Under the new plan, future lithium contracts will only be issued as public private partnerships with state control in an effort to boost the economy and protect the environment.
Existing contracts will not be terminated, but companies are expected to be open to greater state participation before they expire. While speaking during a televised address to the nation, Boric said, “this is the best chance we have at transitioning to a sustainable and developed economy. We can’t afford to waste it.”
As home to some of the world’s largest reserves of lithium – and being the second largest producer globally – Chile’s efforts to strengthen control over the metal has implications on the global electric vehicle industry. Lithium-ion batteries are essential for eves, and lithium is seen as a ‘pillar for the fossil fuel free economy’ by the United Nations.
The move follows similar attempts from neighboring countries within the lithium triangle – Chile, Argentina, and Bolivia – that have sought greater public sector stake in mining of the metal, with plans to develop their own lithium battery sector. Mexico nationalized its lithium deposits last year, while Indonesia has banned exports of nickel ore, another key battery material.