Photo: Lithium batteries
The Bolivian and Dutch governments have reached agreement on the future installation of a lithium battery plant in the Andean nation and technology and knowledge transfers in that industry.
The accord was finalized in La Paz with the signing of a letter of intent Tuesday between Prince Jaime Bernardo of Bourbon-Parma, who works in the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and Bolivian Foreign Minister David Choquehuanca.
The “framework agreement” establishes bilateral cooperation in three areas and includes the delivery of a “master plan” for the future installation of a lithium-battery plant in the South American country, Bolivian state-owned mining company Comibol’s manager of evaporite resources, Luis Alberto Echazu, told the media.
The letter of intent also refers to the creation of scientific research labs and four-year training programs for Bolivian professionals at the Netherlands’ Delft University of Technology.
Bolivia’s largest lithium reserve is Salar de Uyuni, a dried-up salt lake in the southwestern province of Potosi, which borders Chile and Argentina. The world’s largest salt flat, the Salar spans more than 10,000 sq. kilometers (3,861 sq. miles).
President Evo Morales’ government has set up a semi-industrial plant there to produce potassium chloride and another pilot plant to make 40 tons per month of lithium carbonate, the main component of the rechargeable, lithium-ion batteries that power electronic devices such as laptop computers and cellphones, as well as electric vehicles.
Bolivian authorities have rejected various proposals for developing Uyuni’s lithium reserves submitted by would-be foreign partners, arguing that none of them has offered to “industrialize” the metal on Bolivian soil.