The Bolivian government announced on Monday that it expects to build at least two direct lithium extraction plants (EDL) with a capacity to process 25,000 metric tons per year each.
The Minister of Hydrocarbons and Energy, franklin molinapointed out that these industries “will be strategically located” in the Bolivian salt flats, according to a press release from that institution.
According to Molina, the state-owned Yacimientos de Lithium Bolivianos (YLB) “will supervise the construction of these projects” and then its own staff will be in charge of the operation and maintenance of these industries “through technology transfer.”
This “ratifies Bolivia’s position of putting respect before its sovereignty for the industrialization of the lithium”, he indicated.
He also recalled that an industrial carbonate plant is under construction. lithium which will produce 15,000 metric tons per year, work with an advance of more than 90% and whose start of operations is scheduled for the beginning of 2023.
With these three projects, YLB expects to reach 2025, the year in which Bolivia will celebrate the bicentennial of its independence, with an average annual production of 40,000 metric tons of carbonate. lithiuma volume that “will gradually increase,” says the statement.
According to the same source, the marketing of this volume of carbonate of lithium At current prices in the international market, it would generate income of some 2,000 million dollars for Bolivia.
For this reason, Molina considered that YLB will be a “fundamental pillar” for the national economy through the industrialization of the lithium towards the bicentennial of Bolivia.
Bolivia has reserves of 21 million tons of lithiumone of the largest in the world, most of it in the Uyuni salt flat in the Andean region of Potosí, and to a lesser extent in the Pastos Grandes deposits, also from Potosí, and Coipasa, shared between the Bolivian department of Oruro and Chili.
The industrialization of lithium It is an objective that was first pursued by the Government of Evo Morales since 2008 and now the Executive of Luis Arce seeks to give it a new impetus.
The country already has plants for the industrialization of salts and potassium chloride and a pilot plant for carbonate of lithium.
In 2021, the Government of Arce began a process for foreign companies to test their EDL technologies in Bolivian brines.
Six firms approved this pilot phase last June and meetings were announced between the authorities and these companies to propose the conditions under which they could work with YLB and apply these techniques in the Bolivian salt flats.
With information from the EFE Agency.