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Chilean man known as $3.5 billion "King of Lithium" now faces government threat

Few people are better positioned for the electric-vehicle revolution than the Chilean billionaire Julio Ponce Lerou, and his past political ties. And he has never been richer: The shareholder group he leads has seen its approximately 25% stake in SQM, the world’s No. 2 lithium miner, quintuple over the past seven years amid record profit, increasing the value of the portion he owns to $3.5 billion. New scrutiny could threaten his recent windfall. The current Chilean government supports a constitutional rewrite that may impose environmental curbs on mining and wants to create a national lithium company that could compete with SQM, which sits on the planet’s richest deposit. Writers of a new charter want to tip the balance back toward community rights, environmental protection and state-run social services, with a greater say for indigenous groups in where and how natural resources including lithium are extracted. One of the members of Chile’s constitutional convention says the current charter fails to recognize the Atacama salt flats - and their pink flamingos - as ecosystems that are affected when large volumes of brine are pumped for lithium extraction. Click to read much more, article by Bloomberg.


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“Nothing in life is to be feared, it is only to be understood. Now is the time to understand more, so that we may fear less.”

“I am among those who think that science has great beauty”

Madame Marie Curie (1867 - 1934) Chemist & physicist. French, born Polish.

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