By Fabian Cambero
SANTIAGO, April 27 (Reuters) - Chilean lithium producer SQM said on Tuesday that it will auction the remainder of 22.4 million of the company´s series B shares on the Santiago stock exchange issued to help underwrite an ambitious expansion of its lithium, nitrate and iodine operations.
SQM said it will on April 28 offer a total of 754,383 common stocks not purchased during a 30-day preferred option period at $50 per share.
"The shares may not be offered to third parties in securities or conditions more favorable than those of the preferential offer," the firm told the local securities regulator.
SQM said in December the capital would be used to fund a $1.9 billion, four-year investment plan, which aims to more than double its capacity to produce lithium carbonate in Chile to 180,000 tonnes annually from 70,000 tonnes. Lithium is a key ingredient in the batteries that power cellphones and electric vehicles.
It also said it could be used to fund its Mt. Holland lithium project in Western Australia, a joint venture with Wesfarmers Ltd, the company said in February it would be pressing ahead with, slated to come online in late 2024. (Reporting by Fabian Cambero, writing by Aislinn Laing Editing by Marguerita Choy)