Last Updated: 2012-07-31
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SANTIAGO DE CHILE, July 31 (NNN-PRENSA LATINA) - Local experts are warning against the damaging consequences in privatising lithium, a strategic resource for which Chile, along with Bolivia and Argentina, owns 80 percent of the world´s reserves.

The Deputy Chairman of the State National Copper Corporation Federation of Unions of Supervisors and Professionals (Codelco), Pablo Fernandez said the government was making a mistake by promoting lithium privatisation, considered to be the oil of the future.

In June, the government began selling the bases for bidding on lithium, through Special Contracts of Operation which were available until July 30.

Lithium should be controlled by the State in order to finance the country´s main demands in education, health and housing and increase the quality of life of Chileans, Fernandez said.

Meanwhile Chilean Economist Julian Alcayaga said the exploitation and exportation of lithium as a raw material should be authorised under any pretext.

Lithium, abundant in the northern desert of Atacama, is used in the pharmaceutical industry, in cell phone batteries, laptops and digital cameras among others.

Chile is the world´s largest producer of lithium with 41 percent, followed by Australia, China and Argentina. -- NNN-PRENSA LATINA