Bolivia to produce lithium carbonate this year: Morales
FOCUS News Agency, April 19, 2011
Bolivia will produce lithium carbonate for the first time this year, President Evo Morales said Tuesday, a sign his country is making economic strides thanks to its key reserves of the mineral used in electric car batteries, AFP reports.
Bolivia has an estimated 70 percent of the world’s reserves of the mineral also used in industrial ceramics and pharmaceuticals. It is most prominently used at the moment however in electric car batteries.
“This year we are going to have lithium carbonate already, and the most important thing is that that is a first step toward industrialization,” Morales, a leftist who leads South America’s poorest nation, said in Uyuni next to the salt flats where the mineral is present.
Morales is keen on having Bolivia actually produce batteries but there has been no agreement ironed out on that at this stage; it would require major capital input from an international partner, something Morales is courting.
Bolivia estimates that south of the salt flats there are 100 million metric tonnes of the mineral.
Lithium is widely used in rechargeable batteries for laptops, mobile phones and electric cars.