Codelco creates two subsidiaries to articulate state role in lithium industry

Chile’s National Copper Corporation (Codelco) today presented two new companies created to explore and exploit lithium in the Andean country, which will articulate the state’s role in the national lithium strategy launched by the government last month. Codelco’s board of directors announced on Friday that it had authorised the creation of the companies Salares de Chile and Minera Tarar, which will allow the state to join the industry’s development, the statement said.

The public company’s president, Máxico Pacheco, said the lithium industry is considered, along with copper, “fundamental to link Chile’s progress with the transition to a green economy at a global level”.

“The world is eager for copper and lithium because it is crucial for the energy transition, through the development of environmentally and community responsible mining,” he added.

According to Codelco, the Salares de Chile joint venture will consolidate the activities of Codelco’s lithium companies. Meanwhile, Minera Tarar, its first subsidiary, will focus exclusively on the Salar de Atacama operation, including a possible partnership with private companies currently operating there.

Chile currently has one of the world’s largest lithium reserves in its northern salt flats, and is seeking to consolidate its position as the world’s leading lithium supplier. In 2022, lithium emerged as the southern country’s most exported non-copper product, and is expected to be an important source of future revenue.

The South American country is home to a quarter of the world’s copper reserves and 40 percent of global lithium reserves, according to Codelco figures.