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Chile’s Leftist President Moves To Nationalize Reserves Of Clean Energy ‘White Gold’

Last week, Chile announced plans to bring the country’s vast reserves of lithium under government ownership. The country is the world’s second-largest producer of the key metal used in electric vehicle batteries and is seeking to keep a bigger cut of its mineral riches within its borders.

As the batteries for scooters and cellphones are scaled up to power automobiles and electrical stations, the need for so-called “critical minerals” has surged.

In response, countries with key metal reserves are seeking more government control over the resources, particularly amid the chaos of the United States seeking to reroute global supply chains away from China in a bid to weaken its geopolitical rival’s grip over more than 60% of lithium processing.

Chile would, over time, transfer control of the biggest actively mined lithium reserve on Earth — second only to Bolivia’s in overall size and to Australia’s in total production — from the industrial giants SQM and Albemarle Corporation to a government-owned company modeled on the South American nation’s state copper miner.

In a speech last Thursday, Chile’s new left-wing president, Gabriel Boric — who, at 37, is among the youngest world leaders — directed Codelco, the state copper mining company, to draft a plan for a government-owned lithium company, for which his administration would seek approval from the National Congress later this year.

It’s part of a gambit to overhaul the production of what investors call “white gold.” Cashing in on lithium’s surging price, Chile’s youngest president aims to remake South America’s richest nation into something closer to a Nordic social democracy with a higher perch in lithium’s global value chain.

Boric’s vision charts a future in which Chile would export refined minerals, battery components and maybe even whole electric cars ― and would replace today’s water-intensive method of extracting lithium with emerging technologies that, while untested at scale, promise to use far less.

If successful, Chile would become the third Latin American country to nationalize its lithium reserves and the one with the most advanced and active industry to do so yet. Between 2010 and 2022, worldwide production at lithium mines increased nearly sixfold, and new government subsidies in North America, Europe and East Asia are expected to drive another sixfold spike in the next decade.

Content created and supplied by: Honmujaahid (via Opera News )

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