Why Chile is so rich for mining lithium
The Atacama salt flat in northern Chile is home to around 20% of the world's lithium reserves and is widely regarded as the best and cheapest place in the world to produce lithium at the moment.
The flats are in what is known as "The Lithium Triangle", an area that straddles Chile, Argentina and Bolivia.
The market for lithium has been growing rapidly due to the metal's use in lithium batteries, which are used in smartphones, laptops, tablets and electric cars.
German Perez, head of mining production at SQM's Salar de Atacama plant, showed BBC News the extraction process.
Video journalist: Gideon Long
11 Apr 2014