A group of Chilean indigenous communities asked the authorities to suspend SQM’s operating permits. SQM is short for Soquimich, the world’s second-biggest lithium producer. SQM is operating in the Atacama desert.
The Atacama desert supplies nearly one-quarter of the world’s lithium. The two biggest lithium producers operate here: The SQM and its competitor, Albermarle.
The indigenous council requested suspension for SQM or reduction of its operation until it submits environmental compliance. They are concerned with the ecosystem in Atacama that is in danger due to SQM’s operation: the extraction of brine and fresh water from the Atacama.