SMM: the Chilean government ruled out the possibility of privatizing Codelco, the world's largest copper producer and state-owned mining giant, on Wednesday. Earlier, a small group of lawmakers proposed to sell the company to raise money in response to the coronavirus epidemic.
An internal document belonging to the far-right Independent Democratic Alliance (UDI), leaked to Chilean media on Tuesday, suggested the sale of Codelco as part of a series of measures to raise money for Chile's dwindling state coffers as the epidemic spreads.
Mining Minister Baldo Prokurica said: "in response to the statements made by some representatives who proposed that Codelco be privatized, I would like to emphasize that this is not part of the plan of the government of President (Sebasti á n) Piera."
"even in the special circumstances caused by the epidemic," Prokurica said in a statement. I also completely rule out any possibility of taking the initiative in this matter. "
(FTC), the copper workers' union, also rejected the proposal on Tuesday, saying it would bring Codelco to a standstill before accepting any attempt to take it private.
Chile often squabbles over the privatisation of Codelco, but the company still turns over all its profits to the government.
The UDI internal document stresses that the company was nationalized by Socialist President Salvador Allende in 1971 and had a market capitalization of about $50.5 billion in 2014.
"the privatization of the company will bring considerable income to the country, which can be used for social welfare," the document said. In addition, privatization can continue to generate revenue for the State through taxation and royalties. "
Since the outbreak of the coronavirus in March this year, the Chilean Government has announced a series of social measures to support Chile's poor and working class, which cost about 12 per cent of GDP.
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