University of Miami Inter-American Law Review


Technology has improved society, from bridging digital divides to increasing efficiency. To power technology, energy sources were traditionally derived from diminishing and exhaustible resources like fossil fuels. The renewable energy revolution emerged to balance the global demand for technology with its impact on natural resources. Lithium is a critical, non-renewable mineral that clean technology relies on. Essentially, lithium makes renewable energy possible. As the pillar for a fossil fuel-free yet technology-driven society, it is imperative to examine the sustainability and impacts of lithium mining.

This Note discusses the legal and socio-political frameworks shaping foreign direct investments in Chile’s lithium mining sector. Out of these frameworks arose a complex web of mining and investment doctrine affecting the rights of Chile’s indigenous people. As a global supplier of lithium, Chile’s indigenous communities—in the heart of the Atacama Desert—are shouldering the burden of renewable energy. This Note explores incorporating environmental, social, and governance (“ESG”) policies into Chile’s foreign direct investment regime and how ESG-driven policies can mitigate the social and environmental repercussions of lithium mining on Chile’s indigenous communities.