Codelco and SQM to meet next week to discuss state control

Chile is the second largest producer of lithium and holds the world’s third largest reserves of the metal. (Image courtesy of SQM.)

Chile’s state-owned mining company Codelco and SQM will hold a meeting next week to discuss a new lithium contract where Codelco will have majority control, company executives said Friday.

“We agreed to formalize a meeting that will start next week,” SQM CEO Ricardo Ramos told reporters after meeting with Codelco’s Chairman, Maximo Pacheco, in Santiago.

He added that the company has a common vision with Codelco in the development of salt flats and will work hard to achieve a new agreement in line with the government’s goal to take control over the country’s lithium industry.

Pacheco said the two companies outlined the main topics of negotiation and agreed to meet regularly. He reiterated that Codelco will have a majority control in the new public-private partnership.

“We’ve put a very clear condition that Codelco is going to enter this association and will be a part of this joint venture in a position of majority control,” Pacheco said.

“It’s going to be an extremely complicated negotiation,” he said, adding that he hopes talks will “bear fruit” this year.

In a statement released after the meeting, Codelco said any agreement will need to be approved by the board of Codelco and Corfo, Chile’s state development office which currently issues lithium contracts.

In a separate statement, SQM said it expects negotiations to be confidential and will refrain from commenting publicly until the final documents are signed or “negotiations are terminated.”

(By Fabian Cambero; Editing by Andrea Ricci)


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