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Albemarle says it regrets Chile's call for arbitration over lithium royalties

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By Fabian Cambero

SANTIAGO, Feb 22 (Reuters) - Albemarle Corp, theworld's largest lithium producer, said on Monday it regrettedChile's decision to initiate international arbitration over thealleged underpayment by the U.S. company of royalties on itssales.

State development agency Corfo filed before theInternational Chamber of Commerce (ICC) on Friday, claiming thataround $15 million of $60 million in royalties were outstandingfor 2020.

Albemarle said CORFO could have used existing mechanisms inthe contract to resolve the dispute.

"We regret that CORFO has insisted on this arbitrationprocess, which will imply time and costs for the country, eventhough there is a clause in the same contract for the solutionof these issues," the firm said in a statement sent to Reuters.

"We reaffirm that we have fulfilled all our contractualobligations with the State of Chile, including the payment ofthe corresponding commissions."

Albemarle said it would continue operations in Chile, whereit operates in the coveted Salar de Atacama, pending the outcomeof the litigation.

(Reporting by Fabian Cambero in Santiago, Writing by AislinnLaingEditing by Matthew Lewis)