Electric vehicles: Chile lawful exploitation of its reserves of lithium

Chile, the leading producer of lithium and two related companies to the state, opened on Tuesday the exploitation of its vast reserves to private companies, an alternative that sparked critics and opponents who prefer that the authorities maintain control of production.

Used in batteries to power cell phones or computers and the emerging electric cars, the demand for lithium is growing exponentially and only three countries account for 85% of world reserves: Bolivia, Chile and Argentina. Chile is now seeking to increase production through the incorporation of private, for which a tender opened Chilean and foreign companies with a market share of up to 100 000 tonnes of lithium metal in 20 years without giving up ownership of the resource.

"Lithium is part of our business, and obviously at that time we will evaluate it carefully." This captured the general manager of MCS, Patricio Contesse, the position of the chemical and mining company against the government’s call for bids to exploit lithium in the country.

"We are evaluating this possibility," he said regarding the choice of the company to do this in the Special Operating Contracts Lithium (Ceol).

He showed more concern that the lithium extraction business more competitive, making way for new players to join the two existing ones, ie the SQM itself and its only competitor, the Chilean Society of Lithium (SCL). "The competition is part of the market laws, and believe in it," the executive said.

Also address the impact they may have about the business of the company’s current situation in Europe, Contesse said "our signals, from the point of view of the market are positive." But he added, "clearly the news we have from the outside are bad and do not know at what point can affect us."

By José Santamarta, www.evwind.com