From the NYTimes:
In the rush to build the next generation of hybrid or electric cars, a sobering fact confronts both automakers and governments seeking to lower their reliance on foreign oil: almost half of the worldâ€™s lithium, the mineral needed to power the vehicles, is found here in Bolivia â€” a country that may not be willing to surrender it so easily.
This is a very interesting problem, especially for people concerned about indigenous rights:
For now, the government talks of closely controlling the lithium and keeping foreigners at bay. Adding to the pressure, indigenous groups here in the remote salt desert where the mineral lies are pushing for a share in the eventual bounty.
â€œWe know that Bolivia can become the Saudi Arabia of lithium,â€ said Francisco Quisbert, 64, the leader of Frutcas, a group of salt gatherers and quinoa farmers on the edge of Salar de Uyuni, the worldâ€™s largest salt flat. â€œWe are poor, but we are not stupid peasants. The lithium may be Boliviaâ€™s, but it is also our property.â€
It’s times like these when I wonder when landfill mining will become en vogue.