Sociedad Quimica y Minera SA


  • Sociedad Quimica y Minera SA
  • Sector

  • Industry

  • Company web

  • Employees

    Full Time Employees: 4,885
  • Executives

    • Eugenio Ponce L.
    • Patricio de Solminihac Tampier
    • Juan Gerardo Jofre Miranda
    • Ricardo Ramos Rodriguez
    • Andres Yaksic
    • Gerardo Illanes
    • Jose Miguel Berguno
    • Pablo Altimiras
    • Juan Carlos Barrera Pacheco
    • Frank Biot
  • Company address

    • Los Militares 4290, piso 4
    • P: +562.24252000
    • F: +562.24252268
  • Investor Relation Site


Sociedad Quimica y Minera de Chile S.A. (SQM), incorporated on June 29, 1968, is a producer of potassium nitrate and iodine. The Company produces specialty plant nutrients, iodine derivatives, lithium and its derivatives, potassium chloride, potassium sulfate and certain industrial chemicals (including industrial nitrates and solar salts). The Company’s segments include specialty plant nutrients, industrial chemicals, iodine and derivatives, lithium and derivatives, potassium, and other products and services.
Specialty plant nutrients are fertilizers that enable farmers to improve yields and the quality of certain crops. Iodine and its derivatives are mainly used in the X-ray contrast media and biocides industries and in the production of polarizing film, which is an important component in liquid crystal display (LCD) screens. Lithium and its derivatives are used in batteries, greases and frits for production of ceramics. Potassium chloride is a commodity fertilizer that is produced and sold by the Company around the world. Potassium sulfate is a specialty fertilizer used in crops such as vegetables, fruits and industrial crops. Industrial chemicals have a range of applications in certain chemical processes, such as the manufacturing of glass, explosives and ceramics, and industrial nitrates are being used in concentrated solar power plants as a means for energy storage. In addition, the Company complements its portfolio of plant nutrients through the buying and selling of other commodity fertilizers for use mainly in Chile.

The Company’s products are derived from mineral deposits found in northern Chile. It mines and processes caliche ore and brine deposits. The caliche ore in northern Chile contains the nitrate and iodine deposits in the world. The brine deposits of the Salar de Atacama, a salt-encrusted depression in the Atacama Desert in northern Chile, contain concentrations of lithium and potassium, as well as concentrations of sulfate and boron. From its caliche ore deposits, it produces a range of nitrate-based products used for specialty plant nutrients and industrial applications, as well as iodine and iodine derivatives. At the Salar de Atacama, the Company extracts brines rich in potassium, lithium, sulfate and boron in order to produce potassium chloride, potassium sulfate, lithium solutions and bischofite (magnesium chloride). It produces lithium carbonate and lithium hydroxide at its plant near the city of Antofagasta, Chile, from the solutions brought from the Salar de Atacama.

Specialty Plant Nutrition

The Company produces and sells approximately four types of specialty plant nutrients: potassium nitrate, sodium nitrate, sodium potassium nitrate and specialty blends. It sells other specialty fertilizers, including trading of third party products. All of these specialty plant nutrients are used in either solid or liquid form mainly on crops, such as vegetables, fruits and flowers. They are used in crops that employ modern agricultural techniques, such as hydroponics, greenhousing, fertigation (where fertilizer is dissolved in water prior to irrigation) and foliar application. According to the type of use or application the Company’s products are marketed under the brands, such as Ultrasol (fertigation), Qrop (open field application), Speedfol (foliar application) and Allganic (organic farming). Potassium nitrate is available in crystalline and prill form, which is allowing for multiple application methods. Crystalline potassium nitrate products are used for application by fertigation and foliar sprays, and potassium nitrate prills are suitable for soil applications.

Iodine and its Derivatives

The Company is a producer of iodine and iodine derivatives, which are used in a range of medical, pharmaceutical, agricultural and industrial applications, including x-ray contrast media, polarizing films for LCD and light emitting diode (LED), antiseptics, biocides and disinfectants, in the synthesis of pharmaceuticals, electronics, pigments and dye components. It markets iodine using the brand QIodine. The Company produces iodine in its Nueva Victoria plant, near Iquique, and its Pedro de Valdivia plant, close to Maria Elena. It has a total production capacity of approximately 10,000 metric tons per year of iodine, including the Iris plant, which is located next to the Nueva Victoria plant. Through Ajay-SQM Group (ASG), it produces organic and inorganic iodine derivatives.

Lithium and its Derivatives

The Company is a producer of lithium carbonate, which is used in a range of applications, including electrochemical materials for batteries, frits for the ceramic and enamel industries, heat-resistant glass (ceramic glass), air conditioning chemicals, continuous casting powder for steel extrusion, primary aluminum smelting process, pharmaceuticals and lithium derivatives. It is also a supplier of lithium hydroxide, which is primarily used as an input for the lubricating greases industry and for certain cathodes for batteries. The Company markets lithium using the brands, such as QLithiumCarbonate, QLithiumHydroxide and QLubelith.


The Company produces potassium chloride and potassium sulfate by extracting brines from the Salar de Atacama. Potassium chloride is a commodity fertilizer used to fertilize a range of crops, including corn, rice, sugar, soybean and wheat. The Company offers potassium chloride in approximately two grades: standard and compacted.

Industrial Chemicals

The Company produces approximately three industrial chemicals: sodium nitrate, potassium nitrate and potassium chloride. Sodium nitrate is used in the production of glass, explosives, charcoal briquettes and metal treatment.

Potassium nitrate is used in the manufacturing of specialty glass, and it is also a raw material for the production of frits for the ceramics and enamel industries. Solar salts, a combination of potassium nitrate and sodium nitrate, are used as a thermal storage medium in concentrated solar power plants. Potassium chloride is a basic chemical used to produce potassium hydroxide, and it is also used as an additive in oil drilling, as well as in food processing, among other uses. The Company markets its industrial chemicals using the brands, such as QSodiumNitrate, QPotassiumNitrate, QPotassiumChloride, QBoricAcid and Ultrasol.

Other Products and Services

The Company sells other fertilizers and blends, some of which it does not produce. The Company produces and distributes approximately three main potassium sources: potassium nitrate, potassium sulfate and potassium chloride.

The Company competes with Albemarle, FMC Corporation, Uralkali, PCS, Belaruskali, Mosaic, K+S KALI GmbH, Tessenderlo Chemie, Great Salt Lake Minerals Corp., BASF AG, Trans Resources International Inc., Sichuan Tianqi Lithium Industries (Tianqi), Toyota Tsusho, Ise Chemicals Ltd., RB Energy, Chilean family De Urruticoechea, Chilean holding Inverraz S.A., ACF Minera S.A., Arab Potash, Yuantong and Migao Corporation.

Sociedad Quimica y Minera de Chile SA: Slide deck

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