Japanese Firms Propose Bolivian Lithium Mining JV

Mitsubishi Corp. and Sumitomo Corp. face competition from a French group made up of Bollore SA and Eramet SA.

Published: 15-May-2009

LA PAZ -- Mitsubishi Corp. and Sumitomo Corp. are proposing a joint venture to mine the world’s largest lithium deposit, Bolivia’s mining minister said.

The Japanese companies, which previously submitted separate proposals to the Bolivian government, are seeking to work together to mine the untapped resource, Mining Minister Luis Alberto Echazu said yesterday in an interview in La Paz. Lithium is used to make batteries.

The companies face competition from a French group made up of Bollore SA and Eramet SA, which last month presented a proposal to President Evo Morales. The government is requiring that offers include a commitment to manufacture batteries in Bolivia, a condition both groups accept, Echazu said.

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