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Chile To Clean Up Rules For Lithium Industry To Boost Production

Metal News - Published on Mon, 17 Jun 2019

Image Source: ET EnergyWorld
Reuters reported that Chile's Mining Ministry would release in "the coming weeks" a plan to clarify rules around its lithium industry to maintain its global share of output amid spiraling demand for the coveted battery metal. At a gathering of lithium investors in Santiago, Mining Minister Baldo Prokurica said the administration of center-right President Sebastian Pinera would push both state and private investment to double Chile's production to 230,000 tonnes of lithium carbonate equivalent per year by 2023.

Mr Prokurica told the Fastmarkets Lithium Supply and Markets Conference that
"This government is not partial to either the private or public sector when it comes to the development of lithium.”

Lithium is a key ingredient in the rechargeable batteries that power everything from cell phones to electric vehicles.

Chile's existing policy toward lithium has been criticized as confusing and uninviting to newcomers. Despite prime production conditions and upward of 50% of the world's reserves, according to United States Geological Survey data, the country has not permitted a new lithium mine since the boom for the metal began in 2014.

Chile now requires private miners to partner with the state or obtain a special permit known as a CEOL to mine lithium on their own.

The problem, would-be miners say, is that the government has yet to provide guidelines for obtaining a CEOL. It also has not announced a uniform royalty or tax scheme that would help investors gauge the risks.

Mr Pablo Terrazas, Chile's vice minister of Mining, told participants of the lithium conference that the soon-to-be-released new rules would fill these voids and add safeguards for the environment and local communities. He added that "We've learned much from our errors and we think now is the moment to correct them.”

The new projects, Terrazas said, would help Chile maintain its share of global lithium production amid a sharp increase in global demand.

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Posted By : Ratan Singh on Mon, 17 Jun 2019
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