Il colpo di stato militare di domenica in Bolivia ha portato ad un governo che sembra probabilmente voler cancellare una decisione del presidente Evo Morales di annullare un accordo con una società tedesca per lo sviluppo nel paese latinoamericano di depositi di litio per batterie come quelle delle auto elettriche.
“Bolivia’s lithium belongs to the Bolivian people,” tweeted Washington Monthly contributor David Atkins. “Not to multinational corporate cabals.”
The coup, which on Sunday resulted in Morales resigning and going
into hiding, was the result of days of protests from right-wing elements
angry at the leftist Morales government. Sen. Jeanine Añez, of the
center-right party Democratic Unity, is currently the interim president
in the unstable post-coup government in advance of elections.
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.
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. The region has 50% to 70% of the
world’s lithium reserves in the Salar de Uyuni salt flats.
Among other clients, ACISA provides batteries to Tesla; Tesla’s stock rose Monday after the weekend.
As Bloomberg News noted in 2018, that has set the country up to be incredibly important in the next decade:
Demand for lithium is expected to more than double by 2025. The soft,
light mineral is mined mainly in Australia, Chile, and Argentina.
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.
Morales’ cancellation of the ACISA deal opened the door to either a
renegotiation of the agreement with terms delivering more of the profits
to the area’s population or the outright nationalization of the
Bolivian lithium extraction industry.
As Telesur reported in
June, the Morales government announced at the time it was “determined
to industrialize Bolivia and has invested huge amounts to ensure that
lithium is processed within the country to export it only in value-added
form, such as in batteries.”
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. The poor investment climate comes at a time of expanding global opportunities in lithium-ion battery production to meet rising demand from electric vehicle manufacturing.
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.”
On Sunday, Morales resigned.
By Eoin Higgins / Creative Commons / Common Dreams / Report a typo
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