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Chile’s potential to develop lithium

We are aware that the reality that the world is experiencing today with the rise of electromobility generates a series of opportunities for copper, lithium and cobalt. In this context, we know that our country has good qualities to be an important actor in the development of the industry of these three minerals.

If we focus on lithium, it is necessary to state that Chile owns 57.4% of the world’s reserves of this metal and that we are the second largest producer worldwide.

According to estimates by our Ministry, Chilean lithium production is expected to increase more than double by 2023, from the current 96,000 tons to 230,000 tons of Equivalent Lithium Carbonate (LCE).

For its part and according to the Chilean Copper Commission (Cochilco), the portfolio of lithium projects reaches US $ 1,807 million, that is, it exceeds 41% of the amount recorded in 2018.

Faced with these indicators, we have been proactive in promoting measures to get on the “electromobility boom”, among which are the agreements reached in the Codelco and Enami directories so that both state companies exploit their lithium belongings, something that no previous government had done.

Another noteworthy aspect is that Corfo initiated a new call for domestic and foreign companies to invest and develop an industry that produces products with added value of lithium in Chile.

Likewise, this development institution will install the Chilean Institute of Clean Technologies in Antofagasta, an entity that will develop research and technologies applied to lithium, electromobility and renewable energies whose bases were launched during October.

Electric mobility is a fundamental contribution to protect the environment and a key player in combating global warming and reducing the carbon footprint. In this area, together with Alta Ley Corporation, we recently organized the seminar “Emerging Technologies of Lithium Extraction and Processing”.

In this event, more than 150 professionals, academics and industry executives learned about the latest technologies available for more efficient and sustainable lithium extraction and processing.

We encourage and support this activity, since we believe that new technologies promote a more environmentally friendly management and minimize the impacts generated by the extraction of this metal in the salt flats.

As a reflection, I want to point out that the future demand for lithium generated by the sharp increase in electric mobility drives us not only to increase our production, but also to worry about its sustainability.

For our part, we will continue to be proactive in the exploration and exploitation of lithium, promoting the use and development of new technologies. Also, we will continue working to get on the “value chain” as an opportunity to move towards greater progress and job creation.

Baldo Prokurica
Mining Minister