Chile: White gold rush

Electric vehicles need lithium, and Chile has plenty. But can its bold new government exploit this valuable mineral equitably, asks Thea Riofrancos

The World Today Published 27 May 2022 3 minute READ

Thea Riofrancos

Associate Professor of Political Science, Providence College, Rhode Island, USA

Chile is in the midst of a historic re-writing of its constitution, one of the key demands of a social uprising that shook the country in 2019. Yet the delegates debating its articles in a neoclassical building in Santiago this April were not only shaping the future of Chile, but arguably of the planet. 

On the plenary floor a member of the constitutional convention’s Committee on Environment, Rights of Nature, Natural Commons and the Economic Model asserted the development of the mining sector should be led by the state, guided by social, democratic and ecological criteria, with extraction excluded from protected natural areas. 

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