LatinNews Daily - 13 January 2022

In brief: Chile awards two lithium contracts

* Chile’s mining ministry has awarded two lithium contracts, each with an estimated annual production of 80,000 tonnes, to China’s BYD Chile SpA and the Chilean company Servicios y Operaciones Mineras del Norte SA, for US$61m and US$60m, respectively. A statement from the mining ministry did not specify where the concessions are located, but said that they amount to 1.8% of known lithium reserves in Chile. The two companies will have seven years to carry out studies, and then a further 20 years to conduct their mining operations. The tender has caused controversy, coming just two months before President Sebastián Piñera leaves office, given that President-elect Gabriel Boric had sought the tender’s postponement so that his incoming administration could consider attaching conditions to the contracts. The mining ministry statement added that the successful bids were those that “best serve the interests of the state by increasing competitiveness in this market and provide the most satisfactory tax haul per quota.”

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