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Evo Morales inaugurates Bolivia's first lithium battery pilot plant

Bnamericas Published: Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Bolivian President Evo Morales has inaugurated a lithium battery pilot plant in Potosí department, state news agency ABI reported.

Civil construction of the US$2.9mn plant, located in La Palca district, was completed in January. Supplies for the plant and training courses for local technicians brought the total investment up to US$3.7mn.

The pilot plant has capacity to assemble 1,000 batteries a day for cellular phones or computers, or 40 larger batteries for bicycles or cars, according to ABI.

Ten Chinese technicians and 21 Bolivians worked together on the project.

The next stage in the development of the country's lithium industry is the construction of a large-scale battery plant. "Bolivia's goal is to have the largest lithium industry in the world in La Palca. Our obligation is to add value to our natural resources for future generations," Morales said at the inauguration ceremony.

The government's lithium program involves an investment of some US$900mn that has been split into three phases, with phase I accounting for US$18.8mn, phase II for US$485mn and phase III with US$400mn.

Bolivia's Uyuni salt flat is home to vast lithium reserves which some consider to be the largest in the world. Last year, Morales inaugurated a lithium carbonate pilot plant in the salt flat. The plant, which has a capacity of 40t/m, cost US$19mn, according to ABI.

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