Not much action of the SP these days so checking the BB every once and a while is now the highlight of following the company. With todays emphisys on electric cars and the development of the Li polymer batteries secure supplies will have to be developed. We should all encourage the Bolivian government to maintain control of the Salar de Uyuni reserves. God bless socialism.
Morales government invests $5.7m in Bolivian lithium pilot plant
The future of the electric car could depend on the lithium production generated from what is said to be the world’s largest lithium reserve in Bolivia’s Salar de Uyuni. The government is to fund a state-owned pilot project.Author: Dorothy Kosich
Posted: Wednesday , 19 Nov 2008
RENO, NV -
Bolivian President Evo Morales is backing the construction of a state-owned pilot plant in the world's largest lithium reserve in the world's largest salt flat, Salar de Uyuni in the southern Andes.
Official Bolivian state news agency ABI said both Mitsubishi and French battery manufacturer Bolloré have shown an interest in the lithium, and have proposed to Morales an industrial and technical collaboration.
Mitsubishi, which plans to manufacture its own electric car model, estimates that the demand for lithium will surpass supply in less than 10 years unless new supplies are found. In a recent interview with the BBC, Mitsubishi's General Manager for La Paz, Eichi Maeyama said 50% of the world's lithium reserves exist in Bolivia.
However, the BBC reports that small, independent miners and local activists are encouraging Morales to keep foreign companies away from the lithium reserve. On November 9, Morales proposed a state-owned pilot plant in which his government has invested US$5.7 million.
Project Manager Marcelo Castro told the Spanish language EFE News Service that the project timetable anticipates production of the first 40 metric tons of carbonate of lithium by November 2009. Bolivia hopes to produce 30 kilotonnes by 2012. Castro said the carbonate of lithium will be obtained from the brine, and then processed through laboratories now being designed.
Bolivian Mining Minister Luis Alberto Echazú said the production chain of exploitation of this natural resource will take time, but is expected to produce metallic lithium, chloride and carbonate of lithium.
Lithium is used in primary and rechargeable batteries, as well as as a chemical reagent.