Lithium: the Bolivian’s grey gold
Some years ago, the geologists have discovered important reserves of lithium in Bolivia in the Uyuni desert salt. Quantity that, according the estimations, represents a half stock of the world, 5,4 million ton. With the increasing interest of the alternatives energies of the petrol, Bolivia is since discovering the center of much greediness.
The Bolivian government has decided negotiate with international groups.
Since 2008, date of the big quantity of lithium revelation in the Salar de Uyuni, the industrial offers and the official visits they are multiplicands. Those industries were looking for the lithium exploitation to transformer that in lithium carbonate, essential element for the production of the more resistant batteries that permit, for example, the development of the electric cars.
The bets are huge in a context of environment conscience taking and with the petrol rarefied.
Once, many experts get accord to say that South America, particularly Bolivia, could become as the New Middle East of lithium. Others experts have moderate their general enthusiasm, affirming that the reserves of lithium cannot be sufficient for the world demands.
Since 2008, they studying with attention the different offers, but Evo Morales always privileged the national exploitation as a solution. The doubts are in the capacity of the country, poorest of South America, to organize the exploitation and transformation of that precious metal. That’s the reason for the Comibol (Bolivian Miner Co.) has invested in 2008 more of 4 millions Euros in just one pilot plant in the border of the Salar de Uyuni. The first lithium carbonate sample was made in November 2009.
The question is today, to know if Bolivia is capable to make a rental industry production. Evo Morales might preserve in the popular voice.
The Bolivian State could have foreseeing an inversion of 237millions Euros for the construction of the first big plant. It’s already announced that the industry production of the ‘grey gold’ wait for its growing for 2013.
The resistance of Evo Morales in front of the foreign industries can be explain as a natural resources control of the country; for establish a better distribution of the earnings in favor of the native people.
The matter of the environment is totally real, because the Uyuni Salt constitute one of the Nature Wonder that sometimes we can see disappear or degrade for the lithium exploitation.
La Paz also is looking for solution about this matter, the less devastate manner for the rest of one of the most tourist points of the country.
If Bolivia wins its bet to the lithium industrialization and can reach the actual demand and the lithium price ascent, we can hope that it can help the decline economy of the country, but the way will be long!