SMM, Jan. 11: Chilean environmental regulators on Monday approved a $25 million compliance plan for SQM SA, a top lithium producer, ending a years of investigation by Chilean authorities that found the miner had overdrawn lithium-rich salt water from the Atacama salt plant.
As part of the plan, SQM submitted four plans within two years, and the company also promised to reduce the amount of salt water it draws to make up for violations.
SQM did not immediately respond to the comments.
Atacama, home to top lithium producers SQM and Albemarle, supplies more than 1/3 of the world's ultra-light metals, a key ingredient in electric car batteries.
Tensions have broken out in remote parts of northern Chile as surging demand for lithium has forced so-called platinum producers to compete with huge copper mines, booming tourism and local communities for scarce water resources.