Bolivia mining watch
State-owned company Yacimientos de Litio Bolivianos YLB and Argentine company Y-TEC have signed a scientific-technological cooperation agreement to produce lithium-ion batteries.
The agreement includes activities related to the production of cathode materials from lithium salts, development of a production plant, generation of knowledge for the production of lithium-ion cells and batteries for different applications, including electromobility and autonomous stationary systems, cell and battery innovation, design of prototypes for photovoltaic systems, and packs for electric vehicles.
It also outlines the development of advanced performance lithium-ion batteries based on laboratory prototypes developed in Argentina and Bolivia, as well as training of technicians, engineers and scientists in areas related to the production of cathode materials, lithium cells and batteries, including analysis and characterization of materials, electrochemical techniques, quality control and battery safety, and development of joint research in synthesis of materials for lithium-ion batteries.
YLB also signed a contract with domestic company Carlos Caballero to build a water treatment plant in the Uyuni salt flat at a cost of 344mn bolivianos (US$49mn).
The facility is important for the production of lithium carbonate at the industrial plant being built in Uyuni, in the Andean region of Potosí, which will start operating in 2023. It is expected to produce of around 15,000t/y of lithium carbonate.
Construction of the lithium plant has advanced 84%, according to official information.
Bolivia has some of the world's largest lithium resources, with an estimated 21Mt, a large proportion of which is found in the Uyuni salt flat in the west of the country.
Bolivia plans to achieve revenues of 500mn bolivianos from foreign sales of potassium chloride and lithium carbonate in 2022.
The new projection exceeds the original government forecast of 350mn bolivianos.
According to the executive president of YLB, Carlos Ramos, the improvement in the revenue estimate is due to the optimization of production and improvements in processing.
YLB collected more than 243mn bolivianos in the first half of the year from sales of potassium chloride and lithium carbonate, up more than 27% from the 191mn bolivianos obtained in full-year 2021.
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