Germany secures strategic access to Bolivian lithium production

EPA-EFE//MARTIN ALIPAZ

An indigenous miner at the state-owned Colquiri Mine in western Bolivia.

Germany secures strategic access to Bolivian lithium production


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German manufacturing company ACI Systems has signed a deal to partners with Bolivia’s state-owned YLB mining company for the exploitation of lithium, according to a statement posted on ACI’s official website.

The deal is a gamechanger as it would give Germany access to 85% of Bolivia’s lithium production, in exchange for €300-€400 million greenfield investment. The German government is investing €1 billion into the battery manufacturing industry to significantly boost production in an attempt to hive off some of the sector’s market share, which is currently 90% dominated by Asian producers.

Lithium is a strategic resource in battery manufacturing and a key to the emerging car sector. According to Germany’s Economy Minister Peter Altmaier, the deal gives the country the possibility of emerging as a “leading location for battery cell production.”

The deal allows for German battery manufacturing companies to operate in Bolivia, while Germany will gain access to 30,000-40,000 tonnes of lithium by 2022, enough to produce 800,000 cars a year.

The international price of lithium has doubled over the last two years having reached €11,400 per tonne. China has controlled 50% of the global production of lithium since 2014. Asia’s combined share of the lithium market currently stands at 88%.

 

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