Chile’s SQM begins process to raise $1.1bn in capital

Chile's SQM said its board of directors agreed to begin the process of raising $1.1 billion in capital through the sale of common stock to help underwrite an ambitious expansion of its lithium, nitrate and iodine operations. The lithium producer will call a shareholders meeting on Jan. 22 to green-light a proposal to issue 22.4 million of the company's series B shares. If approved, the capital will help finance its previously announced $1.9 billion, four-year investment plan.

Chilean State Railways awards $70m contract for six EMUs

Chilean State Railways (EFE) has selected a consortium of CRRC Sifang and Temoinsa Chile as the winner of a $70 million contract to supply six four-car bi-mode electro-diesel multiple units. The 160km/h trains will operate on the partially-electrified 400km, 12-station route between Santiago and Chillan. The trains will reduce journey times between San Diego and Chillan from five hours to 3h 40min. The trains will operate continuously for 1000km under diesel traction.

Chilean president announces that COVID-19 vaccination will begin on Thursday

President Sebastián Piñera said that the COVID-19 vaccination campaign will begin on Thursday, after the arrival of the first 10,000 doses. President Piñera announced that a plane carrying the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines has already left Belgium and is scheduled to arrive in Chile in the early hours on Thursday. The vaccination process will begin immediately. Chile will have more than 30 million doses as a result of contracts signed wth separate companies.

USDA projects Chile’s total avocado production in 2021 will reach 220,000 tons

Official data from China Customs depicts that the country imported 18,900 tons of avocado during the first nine months of 2020. 4,136 tons of this volume were imported from Chile. According to the US Department of Agriculture's Foreign Agricultural Service (USDA), Chilean avocado exports between January-September of this year showed a 46.1% year-on-year decrease in volume and a 43.3% decrease in value. The USDA projects that Chile's total avocado production in 2021 will reach 220,000 tons.