Boric reveals strategy to nationalize Chile’s lithium industry

Inspenet, April 24, 2023

The President of Chile, Gabriel Boric, presented the guidelines of the new National Lithium Strategy, where he highlighted the announcement of a national company, the exploration and exploitation of more salt flats and the incentive to create value-added products along with other elements .

On a national chain, the President explained that “Chile has the largest lithium reserves in the world, a mineral that, being in energy storage batteries, electric cars and buses, is key in the fight against the climate crisis and a opportunity for economic growth that is unlikely to be repeated in the short term.”

The president said that national lithium production represents more than 30% of the global market.

Likewise, he maintained that “in Chile, today lithium is only extracted in the Salar de Atacama and, however, even so, the production of our country represents more than 30% of the global market. The potential we have is enormous. In addition to the Salar de Atacama, there are more than 60 salt flats and saline lagoons. This policy, therefore, will also be a crusade to explore them, evaluate their extractive potential and, very important, also delimit the protected areas and lagoons where operations will not be installed.”

Five points of the National Lithium Strategy

In his speech, he highlighted five essential points within the framework of the National Lithium Strategy:

  • In the first place, the President stressed that “the State will participate in the entire production cycle of this mineral, creating a National Lithium Company for this purpose.”
  • As a second point, Boric assured that “we will do the exploration, exploitation and value addition effort based on the principle of virtuous public-private collaboration,” he remarked.
  • Thirdly, he assured that “we will move towards the use of new lithium extraction technologies that minimize the impact on the salt flat ecosystems. In turn, we will promote research in the salt flats to find out how to take better care of them. To this end, we will establish a network for the protection of salt flats, thus fulfilling the commitment of 30% of ecosystems protected by 2030″.
  • As a fourth point, the President remarked that “all this development will be with the participation and involvement of the communities surrounding the mining operations. I want to promise you that the first milestone of this process will begin with a direct conversation between the Council of Atacameños Peoples and myself,” he specified.
  • “Fifth, we are going to promote not only extraction, not only preservation, but also the generation of value-added lithium products. Thus, the scientific and technological innovation associated with this task will allow us to move towards a development that is lasting, more complex and more diverse”, he pointed out.
1707 industria litio interna
Chile will create the National Lithium Company

National Lithium Company

Likewise, President Boric announced that he will send a bill to create the National Lithium Company that will increase wealth for the country through an effort led by the State, but involving the private sector in the entire production process.

According to the President, the high world demand, the high prices and the large reserves of this mineral in the country are excellent news to promote the development of this industry at the state level, but at the same time calls for action with a sense of urgency. .

In this sense, Boric indicated that in order to develop and launch this National Company, whose bill is subject to the approval of the National Congress, it will be necessary to incorporate capital, technology, sustainability and value addition, always in harmony with the communities. .

For this purpose, the development of the industry will be led by the State, through an initial role led by the National Copper Corporation (Codelco) and the National Mining Company (Enami), and which will also involve the private sector.

This public-private action, articulated by the National Lithium Company, will allow increasing national production, attracting new players and expanding the industry through joint initiatives, which will allow, for example, greater sustainable production in the Salar de Atacama. and new projects in other salt flats in the country.

The National Lithium Strategy also considers the creation of a Public Technological and Research Institute for Lithium and Salt Flats, “which will combine efforts in the field of technological development with research capabilities in ecology, geology and social sciences, on salt flats, their biodiversity and the communities that live around them,” concluded the President.

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Photo : Freepik

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