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Foreign Firms Court Bolivia as It Ramps Up Lithium Exploitation

HeadlineDec 20, 2023

Bolivia has signed a multimillion-dollar deal with a Russian firm to build a pilot lithium plant that would produce parts for electric vehicles. This is Bolivian President Luis Arce.

President Luis Arce: “We want our Bolivian lithium company Bolivian Lithium Deposits, YLB, to compete with foreign technology and companies that have come to Bolivia to work with our lithium. We want that competition because we are the world’s top lithium reserve.”

Bolivia has the largest untapped lithium deposits in the world, drawing interest from foreign powers. Earlier this year, Bolivia’s state company, YLB, also signed an agreement with China. But many have opposed lithium exploitation over fears it could lead to the displacement and impoverishment of Indigenous communities in the Andes. Environmentalists have also warned lithium extraction places massive demands on freshwater supplies.

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