What Happened: Locals in the Bolivian province of Potosi have held a series of protests against the government, demanding it extract greater royalties from a lithium joint venture with German company ACI Systems at the Uyuni salt flat, Deutsche Welle reported Oct. 8.
Why It Matters: The protests are a setback for Bolivian President Evo Morales' ambitious strategy of using the country's abundant lithium reserves to transform the Bolivian economy and establish it as the world's fourth-largest producer by 2021.
Background: The Uyuni salt flat is believed to host roughly 70 percent of the world's lithium reserves. The joint venture aims to produce up to 40,000 tons of lithium hydroxide each year starting in 2022, with more than 80 percent of the production set to be exported to Germany.
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- Lithium: Powering a Global Revolution (Oct. 20, 2017)