Bolivia Plans $300M Investment in Lithium Carbonate Plant

The plant will produce up to 30,000 tonnes of lithium carbonate a year.

Published: 01-Oct-2009

AZ - Bolivia has decided to invest up to $400 million in a plant to produce lithium carbonate at the vast Uyuni salt lake, believed to be one of the world's largest lithium deposits, its Mining Ministry said.

Bolivia has around 50 percent of the world's lithium deposits, about 5.4 million tonnes, but -- unlike neighboring Chile and Argentina, which also hold vast reserves -- it does not exploit the metal.

Lithium carbonate is the main component of the rechargeable batteries that power laptop computers, cell phones and digital cameras and demand for the metal could soar if carmakers raise production of hybrid cars or start manufacturing electric vehicles on a large scale.

"The industrial plant to produce lithium carbonate ... will be built by the (Bolivian) state, by itself, without partners," the government's mining director, Freddy Beltran, told Reuters on Tuesday evening. He said Bolivia could start producing lithium carbonate on a large scale by 2014.


Renault Nissan Alliance CEO Carlos Ghosn poses with Renault ZE electric concept car

Industry executives acknowledge that uncertainties linger over the batteries needed to power them.

Aptera Typ-1 electric car would use 10kWh battery pack.

Just one mine has enough lithium carbonate to produce the cells for almost 800 million 10kWh (Aptera-sized) battery packs. Pictured is Aptera Typ1.

BMW 7 Series ActiveHybrid

The joint ohnson Controls-Saft venture will manufacture the lithium on batteries at their factory in Nersac, France.


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