Bolivia Plans $300M Investment in Lithium Carbonate Plant
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.
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