This agreement ensures the continuity of the production of lithium and other substances and broadens the scope of Codelco’s participation in the global challenge of energy transition, taking advantage of the opportunities generated by the intensive use of copper and lithium.

By Horacio Gutiérrez Areyte

In an unprecedented milestone for the Chilean mining industry, Codelco and SQM announced a public-private partnership to jointly develop production and commercial activities in the Salar de Atacama for the coming decades.

This partnership, as long as certain conditions are met, will materialise as of 1 January 2025, and will be structured through a joint venture with a majority shareholding of the State of Chile (50% plus one share).

With this step, Codelco fulfils the mandate of the State of Chile and Corfo to seek the best ways to achieve state participation in the exploitation of lithium and other mineral substances in the Salar de Atacama. Codelco’s board thanked the trust placed in the company, the work of its professionals and advisors, and the willingness of SQM to reach this mutually beneficial agreement.

Máximo Pacheco, chairman of the board and leader of the negotiations on Codelco’s side, highlighted the importance of this agreement: “This is a historic moment for Codelco and for each and every one of its workers. These have not been easy years for the company, which has had to make enormous efforts to sustain its copper production and continue to contribute to Chile’s wellbeing and progress”.

“Today Codelco begins a new cycle. From now on we will be a leading global copper and lithium mining company. This makes us a more robust and sustainable company. We thank our shareholder, the State of Chile, and the President of the Republic, Mr Gabriel Boric Font, for having placed their trust in Codelco for it to make Chile a power in the planet’s energy transition,” he added.