LatinNews Daily - 02 January 2024

In brief: Chile’s Codelco reaches lithium mining agreement with SQM

*Chile’s state-owned copper mining company Codelco has announced a public-private partnership with the company Sociedad Química y Minera de Chile (SQM), the world’s second-largest lithium producer, to develop lithium in the Atacama salt flats in the north of the country from 2025 to 2060. In a statement, Codelco said that the partnership would begin work from 1 January 2025, provided certain conditions are met, and would take the form of a joint venture with the Chilean state holding the majority share (50% plus one share). The new company will assume the current contracts between the state development agency (Corfo) and SQM until December 2030 (their original expiration date) and then transition to an operation governed by the new contracts signed between Corfo and Minera Tarar (a 100% subsidiary of Codelco), which will be in force from January 2031 until December 2060. Chile’s mining chamber issued a statement celebrating the partnership, while the local indigenous association Consejo de Pueblos Atacameños (CPA) has criticised the agreement, stating it had not been subject to the adequate environmental or social evaluation.

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