However, the government of new leftist President Gabriel Boric, like the administrations of Mexico and Argentina, wants to become more involved in the booming lithium market, which has seen prices soar over the past year. .

Hernando said a specialist group was being formed to come up with the best design to run the business.

“We hope to have the proposal for how this business will be as an institution and the business model in which it will operate before the end of the year,” she said.

The minister reiterated that the government is open to private capital participation in the company, although the state is the main shareholder.

President Boric, who took office in March, said during the election campaign that Chile should not make the “historic mistake” of privatizing its resources again and reiterated his interest in creating the company for the development of lithium .

Hernando added that lithium would not be included in plans to apply a mining royalty, under an ambitious fiscal program promoted by the government.

“The assessments we’ve made are that it’s very complex because lithium is an industry that’s not very mature,” she said.

(Reporting by Fabian Cambero; Editing by Adam Jourdan and Bill Berkrot).