The Chilean lithium producer SQM reported Thursday that it expects sales of at least 140,000 tons of the light metal in 2022 amid interest in the key component for batteries electric carsaccording to its presentation to investors of the results of the first quarter.

The CEO, Ricardo Ramossaid on a call with investors that the company is maintaining its earlier projection of reaching 180,000-tonne lithium production capacity for the year as it expects to complete the expansions “in the coming months.”

SQM shares are up 4% during the Thursday morning call and nearly 28% so far in May.

Brazilian analysts BTG Pactual described SQM’s results as “stellar” and “meteoric” in a note on Thursday, highlighting the increase in lithium prices and the strong contributions of fertilizers and iodine.

The executives said on the call that lithium demand was already recovering following coronavirus-related lockdowns in Chinawhich the company does not expect to continue in the second half of the year.

SQM reported an almost twelve-fold increase in quarterly profit on Wednesday, reaching $796 million.

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