Bolivia and Mexico seek to make lithium batteries together, says Marcelo Ebrard

PEACE.- The Mexican foreign minister Marcelo Ebrard said this Thursday that Bolivia and Mexico will explore ways to industrialize Bolivian lithium for which state companies from both countries will work together.

It’s about not selling lithium as a raw material but to participate in the manufacture of batteries,” he said at a joint press conference with his Bolivian colleague Roger Mayta.

Ebrard arrived this Thursday invited by the president louis arce to visit the Salar de Uyuni in the south of the country. According to the foreign minister, it is the largest salt desert in the world with important lithium reserves that place Bolivia in first place in world reserves and Mexico in tenth place.

Earlier, the Mexican official met with Arce and they also agreed on cooperation programs on food security as well as promoting an agreement within the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) for the joint purchase of medicines with the purpose of reducing prices.

Bolivia and Mexico “reaffirm our historical ties of mutual cooperation,” Arce commented on his Twitter account.

The two countries have a 190-year diplomatic relationship that reached its peak when the Mexican president Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador granted asylum to the former Bolivian president Evo Morales in 2019 after his resignation after a failed election denounced as fraudulent by the OAS, which triggered a social outburst that left 37 dead.

In turn, Arce was an ally of his Mexican counterpart in the claim for the exclusion of the presidents of Venezuela, Nicaragua and Cuba by the United States from the Summit of the Americas held in California last June.

Despite its huge reserves, Bolivia has not been able to consolidate a lithium industry. Arce has proposed to activate it after 14 years of little progress that has left Bolivia behind its neighbors Chile and Argentina.

The Bolivian government is promoting the construction of a plant to produce lithium carbonate at an industrial level until 2024, for which it has selected six transnational companies as eventual partners: one American, four Chinese and one Russian.

Read also: Ebrard travels to Bolivia to promote lithium alliances in Latin America

Argentina is also negotiating collaboration agreements with the Bolivian government, the scope of which is under negotiation.

As part of his activities, Ebrard will drive an electric car manufactured in Bolivia on Thursday, the Mexican embassy in La Paz reported.

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