Chile probes for lithium exploration interest, aims for five projects

15th April 2024 By: Reuters

SANTIAGO - Chile has started accepting statements of interest for lithium exploration and aims to develop up to five new projects in the country, the government announced on Monday.

Chile is the world's second-largest lithium producer but growth has been stalled as the government debated how to expand the industry.

The process will last 60 days and the government will announce what salt flats receive interest in July, said Aurora Williams, Chile's mining minister, during a press conference.

Williams added there will be a tender process if more than one company expresses interest in a salt flat.

She said the government aims to give permits to new projects by the end of the year if there is no need for indigenous communities to sign-off on the project.

The country's economy minister, Nicolas Grau, said the goal is develop between three and five new lithium projects. The announcement is the latest step in President Gabriel Boric's plan to expand the industry with increased state control.