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Bolivia’s Advances in Lithium Industrialization Stand Out

“We have been in this process of selecting companies with EDL (direct lithium extraction) technology for almost two years. It is a long process that includes several steps such as: B. pilot tests, technology verification, until the signing of the first agreement just recently,” assured the business leader.

As a first milestone, Ramos commented on the launch of the international call on April 30, 2021 to evaluate companies with experience and technology able to adapt to the characteristics of the Coipasa (Oruro), Uyuni and Pastos Grandes (Potosí) brines Application of the EDL method.

As he explained, 20 international companies participated in the tender that ended on May 31, whose proposals were evaluated and verified, and eight of them were selected, as published on the YLB website.

In September of this year, the company began signing letters of intent with the eight companies and provided brine samples collected from the three salt flats to enable them to pilot and apply the proposed technologies.

“On May 16, 2022, in the presence of a notary – according to the Executive President – the results of the pilot tests of the companies Lilac Solutions, Catl Brunp & Cmoc, Citic Guoan/Crig, Fusion Enertech, Tbea Group and Uranium One Group were announced,” it was reported .

He added that after evaluating the proposals, two YLB technical commissions issued the final report, concluding that the six technologies evaluated were applicable to the properties of the Bolivian salt pans with a lithium recovery rate between 80 and 90 percent.

He commented that the evaporation pool method currently recovers 25 percent while the EDL is attempting to achieve recoveries in excess of 80 percent.

The Bolivian state company proposed the six companies to work under a sovereign business model and requested preliminary pre-feasibility studies for the location of lithium carbonate industrial plants.

Upon completion of the assessment, on January 20th, YLB signed the first agreement with the Chinese consortium CBC to start the installation process of two industrial plants in the Coipasa and Uyuni salt flats using EDL technology, each with a production capacity of 25,000 tons of battery-grade lithium carbonate.

“The CBC consortium has already started with the previous activities and is also working on the provision of electricity and fuel,” reported YLB.