Minister Marcel confirms “space for private individuals” in the national lithium policy: “It is not good to be a ship adrift”


“Not everything will depend on the National Lithium Company. The government will make a proposal, but Chile needs to have a diversified industry. You can’t play everything on one horse.” Anticipating that there will be room for the private sector in the La Moneda initiative, Finance Minister Mario Marcel said the presentation of the national lithium policy will take place next week.

Although the tax portfolio manager did not elaborate on the contents of the project that will address the exploitation of the mineral on national soil, he anticipated, in an interview with the Icare Economic Week program, that, together with the creation of the National Lithium Company, “There will be room for the private sector”. And it is that Minister Marcel knows that the issue arouses international interest.

“The world’s big economies are contesting access to lithium staples. China, the United States and Europe are contesting access to lithium. In that kind of thing, it’s no good to be a ship adrift, you have to have partners,” he said. underlined head of Teatinos 120.

It is worth mentioning that, in Chile, lithium reserves belong to the state and are mainly exploited by the Sociedad Química y Minera (SQM) and the American company Albemarle.

Minister Marcel also referred to the complex situation that Codelco is going through, since the state-owned copper mining company has had production drops, which could worsen in the coming years. more than expected, their performance is lower than expected”, recalled the Secretary of State, revealing that the company “hopes to recover its stake in the mining industry, but this takes time”.

As regards the country’s economic situation, the head of the Treasury indicated that he hopes that by 2023 the uncertainties will be clarified to favor economic recovery in a scenario of contraction in the trend of the gross domestic product (GDP) and estimates that the project of the tax reform is approved by May.

“It’s December now and I hope December next year all of this is behind us, it’s already happened, tax reform should be around April, May, we should close that process, with royalties it might even be a little earlier given that it is a project that is in the second constitutional process”, he commented.

Mario Marcel concluded that “this has to do with something that was discussed a lot a few months ago, whether or not it was time to present a tax reform, and I believe that maintaining uncertainty about the tax regime in Chile is very harmful “. .

“In recent months we have had a drop in the level of uncertainty which brings us more or less to the level before the Covid crisis, we still have a large chunk of uncertainty to recover or reduce and I believe this is also linked to the progress of these reforms and , of course, to the constitutional process which is already moving towards a second process,” he added.

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