#Chinese firm #CATL to develop huge #Bolivian #Lithium deposit
A giant Chinese battery company, Catl, has won a bidding process to develop Bolivia’s huge lithium reserves.
The ultra-light metal is used in electric vehicle (EV) batteries, production of which is expected to soar as fossil fuels are phased out.
Bolivian President Luis Arce said the Catl-led consortium was launching the “historic” industrialisation of lithium in Bolivia.
More than $1bn (£807m) will be invested in the project’s first phase, he said.
Australia and Chile are the world’s biggest lithium producers, but Bolivia has huge reserves in the Potosi and Oruro salt flats.
Technical hurdles and a lack of infrastructure have long delayed the extraction of lithium in Bolivia, whose reserves are estimated at 21m tonnes.