Germany’s ACI Systems Alemania (ACISA) has officially sealed a deal with Bolivian state enterprise Yacimientos de Litio Bolivianos (YLB) to cooperate on the extraction and industrialisation of lithium from Salar de Uyuni, southwest Bolivia.
ACISA was chosen from eight international consortia that YLB invited to submit proposals to realise the industrialisation of Salar de Uyuni, including extracting and producing raw materials from residual brine, developing production capacities, and marketing and manufacturing cathode material and battery systems in Bolivia.
The partnership will create between 500 and 1,000 direct jobs in Bolivia, with employees undergoing training and qualification courses, as well as bringing up to 10,000 indirect jobs in Bolivia.
A public-private joint venture between YLB and ACISA, in which the Bolivian state-owned company holds a majority stake of 51%, is also to be set up by the end of this year.
First production of lithium as a raw material is scheduled for the second half of 2021. Production capacity is expected to reach between 35,000 and 40,000 tons of lithium hydroxide by the end of 2022, after which point further expansion is planned.
At around 10 million tons, Salar de Uyuni is the world’s largest known deposit of lithium, meaning that the agreement “guarantees Germany access to the coveted metal “, ACISA said.
ACISA is a member of Germany’s ACI Group, which develops manufacturing solutions for the photovoltaic, battery and automotive industries.
Bolivia’s first lithium-ion battery manufacturing plant opened in La Placa, a town near the Salar de Uyuni— around four years ago.