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Governance on lithium mining shareholdings: expanding Environment, Social and Governance (ESG) indicators to economic regulation and raw material politics


  • Emilio Soberón Bravo

    (University of Edinburgh)


‘Environment, Social and Governance’ (ESG) considerations have received increasing attention as components that inform responsible investments in mining and global material supply. In ESG, governance variables have been mostly regarded as internal firm structures and broad national institutional strength, neglecting closer observations on economic regulation and national raw material politics. Improved governance data to support ESG evaluations should include historical and current relations between public governance bodies and private-sector firms. This paper examines the role of competition regulation agencies in weighing out and mediating relations between the State and multinational private-sector mining firms to unpack components that affect governance in mining. It does so by commenting on empirical data of the purchase held in 2018 of SQM shares—the world’s second largest lithium raw materials supplier—by Tianqi Lithium—one of the largest lithium materials producers in China. The paper discusses the place of equity markets in politics of nation-making and economic regulation in mining. It argues that beyond internal corporate structures, the governance criteria in the ESG profile of mining companies are largely affected by domestic economic regulation maturity, domestic political geography histories of private equity and imageries of corporate shares and natural resources. Furthermore, this paper argues that the effective governance of lithium supply in Chile is affected by political tensions between economic regulation and contractual regimes in mining.

Suggested Citation

  • Emilio Soberón Bravo, 2023. "Governance on lithium mining shareholdings: expanding Environment, Social and Governance (ESG) indicators to economic regulation and raw material politics," Mineral Economics, Springer;Raw Materials Group (RMG);Luleå University of Technology, vol. 36(2), pages 333-347, June.
  • Handle: RePEc:spr:minecn:v:36:y:2023:i:2:d:10.1007_s13563-022-00358-8
    DOI: 10.1007/s13563-022-00358-8

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    References listed on IDEAS

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