Tianqi weighs legal actions after Chile regulator clears SQM-Codelco deal

Zhangjiagang production plant. (Image courtesy of Tianqi Lithium.)

China’s Tianqi Lithium said on Friday it was evaluating possible legal action against a Chilean regulator’s ruling allowing a tie-up between No. 2 lithium producer SQM, which it owns around a fifth of, and Chile’s state-run copper giant Codelco.

Chile’s financial regulator this week said a planned lithium joint venture between SQM and Codelco can proceed without a vote by SQM shareholders, which would have included Tianqi.

Tianqi has repeatedly pressed for the matter to be put to a shareholders’ vote. It can appeal the regulator’s decision to the courts.

“Our company, in compliance with its fiduciary duty and responsibility to its investors, is evaluating all possible legal actions and will take all pertinent measures in accordance with the law to enforce its rights and interests as a shareholder of SQM and an international investor,” Tianqi said in a statement.

The Codelco-SQM agreement is a major plank of the Chilean government’s aim to take a stronger role in lithium production, in a country that has only two producers, SQM and US-based Albemarle. Chile is the world’s second-largest producer of the metal used in batteries for electric vehicles.

(By Daina Beth Solomon; Editing by Anthony Esposito and Kylie Madry)


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