Bolivia points to lithium as an economic driver

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This month of April, Bolivia and India signed agreements for the commercialization of the material

Bolivia points to lithium as an economic driver

Lithium is a chemical element for industrial use that is used as the main component to power cell phones and electric vehicles, among others. For its part, Bolivia is the country with the largest deposits of lithium in the world with almost 21 million tons in the city of Uyuni. For this reason, the energy minister, Rafael Alarcón, announced last month that this year's budget for the electricity sector, lithium industrialization and research and nuclear medicine programs will be approximately USD 1,000 million.

Leer en español: Bolivia le apunta al litio como motor económico

In this regard, Telesur reported that "the National Electricity Company will invest more than US $ 651 million, the Electricity Program to Live with Dignity US $ 4 million and between the Bolivian Lithium Deposits and the Bolivian Nuclear Energy Agency, US $ 373 millions". Money that will come from the same entities, as well as from the Central Bank of Bolivia (BCB), from external credits of financial institutions and from the General Treasury of the Nation (TGN). With this, an increase in the country's electric power of 1,000 MW is expected for this year.

Likewise, plans were announced for the construction of 41 new lithium plants in the country and the start of operations of the Center for Research and Development in Nuclear Technology (CIDTN) located in the city of El Alto, which will be inaugurated in September of this year. year.

India shows interest

Because of the growing supply of lithium in Bolivia, this month, President Evo Morales, together with his Indian counterpart, Ram Nath Kovind, signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for the development and industrial use of lithium.

According to a statement from Morales for The Economic Times, "both countries agreed to forge a mutually beneficial partnership to facilitate supplies of lithium carbonate to India and encourage joint ventures for lithium battery and cell production plants in India". Thus, Bolivia will become one of the largest facilitators of e-mobility and storage in India.

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Likewise, it is foreseen the establishment of agreements for the commercialization of lithium carbonate and potassium chloride produced in Bolivia, as well as a visit of the delegation of the National Mission of Transformative Mobility and Battery Storage from India to Bolivia to follow up and promote a new cooperation in the field of solutions for the storage of batteries.

Chile joins the race for lithium

For its part, Chile, another large lithium producer in Latin America, began to expand its production last year by resolving a dispute between the Chilean Development Agency (CORFO) and the main lithium production company (SQM). Thus, the company agreed to supply lithium to the country at a favorable price, subject to which the head of Corfo, Sebastian Sichel, said that on April 5 began receiving proposals for the tender that will be closed in November.


LatinAmerican Post | Sofía Carreño

Copy edited by Juliana Suárez