Peace. The government of Bolivia has opened a science and technology research center to enable the country to manufacture lithium itself. The plant is built in the southwestern department of Potosi in the municipality of Yucla.
The Science and Technology Research Center was inaugurated by President Luis Ars, Minister of Hydrocarbons and Energy, Franklin Molina, and President of the State Corporation, Jacimentos de Letio Bolivianos (YLB), Carlos Ramos.
Arce described it as the historic that the new scientific and technical facility for the exploitation and manufacture of minerals is being operated for the benefit of the development of the nation and its people. The president noted that “foreign interests” have so far prevented Bolivians from developing their own science and technology to harness the national wealth, as stipulated in the 2009 constitution. The scientific complex is thus a “historic” and “strategic” thing in the government’s plans.
Minister Molina said the center aims to increase the country’s lithium technology production capacity. This will not only “produce science and technology, but also create capabilities, opportunities, more jobs and better qualified technical personnel for the future.” For this purpose, the minister said, agreements with Bolivian universities have already been signed.
According to the Ministry of Hydrocarbons and Energy, the necessary infrastructure has been built on an area of about 4,000 square meters with investments of about 14.3 million US dollars.
Last April, Bolivia published an international tender for interested companies that wanted to test their lithium extraction technology in Bolivia. According to official information, Bolivia has selected companies from the United States, China, Russia and Argentina for pilot tests.
The newly opened center aims to contribute to the evaluation of these companies in order to make a further selection of cooperation.
With 21 million tons, Bolivia has the largest known deposits of lithium in the world. The fastest growing application for lithium today is in rechargeable batteries. Due to the political promotion of electric mobility, the importance of lithium continues to increase sharply.
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