Chilean legislators reject lithium expropriation

Chilean legislators have rejected a bill allowing the expropriation of private companies involved in lithium mining in the country, which would have left the door open for the state to take over firms such as Albemarle and SQM, the world’s No. 1 and second largest producers of the battery metal.

The special committee of the lower house said the bill was unconstitutional, but tied when it came to vote in favour of naming lithium a resource of national interest. The metal, a key ingredient in the batteries that power electric vehicles (EVS) already has a special status, as it is considered to be property of the state.

“Declaring the Special Contracts of Lithium Operation (CEOL) deals of national interest is what was declared unconstitutional,” the minister of mining, Baldo Prokurica, told BioBio.cl.

“The only special lithium operation contract Corfo has is one with Codelco. Sometimes it is confused with the contracts that Corfo has with SQM or Albemarle, which are lease contracts,” he noted.

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