Canada's Nutrien auctions remaining shares in lithium miner SQM for nearly $1 billion

FILE PHOTO: An aerial view shows the brine pools and processing areas of the Soquimich (SQM) lithium mine on the Atacama salt flat in the Atacama desert of northern Chile, January 10, 2013. REUTERS/Ivan Alvarado/File Photo

SANTIAGO (Reuters) - Canadian fertilizer company Nutrien auctioned its remaining stake in Chile lithium miner SQM on Friday for nearly $1 billion, the last step in meeting regulatory commitments after the company was formed in January by the merger of Agrium and Potash Corp of Saskatchewan.

The nearly 20.17 million B-series shares in SQM SQM_pb.SN sold on Chile's IPSA stock exchange for 31,000 pesos ($49.05) per share.

China’s Tianqi Lithium Corp last month said it would buy nearly a quarter of the lithium miner for $4.1 billion, gaining it coveted access to a key ingredient in rechargeable batteries that power mobile phones and electric cars.

Reporting by Dave Sherwood; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama