In Chile, allocation of lithium mining lots divides right and left

In Chile allocation of lithium mining lots divides right and

Chile has just awarded two lots for the exploration and extraction of lithium for a total amount of 121 million euros. In the race to gain access to this metal, a Chilean company and a Chinese have won. They will each exploit just under 2% of the known reserves in Chile.

The tender itself had sparked controversy, having been launched just two months before the presidential election in December. And its maintenance despite the victory of the leftist candidate, Gabriel Boric, arouses the ire of the opposition to the incumbent President Sebastian Piñera. The elected president, who will officially take office on March 11, has plans to create a state-owned lithium mining company. A promising resource: the International Energy Agency estimates that world demand could increase by more than 40% by 2040. And Chile, the world’s largest producer until 2016, is part of the famous triangle ABC (Argentina -Bolivia-Chile), the second largest source of white gold in the world.

► See also: Chile: disputes against a call for tenders for lithium exploitation

After the announcement of these attributions, Gabriel Boric denounced a measure “made at the last minute” by a “government about to leave its functions”. The elected president considers “that it is a bad decision” and announces that his team will reanalyze it when the time comes.

In Parliament, opposition MPs denounce a total lack of transparency in the process and summoned the Minister of Mines. The ministry maintains that the arrival of these two companies will increase the dynamism of the local lithium industry. Three other lots in competition were not awarded. The offers were deemed insufficient.

► To read also: Lithium, the fuel of the future