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  • President Vladimir Putin meets with President Evo Morales at the Kremlin in Moscow, Russia July 11, 2019.

    President Vladimir Putin meets with President Evo Morales at the Kremlin in Moscow, Russia July 11, 2019. | Photo: Reuters

Published 11 July 2019

Up to 70 percent of the world's supply of this mineral lies at the Uyuni salt flats in Bolivia.

During an official visit to Russia, Bolivia's President Evo Morales discussed Thursday with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin the two countries cooperation on the hydrocarbon industry while hoping to expand their industrialization efforts of lithium.

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Bolivia: Morales to Industrialize Lithium for Battery Exports

"Our great wish is that we continue working as we have done on the subject of hydrocarbons," Morales said at the beginning of his meeting with Putin in Moscow, where he recalled that both countries are already cooperating in energy industries.

Morales went on to say that Bolivia "has begun the industrialization of lithium" and that he is interested in "Russia accompanying" the Andean country in this new energy, "which will be very important in the world."

Besides being applied for the medical treatment of bipolar disorder, Lithium is used for the producing of aluminum products, shock-resistant glasses, ceramics, cosmetics, and plastics. It is also required in high-tech military, industrial, automotive, aircraft, and marine applications.

“The global demand for lithium, the lightweight metal used to make high-powered batteries for cell phones, laptops, and hybrid cars, is expected to triple in the next 15 years. From 50 to 70 percent of the world's supply of this critical mineral is contained in just one place -- Bolivia's Uyuni salt flats,” the Foreign Policy review reported.

"I want to thank Russia's Friendship University of the Peoples rector, scientific council and professors for awarding me a Doctorate Honoris Causa that I receive on behalf of the Bolivian people and social movements which have fought for the liberation of Bolivia."

The Bolivian president also thanked Putin for the construction of the Nuclear Research Center and the Technology Center in El Alto, a city located at 4,000 meters above sea level. This will be possible thanks to an intergovernmental agreement that both countries signed on March 6, 2016.​​​​​​​

For his part, the Russian president highlighted the mutual increase of investments and bilateral trade between the two countries.

"The volume of trade is still very modest, but the trend is good: trade increased 2.5 times in the first quarter of 2019. But the most important thing is that we have good prospects," Putin said and added that the big ones Russian companies continue to invest large sums of money in the Bolivian economy.

Among these, for example, are the Russian gas giant Gazprom, which has invested USD500 million in the development of the oil and gas industry and the Russian atomic agency Rosatom, which is building the nuclear research center.

Morales also expressed his "honor and pride" for visiting Russia, a nation is defending multilateralism and respect for international law.​​​​​​​

During his visit, the Bolivian president received an honorary doctorate from the Peoples' Friendship University of Russia (RUDN), where 50 Bolivian doctors are carrying out their graduate studies.​​​​​​​

After receiving it, Morales went to the Alexander Garden to place a wreath at the Unknown Soldier Tomb, a monument in homage to soldiers fallen during the Second World War.​​​​​​​

During the meeting with the Evo Morales, Putin also said he hoped talks between representatives of Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro and the Venezuelan right-wing opposition would bring an end to the current political impasse in the South American country.

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