, suppliers have been key and we value the fact that 100% of the partner companies in charge of the execution of the projects have joined M1 – a new method of working based on Lean methodology – implementing SQM’s safety tool ‘ABC’ in their day-to-day work”, the civil chemical engineer noted. SQM is a Strategic Partner for the 2019 edition of Exponor, which will take place from May 27th to 30th with China as guest nation. The exhibition also has the backing of key actors in the sector such as Albemarle, Antofagasta Minerals, Codelco, Lomas Bayas, Minera Escondida, SQM, Yamana Gold and the Supplier Qualification System (SICEP). Its sponsors are: the Mining Council, Sonami, Sofofa, Aprimin, the Chilean Government, the Ministry of Mining, the Ministry for the Economy, Development and Tourism, Pro Chile and the Regional Government of Antofagasta. Its press partners are Minería Chilena, Radio Bío Bío and Reporte Minero.
The 2017 edition of Exponor led to projected annual business worth 800 million dollars, with a thousand exhibitors from 30 countries taking part. Similarly, 40 thousand visits were recorded and 1,292 face-to-face meetings took part with the participation of 98 executives from 16 mining companies. There were 7 site visits, 120 technical talks, 3 after-office networking evenings and 3 seminars with the participation of 950 people, and over 300 technological innovations were showcased in the run-up to the event.
Source: Exponor Press