CATL Wins Bid to Develop Bolivia’s Lithium

China Amperex Technology Technology (CATL) led consortium which won the bid for a #lithium mine in Bolivia. The CBC Consortium also includes Bolivian companies owning the Uyuni and Oruro salt flats.

The Consortium had won the right to produce 25,000 tonnes of lithium carbonate from each location, adding up to a total of 50,000 tonnes annually.

According to the US Geological Survey report, Bolivia’s salt flats are home to one of the world’s largest lithium reserves estimated at 21 million tonnes. Argentina, Bolivia and Chile are dubbed the “lithium triangle” since they have vast expanses of salt flats making up nearly 75% of the world’s deposits.

The extraction process of lithium from salt solution is rather simple. Brine is simply pumped from underground and left to evaporate in vast shallow pools, leaving behind lithium carbonate.

In March 2022, lithium carbonate price exceeded the USD 75,000 per tonne while lithium hydroxide price was above USD 65,000 per tonne compared to only USD 14,500 per tonne five years ago. Due to the accelerated #GreenTransition and in a bid to reduce emissions to fight #ClimateChange, production of #EV is expected to experience robust growth in the next few decades.

“Today marks the historic industrialisation of lithium in Bolivia.”

Bolivian President Luis Arce

In a statement on Friday 20 January 2022, Bolivian President Luis Arce highlighted that the in the first phase, the CBC Consortium will inject more than USD one billion of #FDI into the economy. In addition to developing the Lithium mine, the Consortium will develop needed infrastructure such as roads, power plants and refineries. Bolivia will initially produce lithium cathodes and eventually put out lithium batteries.