New Chile govt undecided on blocking SQM sale to China firms -official – by Antonio De la Jara (Reuters U.S. – March 16, 2018)

https://www.reuters.com/

SANTIAGO, March 16 (Reuters) – Chile’s new government is evaluating whether to support a petition filed by its predecessor to block the sale of a stake in top lithium miner SQM to a Chinese firm, a senior government official told Reuters on Friday.

Chile development agency Corfo filed a complaint last week to block the sale of a 32 percent stake in SQM to China’s Tianqi Lithium or any related entities or state-backed firms, saying it would “gravely distort market competition.”

The move was the latest in a battle to secure lithium, a major ingredient in rechargeable batteries for electric vehicles, mobile phones and tablets.

Corfo, which oversees SQM’s holdings in the lithium-rich Salar de Atacama region in northern Chile, filed the complaint with anti-trust regulator FNE just two days before conservative billionaire Sebastian Pinera took office as president on March 11.

“We have not made a decision (to support or not support) in this case,” the government official told Reuters, speaking on condition of anonymity. “In this case, in particular, we must closely analyze the consequences.”

For the rest of this article: https://www.reuters.com/article/chile-lithium-china/new-chile-govt-undecided-on-blocking-sqm-sale-to-china-firms-official-idUSL1N1QY10P

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