Chilean President Gabriel Boric selected Aurora Williams as his new mining minister on Wednesday, amid a cabinet change in the world’s largest copper producing nation as the administration seeks to implement important reforms.
Williams, who will succeed Marcela Hernando, served in the same capacity during previous President Michelle Bachelet’s government from 2014 to 2018.
“I invite the ministers to consolidate our national lithium policy and to continue to maintain Chile’s global mining leadership,” Boric said in a ceremony, highlighting its role in reducing poverty and inequality.
“I would have liked this cabinet change to take place in a different political climate,” he added, calling on political parties to resume talks over the progression of proposed tax and pension reforms.
Chile’s mining sector is seeing a dramatic overhaul since the government announced a plan in April to boost state control on the country’s vast lithium reserves, seen as key to the transition away from fossil fuels.
Boric has suffered major legislative defeats in Congress, though his lithium reform largely does not require legislative approval. Talks with private lithium miners are set to be led by state miner Codelco.
Codelco has meanwhile faced months of declining copper output and warned that this year’s output should be lower than expected, following a series of weather and operational problems.