(Bloomberg) -- Chile said it’s attracting dozens of prospective private-sector partners in its bid to tap more of the world’s biggest lithium reserves, even as prices slump amid a slowing electric-vehicle boom. 

Authorities received 88 proposals from 54 different companies from around the globe for new exploration and extraction contracts, Chile’s Finance Minister Mario Marcel said Tuesday at a conference in Santiago. Separately, state-owned Codelco expects to receive initial offers within 90 days from partners looking to join its Maricunga lithium project, Chairman Maximo Pacheco said at the same event. That bidding process is being run by Rothschild.

The interest comes at a time when lithium has tumbled from record highs. Chile is betting on investors taking a long-term view on the strength of EV demand as the US and Europe attempt to loosen China’s grip on global supply chains.

In addition to the separate bidding processes, a Chilean delegation also met with executives from BMW AG as part of a recent European tour led by President Gabriel Boric, Pacheco said. The German automaker needs lithium and copper to be competitive in the EV market, he told reporters. Codelco will also participate in talks with visiting Saudi Arabian officials late next month, which will cover both lithium and copper, he said. BMW didn’t immediately reply to a request for comment.

Boric’s administration is using a public-private model to open up new areas for lithium mining in a country that’s seen its share of the global market shrink in recent years due to tight restrictions. To be sure, for all but two areas, private firms can seek operational control.

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