Just a few months before the end of his administration, Piñera announced an auction to award operational contracts to explore and produce 400,000 tons of that light metal, used to manufacture batteries.
Among the competing companies is Albemarle, based in North Carolina (United States), and the Chemical and Mining Society of Chile Soquimich, which had or have pending litigations with the Chilean State.
“Granting the exploitation of lithium in the north of the country to those consortiums would mean reinforcing the extraction model and private companies, to the detriment of sustainable and beneficial productive projects for Chile,” according to an article published by El Siglo digital weekly daily.
This week, several deputies filed an appeal for protection at Santiago’s Court of Appeal to stop the process.
“What the government is doing is putting at risk the nation’s general interest,” legislator Raul Soto, one of the promoters of this legal action, denounced.
For her part, Camila Vallejo, also a Member of Parliament, warned that the bidding is badly conceived. It does not allow for the estimation of its environmental impact. There is no strategy to generate added value and is granted at a price well below its commercial value.
On the other hand, the plan boosted by Piñera violates the regulations on consultation to indigenous communities that live near the exploitation site in the Atacama Desert.