The Minister of Hydrocarbons, Franklin Molina, announced this Sunday that the government seeks to certify new lithium reserves with the drilling of wells in the Salares de Coipasa and Pastos Grandes. He said that good news in this regard is expected for the following weeks, which can increase the 21 million tons that are currently held as wealth.
In an interview with Bolivia TV, the authority recalled that Bolivia has the largest amount of lithium reserves in the world, with 21 million tons, and that exploration tasks with Yacimientos de Litio Bolivianos (YLB) were reactivated last year. something that is important to have a greater quantification and certainty of provision of evaporitic resources to carry out industrialization projects.
“Last year YLB developed the drilling of wells in the Salares de Coipasa and Pastos Grandes to increase reserves, today the studies are already in the final stage, therefore in the next few days the incorporation of lithium resources could be announced. , which would increase the 21 million tons that it has as a reserve,” he pointed out.
The authority also stated that this year the Lithium Carbonate Industrial Plant with a capacity of 15,000 tons will enter into operation and that it will allow the commercialization of this product with technical grade and battery grade. 767 million bolivianos are invested and with these operations it will go to a phase of industrial production, since to date there was a piloting plant.
The goal for 2025 was to have a lithium carbonate production capacity of 40,000 metric tons per year, but on January 20, Yacimientos de Litio Bolivianos (YLB) signed an agreement with the company CATL BRUNP & CMOC (CBC) to implement two industrial plants, each of 25,000 MT/year with Direct Extraction of Lithium (EDL) technology, both of which would be in operation in 2025.
With these two plants, plus the 15,000 MT/year that will be generated by the Lithium Carbonate Industrial Plant, Bolivia will reach a production capacity of 65,000 MT/year, exceeding the goal established in the 2021 Economic and Social Development Plan (PDES). 2025.
It is to develop this entire industrialization process that Bolivia needs to have more lithium reserves.
Molina pointed out that lithium is a strategic resource that Bolivia has in abundance, despite the fact that the price fluctuates in the international market, which used to be at 80,000 dollars a ton and now at 42,000 dollars. Despite everything, he said that there is an unsatisfied demand and it is estimated that it will grow by 30% to 40%.