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Chile’s Lithium Reserves: The Nationalization-Privatization Battle

Chile has embraced extractive industries as a tool for sustained economic growth, but this relationship does not come without controversy. At the beginning of this month, only one week after the government had announced the winner of its lithium contract, the concession had been scrapped and Sub-Secretary of Mining Pablo Wagner had resigned. Chile is the world’s biggest lithium producer, generating 30 percent of the world’s profits on the sale of raw lithium and sitting on an estimated 23 percent of global lithium reserves—second only to neighboring Bolivia.

Joy is Coming

In 1988, after nearly 17 years of a brutal military dictatorship that killed over three thousand and arrested or exiled tens of thousands more, Chile’s military regime, led by General Augusto Pinochet, called a referendum.

Protecting Chile’s Miners

Everything was looking so good when bUSiness CHILE reported on the state of mining safety in Chile last year: mining accidents had halved and the number of mine inspectors doubled in the first half of 2011. Another year on, however, and improvements seem to have stagnated while a debate over how to better protect mining workers is holding back new legislation.

Facing Chile’s Agricultural Emergency

Chile’s Agriculture Ministry has declared more than one third of the country in agricultural emergency due to drought. With dry conditions and growing competition for water resources playing havoc with fruit production in the central-northern part of the country, Chile’s farmers are calling for proactive solutions to the problem of water scarcity.

Bioequivalent Drugs: Worth the risk?

Santiago, Chile – August 2012 – as published in BUSiness Chile.  Chile’s pharmaceutical market is worth US$2 billion, but in recent years it has cost patients both their pesos and their trust. The government’s recent decision to certify bioequivalent drugs in Chile aims to increase access for consumers by providing an affordable alternative to branded products. […] Read more

Marijuana Debate Rages in Chile

It’s not just Olympic athletes who live in fear of a drug test ruining their career. Chilean politicians are being threatened with the revival of a bill that would remove politicians from public office if caught using illegal drugs. The legislative hype began last month when Chilean Senator Fulvio Rossi admitted in an interview with Chilean newspaper La Tercera that he smokes marijuana “two or three times a month”—a revelation that shocked his colleagues and delighted a nation of thousands of cannabis users.

‘Dictatorship’ Textbook Controversy

Listen to an interview I did in January 2012 with PRI’s The World based in Boston about Education Minister Harald Beyer’s decision to remove the words “military dictatorship” from children’s history syllabus in Chile.

Women forced to be ‘human coffins’

In a bungalow in suburban Santiago a heavily pregnant woman is lying on a bed of grass. Dressed in her nightgown her face is tranquil; a few beads of sweat gathering at her temples the only sign of a concealed distress. On closer inspection the greenery is arranged in ritualistic fashion, sticks of celery fanning out around the body of the woman like a halo, and as the camera pans down the expectant mother’s body a splash of red flashes across the screen.

International Workers’ Day in Chile

As a reporter for The Santiago Times for the four months in 2012, I had the opportunity of attending many of the marches and protests in the capital here in Chile. These are a few photos from May 1 which is International Workers’ Day worldwide. The march, a family event, started off peacefully but soon […] Read more

Constitutional change is possible, but it will take time, Chilean experts say.

Never has Chile’s population been so vocal about what it wants. Every day, in the country’s capital, in Aysén, and now up in Calama, social movements continue demanding their rights. Impeding these rights in every direction, critics say, is Chile’s political system. Shrouded within the very fabric of this system, lies the remains of Gen. Augusto Pinochet’s most infamous legacy: Chile’s 1980 Constitution.