Bolivia signs $2.3b deal with Chinese company to industrialize lithium

LIMA – Bolivia has selected the Chinese company Xinjiang Tbea Group as a “strategic partner” for the implementation of several of the lithium industrialization projects in which it is expected to invest US$ 2.3 billion.

A statement from the state Bolivian Lithium Deposits (YLB) indicated that “a strategic partner selection process has been completed” in which the Asian firm was chosen in partnership with América Baocheng Desarrollo y Tecnología del Salar, formed in Bolivia.

In addition, YLB indicated that this Wednesday a document was signed in the Bolivian city of Oruro to “establish the preliminary conditions” for a strategic cooperation between YLB, Xinjiang Tbea Group, and América Baocheng for the “financing and implementation” of lithium projects.

The investment calculated for the “potential projects” that will be executed in the Coipasa salt pans in Oruro and Pastos Grandes in Potosí is about US $ 2,300 million, the statement said. The resources will be allocated to the construction of at least eight plants specialized in the production chain of lithium, such as those of potassium sulfate, lithium hydroxide, sodium bromide and lithium carbonate, among others, notes the institutional note.

The disbursements of the indicated capital “are subject to confirmation” once the feasibility studies of the projects are known, he said. The Coipasa and Pastos Grandes salt flats are close to that of Uyuni, considered the largest continuously rising salt desert in the world, with some 10,570 square kilometers at an altitude of 3,600 meters.

Chinese miner Tianqi closes $4 billion lithium deal in Chile

Uyuni is considered the world’s largest lithium reserve, with a potential of more than 10 million tons, one third of the total in the world, according to the Bolivian government. YLB and Germany’s ACI Systems have a mixed company for lithium mining in Uyuni, mainly for the production of batteries for electric cars and a cathode industrial plant, with an investment of about US $ 900 million.

It should be remembered that the industrialization of lithium is one of the main bets of the government of Evo Morales.–MercoPress