On Monday, President Luis Arce defended the Bolivian state’s sovereignty over lithium during the Farmer Women National Confederation Congress in Tarija city.
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“Lithium has great importance for the technological change required nowadays,” Arce recalled, stressing that this metal is used to produce electric car and motorcycle batteries.
Recently, the Arce administration signed an agreement with the Chinese consortium CATL BRUNP & CMOC (CBC) to build two lithium industrialization plants in Oruro and Potosi cities, which Arce stressed will generate jobs for local citizens.
On March 8, the U.S. Southern Command head Laura Richardson expressed concern for "the evil activity" of China, which he accused of taking advantage of Latin American natural resources.
"We signed such an agreement faithful to the Bolivian state’s sovereignty over locally-based natural resources,” Arce stressed, urging social organizations to fight against the international and Bolivian right’s ambition over national resources.
With a 10,500 square kilometers area, Bolivia's Uyuni Salt Flats holds about 21 percent of the world’s lithium reserves.
Unlike Argentina and Chile, which granted multinationals the right to exploit lithium reserves, the Bolivian state controls all production of this metal in its territory. "This fact involves tensions with the United States, which aims to exploit Bolivian lithium for its benefit," Arce explained.