Bolivia selects Germany to mine huge lithium deposit


Bolivia’s state-owned lithium minier Yacimientos de Litio Bolivianos (YLB) has selected the German company ACI Systems as a strategic partner to industrialise the lithium deposit of Salar de Uyuni, the country’s vast salt lake. This bears its own problems for extraction.

Initially, the Bolivian state-owned company had invited eight international consortia to help with the industrialisation phase, before deciding on the German service providers. Now, ACI Systems will help Yacimientos de Litio Bolivianos with “extracting and producing raw materials from residual brine, developing production capacities, as well as manufacturing and marketing cathode material and battery systems in Bolivia.”

By entering the partnership, this will also provide access to the sought-after material for the Germans. “The decision in favour of ACI Systems is therefore also of strategic importance to Germany and Europe.” Other factors included in the decision-making process included environmental factors, such as energy sourcing, as well as the expertise to deal with the by-products of the process.

The next step in the cooperation will see YLB and ACI found a public-private joint venture in Bolivia, where the Bolivians will hold 51 percent of the company. The joint venture will deal with a number of tasks, such as: “to clearly define the areas of activity, as well as to draw up detailed business and environmental plans for the subsequently – founded project companies for extracting and processing lithium. The differentiated conception of the technical and economic implementation of the project also falls within the company’s common field of activity.”

While the tasks will be addressed in a cooperative and joint manner, the Germans will be responsible for the final choice of tech and implementation partners, up until the construction of production lines to “ensure innovative, efficient and sustainable production.”


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