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Chile claims Albemarle violated 2016 contract, seeks international arbitration

The Chilean government said it will seek international arbitration over Albemarle Corp.'s alleged failure to fulfill the terms of a contract under which the company had to provide up to 25% of its annual lithium production to battery metal producers in Chile, Reuters reported Oct. 18.

State development agency Corfo said Albermarle violated the contract, entered in 2016, by failing to make a "serious" offer to the companies, and it will refer the dispute to the International Chamber of Commerce in Paris. The obligation to offer lithium at a discount is Corfo's way of encouraging the development of the value-added lithium products sector in Chile.

Albemarle claimed there was a "substantial difference" between the contractual agreement and Corfo's current demands, adding that it was confident about its position in the case.

Earlier this month, the Chilean Nuclear Energy Commission refused to lift Albemarle's lithium production quota, saying the information the company provided was insufficient to justify the increase.