In Brief – Bolivia; Peru

ECONOMY | More investment in lithium. On 11 November the government of President Evo Morales of Bolivia announced a US$40m investment plan in a pilot lithium battery manufacturing plant in the town of La Palca, in the highlands region of Potosí. The announcement is the latest sign of the government’s efforts to move on its pledge to develop the lithium sector using the country’s reserves. These are mostly located in the Uyuni salt plains and total some nine million tons (mt), according to the latest US Geological Survey (updated in January 2012); however, Morales has previously said these could be closer to 100mt. The investment announcement follows the August inauguration of a semi-industrial potassium chloride (KCl) plant in Uyuni, which Morales hailed as the start of the lithium industrialisation process. Morales said he hoped that the La Palca plant, which has been bought from China, would begin operating in the first half of 2013.

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