LatinNews Daily - 11 January 2022

In brief: Chile’s energy minister on defensive over lithium auction

* Speaking before Chile’s congressional economy committee, Energy & Mining Minister Juan Carlos Jobet admitted that the outgoing government led by President Sebastián Piñera could have made more efforts to provide better information regarding a highly questioned lithium rights auction which has drawn opposition. In October 2021 the government invited bids from private companies to expand lithium production to 400,000 tonnes (t) a year. However the initiative has proven controversial and on 5 January a group of opposition legislators presented a legal challenge to suspend it arguing that it “risked the general interest of the nation”, amid concerns about the extractive process and its environmental impact, among other issues. On 7 January a local appeals court rejected the appeal on the grounds that it had been filed too late.

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