The agreement signed with CATL did not come as a surprise. Chinese companies have been working on the salt flats in Bolivia for nearly 10 years.
1.4 billion dollars investment from CATL, the world’s largest battery manufacturer, to Bolivia. The United States has previously been accused of carrying out a coup against the nationalization of lithium reserves in the country.
Bolivia, famous for its salt flats, received its first large lithium production investment as a result of years of work. Chinese battery giant CATL announced that it will build lithium production facilities with an investment of 1.4 billion dollars in the first stage, with the agreement it signed a few weeks ago.
Within the scope of the cooperation, CATL will establish two lithium carbonate production facilities in the salt flats of Uyuni and Oruro, and plans to increase its investment up to $9.9 billion by 2028. Construction and infrastructure activities are expected to begin next month. When the facilities reach full capacity, the company will be able to produce 25,000 tons of battery-quality lithium carbonate each year.
According to the estimates of the Bolivian government, the salt flats (dried salt lakes) in the country constitute 70% of the world’s reserves with 100 million tons. According to research in the USA, the reserves are around 21 million tons. But even this value is enough to make Bolivia the richest in the world in terms of lithium.
Bolivia, which has made great efforts to commercialize its lithium reserves, has experienced major crises in the past years as it moves towards a happy ending. Chief among them is the 2019 coup d’etat of former President Morales, who nationalized the reserves. The world community heard about this coup, which was alleged to be the hand of the USA, with the support message of Elon Musk.
The agreement signed with CATL did not come as a surprise. Chinese companies have been working on the salt flats in Bolivia for nearly 10 years. It even came to the agenda that Tesla was on the verge of a five-year deal with a Chinese lithium producer before the reserves were nationalized.