Latest situation in Chile April 2023

According to the regular report of economy April 2023 published by the Embassy of Japan in Chile, the latest situation in Chile can be summarized as below:

  1. Politics

Chilean president Boric revealed the national strategy of lithium, and he explained “While guaranteeing their medium-to-long term sustainability, through a participatory process, we are planning to submit a bill for creation of national lithium corporation (Empresa Nacional del Litio, 100% state-owned) and Lithium and Salt Fields Commission (Comite Corfo del Litio y Salares) to the Chilean congress”.
Also, under the same policy, they will be working toward the establishment of a public lithium and salt field technical research laboratory and the participation of the state through CODELCO (Chilean Copper Corporation) from 2024 as a lithium producer in the Atacama salt field.
About this announcement, president Boric mentioned “The state has decided to participate in the full production cycle of lithium.”
However, calling this the “nationalization” of lithium seems to be misleading.
Minister of foreign affairs, Van Kravelen explained “since the owner of mining resources is the state, we have a system of delegation of rights. Moreover, all lithium exploration is based on this concept. Therefore, there is no change in legal status. “
Hernando, the Chilean Ministry of Mining commented “the purpose is to create an industry”.
It was also decided that the existing exploration activities and contracts of SQM and Albemarle would be fully respected together with the existing legal framework.
Further, Hernando left her comment “Obviously, many steps can be skipped by partnering with companies that are already producing batteries or metallic elements in other places”, which shows the importance of public-private partnerships in the development and growth in value-adding projects, not only in the lithium exploration.

Check out our department’s work for batteries:

  • Economy

The economic activity index for March recorded -2.1%. In the mining section recorded -8.5%.
The mining production index for the same month was -8.7%, and copper production decreased by 4.7%.
The export amount in April was 7.61 billion dollars (-3.1%), of which mining products raised 4.32 billion dollars (-6.9%, 56.8% of the total), of which copper raised 3.54 billion dollars (3.1%, 82.0% of the total mining export value).
On the other hand, import value in the same month was $6.46 billion (-17.2%), and the trade balance was a surplus of $1.15 billion.
*Percentages from the same month of the previous year

The amount of trade with China, Japan, and South Korea (March) resulted as below:
With China: exportation 3.71 billion (24.0%), importation 1.45 billion (-43.8%), total amount of trade 4.96 billion (-4.8%)
With Japan: exportation 520 million (-24.8%), importation 220 million (1.4%), total amount of trade 740 million (-18.7%)
With South Korea: exportation 890 million (41.3%), importation 100 million (-44.9%), total amount of trade 990 million (21.9%)
*Dollars, comparing to the same month of the previous year

Reference: The regular report of economy April 2023, from the Embassy of Japan in Chile, Department of Economy.
(The original reports are written in Japanese.)