The soft metal is an essential component for the production of electric cars, smartphones and laptop batteries. Box 443Portland, ME 04112-0443USA, Common Dreams is a small nonprofit with a big mission. Is Venezuela's political crisis centered around its oil reserves? By continuing to browse the site you are agreeing to our use of cookies. By 2010, royalties in liberated mining markets such as Argentina and Chile had already started flushing into the coffers of civic bodies. Lithium. There are many battles to be won, but we will battle them together—all of us. "Bolivia's lithium belongs to the Bolivian people. “Morales conducted hard negotiations with the Germans in order to develop a sovereign and strategic industry that would potentially play a major role in the global market," Nacif said. How Does a Nation Best Deal With a Leader Who Intentionally Kills Its Citizens? Over 3,600 meters above sea level on the blinding white plain of the world's largest salt flat, landlocked Bolivia is dramatically ramping up production of lithium to cope with soaring global demand for the prized electric-battery metal. With the nationalisation of mining assets, Comcipo, a civic body in the country's mining hub Potosi, began mobilising against Morales as early as the state lithium projects began in 2008, by demanding royalties. If you can help today—because every gift of every size matters—please do. In the spring of 2019, a few months prior to Morales' ousting, Zuleta took aim at the embattled president when Bolivia signed a lithium deal with Germany's ACI Systems, a private company which develops lithium for industrial use. He is now in Mexico. Without Your Support We Simply Don't Exist. Follow us on Instagram. The strike turned violent with the police opening fire on protesters, killing at least five people in the first few days. (AP) Tesla's production line is massively dependent on lithium. On November 11, the head of Bolivia’s military, General Williams Kaliman, called on Evo Morales to resign from the presidency. The soft, light mineral is mined mainly in Australia, Chile, and Argentina. Why a Former Green Party Candidate Is on a Very Long Fast—Urging Progressives to Vote for Biden to Defeat Trump, Leading Scientists Urge Voters to Dump Trump, Judge Trump’s Worthiness by Either Past or Future, This Crisis Makes Clear: We Need a Four-Day Work Week, Now, Dear Sen. Perdue: Kamala Is the Name of Great Americans, In the Name of Humanity: I Am My Mother's Savage Daughter. Thank you. He is also an advisor of the mining hedge fund Seeking Alpha and the Lithium Council of Chile. The tight government regulations prevented major transnational mining firms such as France's Eramet, America's FMC and South Korea's Posco from entering Bolivia's lithium market. It's unclear what the next steps are for the industry in a post-coup Bolivia, according to global intelligence analysis firm Stratfor: In the longer term, continued political uncertainty will make it more difficult for Bolivia to increase its production of strategic metals like lithium or develop a value-added sector in the battery market. Pakistan walks a tightrope as US-Iran tensions boil over, Atlas Harran: a mighty little project that grew out of modest roots, Iran's state-run media avoids discussing the Azerbaijan-Armenia conflict, Algeria’s popular movement may be crushed on the dawn of a new constitution, Hashd al Shaabi-KDP clash adds a new layer to Iraq conflict, Art Fund increases purse, awards five best museums in UK equally, Extent of UAE monarch Sheikh Khalifa al Nahyan’s London empire revealed, Show people, places and other topics in this story. ", Bolivia's Salar de Uyuni salt flats hold the largest reserves of lithium in the world. A picture is worth a thousand words. Bolivia’s President Evo Morales was overthrown in a military coup on November 10. You can change your choices at any time by visiting Your Privacy Controls. The complexity of the mining and processing has meant that Bolivia has not been able to develop the lithium industry on its own. To remain an independent news source, we do not advertise, sell subscriptions or accept corporate contributions. We need you. Nacif, the sociologist, says Zuleta's criticism was out of step with reality. Bolivia’s lithium policy has been divergent, instead of convergent policy towards global powers and the role that’s been designated to South American countries as merely raw material providers.”. Bolivia has plenty—9 million tons that have never been mined commercially, the second-largest amount in the world—but until now there's been no practical way to mine and sell it. Investment analyst publisher Argus urged investors to keep an eye on the developing situation and noted that gas and oil production from foreign companies in Bolivia had remained steady. Our Mission:To inform. Because of people like you, another world is possible. Bolivia's deal with ACI Systems hit the snag as the people of the lithium-rich Potosi region took to the streets, demanding an increase in royalties from three percent to 11 percent. Information about your device and internet connection, including your IP address, Browsing and search activity while using Verizon Media websites and apps. It requires capital, and it requires expertise. Common Dreams brings you the news that matters. After the coup, the stock value of America's automotive and electric car manufacturer Tesla rose astronomically. The demand for new elections began gained momentum on the streets even though Morales had emerged as the winner with a staggering 48 percent of the vote share in Potosi alone. Two years after coming to power, he introduced strong licencing controls, making it difficult for big businesses to extract raw lithium at throwaway prices. Every donation—large or small—helps us bring you the news that matters. Internet feels Tesla CEO benefited from lithium import as he says, 'Deal with it' 'Wow admitting to a coup. "No one gives up and transfers technology easily, it’s the hardest thing to achieve and develop. A few hours later, Morales announced his resignation with a video streamed from the city of Cochabamba. But it's not.". Common Dreams has been providing breaking news & views for the progressive community since 1997. The Morales move on Nov. 4 to cancel the December 2018 agreement with Germany's ACI Systems Alemania (ACISA) came after weeks of protests from residents of the Potosí area. Bolivia’s key reserves are in lithium, which is essential for the electric car. We and our partners will store and/or access information on your device through the use of cookies and similar technologies, to display personalised ads and content, for ad and content measurement, audience insights and product development. The complexity of the mining and processing has meant that Bolivia has not been able to develop the lithium industry on its own. And if we were to compare lithium with oil, Bolivia would be the new Saudi Arabia. They offered 'open negotiations' to Comcipo, hoping that the move would stop the strike and pacify protesters. Pumari, the civic body leader, demanded the resignation of Morales, setting it as a condition to discontinue the strike. To inspire.To ignite change for the common good. Feel free to republish and share widely. In a speech, Charlotte Meyer, 9, summoned the spirit of RBG: "Let’s (all) stand up for one another, and create the world she hoped for.”, Bolivian Coup Comes Less Than a Week After Morales Stopped Multinational Firm's Lithium Deal. ACISA told German broadcaster DW last week that the company was "confident that our lithium project will be resumed after a phase of political calmness and clarification.". Bolivia claims to have 70% of the world’s lithium reserves, mostly in the Salar de Uyuni salt flats. (Photo: Psyberartist/Flickr/cc). The salt flats of Uyuni have triggered international interest among energy companies due to its lithium reserves. Foreign plunder of Bolivia’s lithium, in a country with the world’s largest known reserves, is widely believed to be among the main motives behind the November 10, 2019 coup. Many mining firms eventually moved to Argentina. The Financial Times wrote in 2014 that Morales' mining policy has helped the country earn some economic dividends. Almost a week after Morales resigned and fled to Mexico, Uruguay's ex-president Jose Mujica hinted at Bolivia's energy reserves, while sharing his views on the president's departure. Living in exile in Mexico, former Bolivian president Evo Morales was recently asked in a televised interview about the reasons behind his ousting and the first thing he pointed out was lithium and the projects he pursued in an attempt to position Bolivia at the top of global energy transition. They failed to negotiate with the Morales government, which refused to budge on its demand — that for the development of lithium, both national mining company Comibol and YLB have to be equal partners. We want the world to be a better place. Comcipo’s main advisor on lithium is Juan Carlos Zuleta, an economist with strong ties to the global lithium industry. "We all know that there is a global energy shift: I am not accusing anyone, because I have no proof, but I am just suspicious in light of history.”. "Bolivia's lithium belongs to the Bolivian people," tweeted Washington Monthly contributor David Atkins. This site uses cookies. "Morales founded YLB [Bolivia’s national lithium firm] in 2008, developed and controlled every and any mining site. Now, some people are accusing Tesla and its CEO of being involved in a coup in Bolivia to secure their lithium in a crazy new conspiracy theory. A few hours later, Morales did just that. Deal with it.” was Elon Musk’s response to an accusation on twitter that the U.S. government organized a coup against President Evo Morales, so that Musk could obtain Bolivia’s lithium.

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