With our correspondent in Bolivia, Nils Sabin
By signing two agreements, one with a Russian company, and the other with a Chinese group, Bolivia wants to increase its lithium production. These two contracts provide nearly $1.5 billion in investment for the construction of two lithium mines.
The government’s goal is for each mine to produce 25,000 tons of the precious metal annually, within two years. These announcements were met with skepticism by Gonzalo Mundaka, a researcher who specializes in lithium mining in Bolivia.
” In general, the ads leave a lot of uncertainty, because the content of the agreements is not public. Deadlines are very short and we don’t know what is the equivalent of these large investments. “, It is to explain.
Produce 60 times less than in Chile
This does Almost fifteen years Bolivia is seeking to extract the lithium found in its soil, however, in 2022 the country extracted only 600 tons. That’s 60 times less than that Chilean neighborthe leading regional producer.
” The crucial point is that it is the foreign companies that install the infrastructure, but it is the Bolivian state that manages the production and unfortunately it has a bad record in this area. Gonzalo Mundaka continues.
The construction sites of the two mines shall begin within three months, one in the Bastos Grands pay and the other in the immense pay of Uyuni.
Earlier this year, Bolivia had already signed a lithium mining contract with another Chinese conglomerate.