Bolivia bets on lithium
22 July, 2017
The Bolivian government aims to pump massive investments to expand the country's production of lithium, a metal needed for the batteries that power almost everything, news wires reported. Bolivian President Evo Morales sees a prosperous future for his impoverished nation, pinning his hopes on the rapid rise in the global price of this valuable resource. “We will develop a huge lithium industry, over $800 million have already been made available,” he told the DPA news agency.
Lithium, the lightest of all metals, is the key ingredient in lithium-ion batteries, which are currently the best available technology for powering a range of products, including mobile phones and e-cars. Lithium-ion battery production is forecast to double to eight billion cells by 2025. And the world price for lithium carbonate has almost doubled in a short span of time to about $13,000 per tonne.
Salt flats in the highlands of Bolivia are thought to hold millions of tonnes of untapped lithium reserves. According to the US Geological Survey, the Salar de Uyuni salt flats in the country alone contain 9 million tonnes of lithium, over a quarter of the world's known reserves. In total, Bolivia is estimated to possess about half of the world's lithium.