Chile’s president says mining sector tax reform up for debate

By Thomson Reuters Aug 30, 2022 | 11:47 PM

By Fabian Cambero

SANTIAGO (Reuters) – Chilean President Gabriel Boric said in a speech late Tuesday that any changes in the country’s tax law that would affect the mining sector are still up for discussion, with a vote scheduled in Congress in coming weeks.

Boric said the industry had been historically unwilling to reach agreements with the government, and he hoped to have a “technically sound debate” regarding a mining tax reform plan currently on the table.

The head of national mining society Sonami, Diego Hernandez, said earlier Tuesday the sector had not been listened to while the country’s tax reform was being drafted, and the government’s proposals were “extreme and dogmatic”.

Hernandez said a proposed royalty would put mining operations with higher costs at risk, and he hoped talks would lead to reform that gave equal weight to tax collection and “the future viability of the sector.”

He also hoped a pending constitutional reform, separate from the tax proposal, would favor economic development in Chile, the world’s top copper producer and second-largest produce of lithium.

The constitutional debate and additional proposals affecting mining have generated uncertainty in the sector in recent months.

Hernandez said he hoped the final reform would be clear enough for miners to feel confident pouring in an estimated $80 billion into the country over the next few years.

(Reporting by Fabian Cambrero; Writing by Carolina Pulice; Editing by Richard Pullin)