LA PAZ, BOLIVIA – Chinese and Russian companies will invest more than $1.4 billion in the extraction of lithium in Bolivia, one of the countries with the largest reserves of the mineral used in electric car batteries, the government in La Paz said Friday.
China’s Citic Guoan and Russia’s Uranium One Group — both with a major government stake — will partner with Bolivia’s state-owned YLB to build two lithium carbonate processing plants, Bolivian President Luis Arce said at a public event.
Lithium is often described as the “white gold” of the clean-energy revolution, a highly coveted component of mobile phones and electric car batteries.
“We are consolidating the country’s industrialization process,” Arce said.
Bolivia, which claims to have the world’s largest deposits, in January also signed an agreement with Chinese consortium CBC to build two lithium battery plants.
The country’s energy ministry said in a statement that each of the two new plants would have the capacity to produce up to 25,000 metric tons of lithium carbonate per year.
Construction will begin in about three months.
China and Russia are among Bolivia’s main lithium buyers.
Lithium is mostly mined in Australia and South America.