Competition for Bolivian Lithium Intensifies

Competitors range from Koreans to Finns to Iranians.

Published: 14-Nov-2010

JAPAN appears to have stolen a critical lead in a battle with China and South Korea to develop the world's largest single source of lithium.

At stake is potential access to the lithium reserves of Bolivia's Salar de Uyuni salt desert and the huge advantages that it would confer as nations jostle to gain early supremacy in the manufacture of electric cars.

However, the extraction rights that Japan has won are not exclusive and Bolivia is keen to continue stoking what has been, for the impoverished South American country, a uniquely lucrative and arbitrary beauty contest of rich Asian nations.

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