Bolivia launches new international tender for lithium extraction

29th January 2024 By: Reuters

Bolivia launches new international tender for lithium extraction

LA PAZ - Bolivia's government has launched a new international tender for companies to extract lithium from the country's salt flats, the energy minister said on Friday.

The tender, from State-owned Yacimientos de Litio Bolivianos, seeks to develop projects in various salt flats in the Altiplano region, including three of the South American country's biggest lithium reserves.

Bolivia, together with Argentina and Chile, sits atop the so-called "lithium triangle" which contains more than half the world's resources of the metal, but has struggled to launch industrial production.

Speaking at an event, Energy Minister Franklin Molina said the government aimed to attract companies using "cutting-edge technology" for industrial-scale lithium production, and expected applicants to respect local communities and the environment.

They contenders must prove their technical capacity to operate in the salt flats and submit investment proposals, he noted.

Bolivia issued its first call for foreign companies to explore lithium extraction in 2021. The government signed agreements with Chinese companies CBC and Citic Guoan, as well as Russia's Uranium One Group, to build industrial facilities for the production of lithium carbonate.