Skip to comments.Bolivia has lithium, and the president intends to make world pay for it
Posted on 02/12/2009 11:01:04 PM PST by neverdem
UYUNI, Bolivia: In the rush to build the next generation of hybrid or electric cars, a sobering fact confronts both automakers and governments seeking to lower their reliance on foreign oil: almost half of the world's lithium, the mineral needed to power the vehicles, is found here in Bolivia - a country that may not be willing to surrender it so easily.
Japanese and European companies are busily trying to strike deals to tap the resource, but a nationalist sentiment is building quickly in the government of President Evo Morales, an ardent critic of the United States who has already nationalized Bolivia's oil and natural gas industries.
For now, the government talks of closely controlling the lithium itself and keeping foreigners at bay. Adding to the pressure, indigenous groups here in the remote salt desert where the mineral lies are pushing for a share in the eventual bounty.
"We know that Bolivia can become the Saudi Arabia of lithium," said Francisco Quisbert, 64, the leader of Frutcas, a group of salt gatherers and quinoa farmers on the edge of Salar de Uyuni, the largest salt flat in the world. "We are poor, but we are not stupid peasants," he said. "The lithium may be Bolivia's, but it is also our property."
The new Constitution that Morales managed to pass handily last month bolsters such claims. One of its provisions could give Indians control over the natural resources in their territory, strengthening their ability to win concessions from the authorities and private companies, or even block mining projects.
None of this is dampening efforts by foreigners, including the Japanese conglomerates Mitsubishi and Sumitomo and a group led by a French industrialist, Vincent Bolloré. In recent months all three have sent representatives to La Paz, the capital, to meet with Morales's government...
(Excerpt) Read more at iht.com ...
Ahmadinejad + Chavez’s dirty hands are all over Bolivia...
The US has incredible stocks of lithium. Southern California including San Diego and Riverside immediately come to mind.
I’m talking about real lithium in the ground, in granitic rocks.
Maine also. New Mexico also. I can keep going.
We should trade them some shiny beads for their lithium. Maybe throw in $24 or so, also.
The costs of hard-rock extraction means that our reserves are actually far less than Bolivia's.
Protectionist!!! Dirty nationalist protectionist. They should be like America and sell their resources to (insert foreign country name here)
this story is crap.
lithium is everywhere, it is left over from the big bang.
the CURRENT source of lithium, might be Bolivia,
but potentially there are many others
Skip the whole business of Lithium and get fuel cells working. Morales can eat his lithium. Maybe put more of it in their drinking water.
Don’t worry, Zero will immediately cancel all mining rights, past, present or future for lithium bearing areas on the grounds of preserving as yet undiscovered, but nonetheless endangered species.
He will then propose a new Stimulus/Energy Research Bill to end our dependence on foreign lithium.
“The costs of hard-rock extraction means that our reserves are actually far less than Bolivia’s.”
And driving up the price will make US extraction profitable.
Not accurate. The Nuremberg Law-like provisions give Indians control over all resources in Bolivia, including the gas and oil in the largely European Santa Cruz region.
Another few decades like the one we are suffering through now and it's the Bolivians who will be offering us shiny beads and 24 bucks....
Bolivia is land locked. Why would they have off shore gas reserves? Let them them sell lithium at fair market value.
But...but...but...protectionism is OK (to the Globalist crowd) as long as it is not America protecting its valuable resources....
Lithium is also a key ingredient in Thermonuclear warheads. The “Hydrogen” in hydrogen bombs comes from a little known compound called Lithium deuteride.
Free trade means having the freedom to trade Americas, jobs, resources and welfare to countries that have no interest in recciprocating in a fair manner.
It’s the GOP’s version of the”I’z gotz to getz mine!” mentatlity.
If Morales has all this lithium, shouldn’t he be calm about the situation?
I'ts nice to see the Bolivians make something other than wool and cocaine. As for their current regime, I'm not sure its an improvement over the Incas.