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Chile: Agency seeking to block sale of mining company SQM to Chinese company

 |  March 12, 2018

The Chilean government has asked its antitrust authorities to block possible Chinese offers for a stake in major lithium producer SQM, since it would give the Asian giant a dominant position in the race for the development of electric vehicles.

The state agency Corfo, which manages the mining assets exploited by SQM, filed a complaint with the National Economic Prosecutor’s Office (FNE) to avoid a possible sale of the 32% stake that Canadian mining company Nutrien has in SQM to the Chinese company Tianqi Lithium. “These facts, should they materialize without the intervention of the FNE, could distort or tend to seriously distort the competitive health of the relevant market …”, stated the agency.

Together, Tianqi and SQM control about 70% of the global lithium market, according to the document. In addition to Tianqi, other Chinese firms submitted non-binding offers from SQM, said Eduardo Bitrán, head of Corfo, although he did not identify the companies.

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