23/01/2018 Economy

Germany takes advantage to industrialize the lithium of Bolivia, which has the largest reserves in the world

Germany leads other countries that aspire to win the construction of a plant to industrialize Bolivia's lithium, informed the country's president, Evo Morales.


ARCHIVE. 08/03/2017. Bolivian President, Evo Morales, in the start-up of the cathode material pilot plant in Yocalla de Potosí. ABI/LANA


Bolivia has the world's largest reserves of lithium, the mineral used to make the batteries of electric cars and which is called to be the 'oil' of the future.

The president referred to this project, pending for years, during the management report presented to the Parliament in commemoration of the Day of the Plurinational State of Bolivia, which recalls his coming to power in 2006.

Morales said that Bolivia has "many proposals from China, Russia, the United States, Europe" to make the leap to a next stage in the industrialization of lithium, after a smaller production in pilot plants that his Government launched.



ARCHIVE. 08/03/2017. Bolivian President, Evo Morales, in the start-up of the cathode material pilot plant in Yocalla de Potosí. ABI/LANA

"According to the technical team, the most advanced and most advantageous for Bolivia would be Germany, this year we are going to define with what international company we will guarantee investment for the productive chain of lithium and related products," he said.

Bolivia has been working for several years on a state project with the aim of producing its own lithium batteries in the Uyuni salt flat, where the world's largest mineral reserves are located.

This salt, also one of the main Bolivian tourist attractions, is the dissected bottom of an ancient sea, which extends over 10,000 square kilometers in the Andean region of Potosí (southwest) and which makes it the largest in the world at higher altitudes. , at about 3,600 meters of altitude.

In his report, Morales indicated that between 2013 and 2017 the State invested 66.1 million dollars in four pilot plants of potassium chloride, lithium carbonate, assembly of batteries and cathode materials, installed in different parts of Potosí.

Last year, these plants produced 2,800 tons of potassium salts, 65 tons of lithium carbonate, 2,084 batteries and 22.32 kilos of cathode materials, the governor said.

The challenge that has been raised by the Bolivian Executive is the start-up of plants for the production on an industrial scale of these lithium derivatives.

In Uyuni, an industrial potassium chloride plant is being built, which will have a production capacity of 450,000 tons per year and is expected to start operating next August, Morales said.

He also indicated that an investment of 100 million dollars is planned to build the lithium carbonate industrial plant, with a capacity of 15,000 tons per year. The industrialization of lithium is an objective pursued by the Morales government since 2008.