Bolivian Gov't Aims to Become Global Kingpin of Lithium
Source: Mineweb, Dorothy Kosich (6/16/09)
". . .the country wants to exploit lithium in a sovereign manner. . ."
Beltran told the newspaper La Razon the country wants to exploit lithium in a sovereign manner, using its own technology and its own resources. President Evo Morales has stressed on several occasions that he will demand the government have a majority participation in the income from lithium extraction.
However, Beltran noted, "We need the technology to manufacture batteries and we are light years behind in that. That's why we need a partner."
The Bolivian government built a small pilot plant to produce lithium carbonate in small quantities, in order to gain experience in order to later enter a phase of industrializing the metal.
A delegation of executives from Sumitomo and Mitsubishi has reportedly promised Bolivian government officials that Japanese mining technology will be shared with Bolivia. Japan's expertise is believed to be a solution to extracting the lithium under Salar de Unyuni, which is considered to be the lithium equivalent of Saudi oil reserves.