White heat

February 2016: The announcement could hardly have been better timed.

On January 25th, President Michelle Bachelet finally laid out the government’s policy on the future of Chile’s giant lithium reserves. As well as confirming the mineral’s reserved status, meaning that it can only be exploited with specific state approval, the president announced that state mining giant Codelco will hold a tender to select partners to explore its own lithium proper-ties on the Maricunga and Pedernales Salares, both in Region III.
Interest in the contracts, which could be signed by the end of this year, is expected to be strong. While the prices of most minerals fell sharply during 2015, the price of lithium carbonate, the material used in rechargeable prices, has roughly doubled over the last six months to around US$13,000/t.

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