More Than 50 Firms Want In on New Lithium-Mining Model in Chile – by James Attwood (Bloomberg News – August 15, 2023)

(Bloomberg) — Mining companies are jostling to negotiate lithium deals under a new government model in Chile, home to the world’s biggest reserves of the metal that’s a key component in electric-vehicle batteries.

To meet the demand, authorities are well advanced in work to identify new extraction areas and are compiling bidding rules for contracts to explore and possibly mine them, Karla Flores, head of InvestChile, said in an interview.

More than 50 firms from around the world have expressed interest in participating in Chile’s new public-private model, with a roadshow held in Germany and France last month and another planned for Korea, Japan and China in October, Flores said.

Until now, Chilean lithium production has been limited to two companies working a single salt flat, with the nation’s market share slipping in recent years. President Gabriel Boric’s solution is a model that will see the state take a controlling stake in operations considered strategically significant while allowing private firms to retain control of projects in non-strategic areas.

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