Lithium expert and doubts after announcement: “The question is how the State will be part of SQM’s business”

The PhD in Chemistry, an academic at the University of Santiago and an expert in lithium batteries, domingo ruizvalued this Friday the National Lithium Policy announced yesterday by the President gabriel boric. However, he expressed doubts, particularly in the negotiation of the SQM contract in the Salar de Atacama.

“It is a good proposal, it is a very consistent proposal, it covers most of the issues that we more or less assumed that they had to be contained in this type of proposal,” he said in conversation with the program. To Bread Bread of The Radio Counter.

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“I find that it has some buts that are still not clear. The first one is that this famous National Lithium Company will only be presented in the second semester. At this moment we do not have a National Company law. Therefore, it What is done is commanded to Corfo, so that through Corfo, Codelco is the State guarantor company to generate integration between the public and private world,” he added.

Along these lines, he expressed: “the question is how the State is going to bend the hand so that the State is part of the SQM business without going on to carry the current contract, which is an exclusive contract for SQM and Albemarle until 2030.”

“From 2030 onwards the concession ends and the State will have all the right to decide who it does business with and who it doesn’t. But until 2023 the contract is for SQM, therefore how Codelco or Empresa Nacional del Lithium is going to integrate with SQM, it is a doubt that we all have, I do not know what is the legal figure that allows you to make that happen”.

Let us remember that among the President’s announcements is the creation of a National Lithium Company, and the mandate for Codelco to negotiate with SQM and the American company Albemarle to participate in the extraction of lithium in the Salar de Atacama. The first has a contract until 2030 and the second until 2043.

Value added

Among the axes communicated by President Boric, there is also the generation of value-added products. The academic from the University of Santiago pointed out that it is a pending issue and that the “most important” bet is towards technological development.

“The issue of added value is something that we have pending for many years, and although it is true to release primary products, such as lithium carbonate (…) the most important bet is towards technological development, that is, to make technological devices with added value,” said Ruiz.

Asked if the country has the conditions to take the step towards the generation of value-added products, the expert said “of course it does.”

“The cost of installing a battery plant is US$7 million, in terms of the amount of money that the industry moves, it is nothing.”

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