Chile to nationalize lithium industry

Chile President Gabriel Boric announced that his government will nationalize the country’s lithium industry, with the objective of increasing wealth for the country, and developing a key industry as a fundamental step to link Chile’s economic development with the change towards a green economy at a global level.

Boric outlined the new National Lithium Strategy as a set of measures that seek to incorporate capital, technology, sustainability and added value in a public-private model. Development of the industry will be led by the State, through an initial role headed by Codelco (Corporación Nacional del Cobre de Chile)—the state-owned Chilean mining company that is one of the largest copper producers in the world—and Chilean mining and metals company ENAMI (Empresa Nacional de Minería), and that will also involve the private sector.

The actions that make up the National Lithium Strategy include:

  • Create the National Lithium Company;
  • Create a Network of Protected Salt Flats and in those salt flats ensure the use of technologies with low environmental impact;
  • Modernize the institutional framework;
  • Create a Technological and Public Research Institute of Lithium and Salares;
  • Incorporate the State into the productive activity of the Salar de Atacama; and
  • Prospect other salt flats.

Major lithium miners Albemarle and SQM will continue to operate in the country until their contracts expire in 2043 and 2030, respectively. Boric said he hoped that miners already present in Chile would be open to negotiate state participation before contract expiration.


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