Growing International Demand
Following the inauguration of Bolivia’s first state-financed Lithium Carbonate Industrial Plant in Llipi, Potosí, there is significant interest from Asian and European Union (EU) countries in acquiring its lithium carbonate production. The executive president of Yacimientos de Litio Bolivianos (YLB), Karla Calderón, noted interest from countries including China, South Korea, Japan, and Russia, with a specific focus on the EU due to its green policy initiatives.
Production Capacity and Expectations
The newly opened plant is projected to produce up to 15,000 tons of lithium carbonate annually by 2025. In its first year, the plant aims to reach a production capacity of 3,000 to 4,000 tons, which is about 30% of its total capacity.
Current Market Strategy and Pricing
YLB is currently stockpiling produced lithium carbonate, awaiting favorable market prices. The current quoted price stands at $11,000 per ton. This decision comes in the wake of a price drop; lithium carbonate prices peaked at around $80,000 per ton in 2022, with an average price of about $30,000 in the first half of the year.
Implications for Bolivia’s Lithium Market
This development marks a significant moment for Bolivia in the global lithium market, aligning with the growing demand for lithium due to its applications in green technologies and electric vehicles. The interest from various international markets underscores the strategic importance of Bolivia’s lithium resources.