Chile Details Its National Lithium Strategy – by Catherine Osborn (Foreign Policy – June 23, 2023)


The country’s moves are being closely watched amid the global scramble for critical minerals.

When Chilean President Gabriel Boric announced preliminary plans for a national lithium strategy in April—one that would increase government participation in the lucrative sector—details were scarce. Investors gained some clarity last week when the Chilean government released a 33-page document that expands upon its initial pledges with specific timelines and targets.

Chile is currently the world’s second-largest producer of lithium, a critical mineral that is used in electric car batteries and key to the global green energy transition.

Currently, only two companies mine lithium in Chile: Chilean firm SQM, which is nearly a quarter-owned by a Chinese company, and U.S. firm Albemarle. They are both private and operate in the largest of the country’s more than 40 salt flats that are home to lithium reserves.

Although the government in Santiago, the capital, has been slow to grant permissions for lithium mining in the past, the new strategy says the government plans to award more mining leases and will require some of the new projects to be joint partnerships with a state-owned company.

For the rest of this article: