Valuable salt

Uyuni Salt Lake: one of the largest lithium reserves in the world

Summary

Up until recent months Bolivia was “uncharted territory” for the international community and only evoked any great interest when geological studies confirmed that one of the world’s largest deposits of lithium can be found under the white blanket of the Uyuni Salt Flat (Figs. 1 and 2). Construction of a pilot plant that will be used to produce lithium ­carbonate is already 95 % complete and was financed fully by the Bolivian government.

1 Lake Uyuni

According to the research work of the public-owned company Comibol, the lithium reserves found in Bolivia amount to 100 mill. t lithium and 2000 mill. t potassium. General Motors and Mitsubishi have opened talks with the Bolivian government with the aim of extracting the raw material for battery production.

 

At an altitude of 3650 m above sea level and covering an area of more than 10 000 km², around ten times bigger than the city of Berlin, the geological formation of this endorheic lake is characterized by the high salt content, which was formed in the course of the millennia...

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