GreenTech War: Japan, China, Lithium, Batteries and Bolivia

By: Ainsley Brown

Bolivia: The Saudi Arabia of Lithium
Bolivia: The Saudi Arabia of Lithium

A potential GreenTech war is brewing between Japan and China, location Bolivia.

The salt flats of Bolivia´s Salar De Uyuni, where most recent James Bond movie was shot (Quantum of Solace) seems like the most unlikely place for  a green technology war, much less one between Japan  and China.  However, it very much is. Both countries through official diplomatic overtures and through its multi-nationals have sought to secure stable supplies of lithium.

Why lithium?

Well, given current technology, lithium is the key to battery power. And while batteries power all kinds of devices, it is the key to the electric car – I think you are seeing where I am going with this. Whoever control´s the lithium, controls the electric car.

Currently Chile is the world largest producer of the metal; however Bolivia has half the world´s proven reserves. According to the Times, ¨Bolivia is to lithium what Saudi Arabia is to oil.¨

It looks like the Salar De Uyuni could soon become much more than just a 007 film location, to being a linchpin in the world´s effort to curve carbon emissions. Let´s hope along with this the people of Bolivia see some true developmental benefits and the reduction of poverty from this greentech war.


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