Weekly Report - 20 January 2022 (WR-22-03)

CHILE: Boric, Enade, and lithium

President-elect Gabriel Boric appeared before Chile’s most important annual business forum and meeting, Enade, on 13 January. On the following day a regional court suspended two contracts awarded by the energy and mines ministry to extract 160,000 tonnes of lithium in the Atacama region. On the surface these might look like unrelated events. But, while Boric sought to allay concerns during the Enade meeting about his commitment to fiscal responsibility, he also addressed the issue of equality and social justice. These were not just political priorities of his incoming government, he said, but also economic prerequisites. The old model of private extractivism envisaged in the suspended lithium contracts awarded by the outgoing government, with minimal consultation, for instance, is completely at odds with this new approach.

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