Chile to nationalize its lithium industry – by Cecilia Jamasmie ( – April 21, 2023)

Chile’s President Gabriel Boric announced on Thursday night his government would nationalize the country’s lithium, applying a model in which the state will partner with companies to develop the local industry.

The long-awaited policy in the world’s second-largest producer of the battery metal includes the creation of a national lithium company, Boric said on national television. State copper giant Codelco, the world’s No.1 producer of the metal, will be initially in charge of signing up partners for new contracts.

That role will then be undertaken by a dedicated national lithium company, which mandate will be to develop the industry into a pillar for Chile’s economy while protecting its environment. “This is an opportunity for economic growth that will be difficult to beat in the short term (…) We can’t afford to waste it,” Boric said.

The two lithium miners already operating in Chile, Albemarle (NYSE: ALB) and SQM (NYSE: SQM) will continue to do so until their contracts expire. Without naming them, Boric said he hoped that lithium miners already present in Chile would be open to negotiate state participation before the end of their contracts.

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