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Chile to nationalise vast lithium industry, unveils model to share resource

Shock move in country with world's largest lithium reserves would in time transfer control of Chile's vast lithium operations from industry giants SQM and Albemarle to a separate state-owned company

Lithium reserves

Agencies

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Chile’s President Gabriel Boric said he would nationalise the country’s lithium industry, the world’s second largest producer of the metal essential in electric vehicle batteries, to boost its economy and protect its environment. 

The shock move in the country with the world’s largest lithium reserves would in time transfer control of Chile’s vast lithium operations from industry giants SQM and Albemarle to a separate state-owned company. 

President Gabriel Boric announced the new model in a national television address late on Thursday, saying the state would hold a majority stake in joint ventures. Initially, state copper giant Codelco will sign up partners for new contracts, before handing over the role to a dedicated state national lithium firm at a later date. “This is one of our best opportunities to move towards a sustainable and developed economy,” Boric said.

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First Published: Apr 21 2023 | 10:17 PM IST

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