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Chinese company plans to exploit a massive lithium deposit in Bolivia

Chinese company plans to exploit a massive lithium deposit in Bolivia

Catl, a massive Chinese battery business, has won a bidding procedure to develop Bolivia’s massive lithium reserves.

The ultra-light metal is used in EV batteries, the manufacturing of which is predicted to skyrocket as fossil fuels are phased out.

Bolivian President Luis Arce stated that the Catl-led partnership was initiating a “historic” lithium industrialization in Bolivia.

The first phase of the project will cost more than $1 billion (£807 million), he claimed.

The world’s largest lithium producers are Australia and Chile, but Bolivia has massive reserves in the Potosi and Oruro salt flats.

Technical challenges and a lack of infrastructure have long stymied lithium extraction in Bolivia, where deposits are estimated to be 21 million tons.

Mr. Arce stated that Bolivia was still in talks with other foreign corporations about potential agreements. According to Reuters, they include the US business Lilac Solutions, Russia’s Uranium One Group, and three additional Chinese bidders.

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Mr. Arce stated that the company’s goal was to begin exporting lithium batteries in the first quarter of 2025.

Argentina, Bolivia, and Chile share a stretch of salt flats known as the “lithium triangle,” which contains more than 75% of the world’s lithium reserves.

Brine is pumped from beneath the salt flats into large evaporation pools, resulting in the formation of lithium carbonate. However, the technological limitations of lithium mining have prompted concerns in South America and other parts of the world about contamination and commercial viability.

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