China and Bolivia explore possibilities of lithium mining

Photo: Bolivian Ministry of Foreign Affairs

This Thursday, February 1, the traditional Spring Festival was held at the headquarters of the Chinese Embassy in Bolivia, an opportunity that was used to explore the possible mining of Bolivian lithium between both nations.

China, which is positioned as one of the main producers of LFP (Lithium Ferrum Phosphate) batteries 鈥 integral in the construction of electric vehicles 鈥 is very interested in generating new agreements with miners in the region to extract lithium.

In recent days China has negotiated agreements for the construction of new extraction plants, both with the Brazilian mining company Sigma Lithium and with the Bolivian state company Yacimientos de Litio Bolivianos (YLB).

In fact, the new Chinese ambassador to Bolivia, Wang Liang, who assumed his new role in the Andean nation almost a month ago,  mentioned these new agreements with YLB in his welcome speech. 

鈥淲ith a year-on-year growth (in exports) of 67 .7%. China is consolidating itself as a significant partner in the lithium industrialization process in Bolivia. The lithium carbonate plant built by the Chinese company has been put into operation. Meanwhile, two other Chinese consortia have signed a cooperation agreement with the Bolivian side for the industrialization of lithium,鈥 said the ambassador.

However, lithium is not the only matter the two countries have reached agreements on, as Bolivian Foreign Minister Celinda Sosa highlighted that the Vinto metallurgical company also has contracts with Chinese companies for the development of a zinc refining plant in Oruro. According to her, Bolivia is focused on the objective of being the first partner of the BRICS countries, in order to become part of the bloc.

Within the framework of this celebration, Liang offered a reception with special guests from the Bolivian government, diplomatic corps, businessmen, representatives of international organizations and members of the Chinese community, among others.

In his first speech as ambassador in Bolivia, Liang highlighted the possibility of deepening their ties of cooperation, recalling that bilateral trade exceeded 2 trillion dollars, of which 1.5 billion correspond to the Bolivian exports to China.

This 2024, Bolivia and China will celebrate 38 years of formal diplomatic relations. During these almost four decades, both nations have managed to consolidate cooperation agreements on issues surrounding minerals, beef and more recently, to lithium deposits.