Auction Lithium Will be issued within two months of the end of Sebastian Pinera’s term in office in Chile, The world’s second largest metal producer, This raised suspicions in the opposition and the left-wing Gabriel Borik faction that was elected president.
Auction 400,000 tons of metal lithium or 2,129,200 tons of lithium carbonate equivalent (LME), Industry Benchmark Unit, Divided into Five Quotas, With seven years to carry out geological exploitation, research and development of the project.
Contract This gives the metal 20 more years to exploit, Is considered important for the development of electric vehicles.
“We have two options: either we leave lithium underground or use lithium for the benefit of all Chileans.”President Binera told reporters Friday that he would justify the auction process, which began in October.
“After seeing lithium production stagnate in Chile and countries like Argentina and Bolivia threatening to overtake Chile, We decided to implement a strategic plan for the use of lithium“The president added.
According to the Ministry of Mines, Chile was the world’s largest lithium producer with 37% market share until 2016, but today ranks second behind Australia with 32%.. If it fails to increase the country’s output, its share will fall to 17 percent by 2030.
Due to its use in the manufacture of batteries for electric cars and electronic products, Global lithium demand will grow by 21% by 2030, According to the last report of the Chile Copper Commission (Cochilco), the Chilean state technology body.
“This increase depends High consumption Lithium ion batteries designed for the automotive sector. In fact, we expect it to go from representing the electric vehicle segment 41% Total lithium consumption in 2020 a 73% In 2030, ”says the Cochilco report released this week.
Also hand in hand with electromiability and demand from China, price Copper -In which Chile is its major global manufacturer, More than 25% of global offer- reached record price in 2021.
“National Lithium Institute”
“What President Pinara’s government is doing is endangering the public interest of the nation.” Raul Soto, deputy leader of the Opposition for Democracy (PPD), told reporters after presenting a security appeal to halt the process. It was rejected on Friday By the Court of Appeals of Santiago – for failing to time.
The Santiago Court of Appeal said the tender was announced in mid-October by order of the Ministry of Mines, published in the Official Gazette, and that the appeal had been submitted too late.
To the elected President, Gabriel Borick, who takes office on March 11, said the “historic mistake of privatizing resources” like Chile’s lithium cannot be repeated.Like copper before, it was finally nationalized in 1971 by the government of Socialist Salvador Allende (1970-1973).
Thanks to this move, the state-owned National Copper Corporation (Codelco) The The world’s leading producer The metal, and its industry today are also involved in the major private mining companies in Chile, which together produce more than 25% of world supply.
In your plan, Borik, who won 55.8% of the vote in the second round, proposes the creation of a “National Lithium Company” with community leadership to create a new national business that will add value to production.
“We want this process to stop for a long time“, he said Willie Power, The co-ordinator of the Boric Mining Group, met with Minister Jopet on Wednesday, along with Dr. Iskia Cics, the presidential campaign manager.
But despite that, Crockt agreed that the basics could not be changed, but that they would try to establish a “work schedule” to incorporate certain conditions into the bidding agreements., Whose award is due to be announced on January 14th.
Five competing companies
Five companies, The world’s largest lithium exploiter, is the Chilean Sociedad Quimica y Minera de Chile (SQM), which extracts 17% of the world’s metal and produces 19% of American albemarle, They offered financial incentives of up to $ 61 million for one of the five installments.
The tender did not establish the place of exploitation. According to the government, this is only 4% of Chile’s proven reserves After the award, the projects must comply with all current environmental regulations.
Borick will take over the leadership in March.
(With AFP and Reuters information)