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Pictures | Fri Apr 5, 2013 | 1:45pm EDT

The lithium triangle

<p>An overview of the Salar del Hombre Muerto, or Dead Man's Salt Flat, an important source of lithium at around 4,000 meters (13,123 feet) above sea level on the border of the northern Argentine provinces of Catamarca and Salta, October 28, 2012. Argentina, Chile and Bolivia hold the planet's largest reserves of lithium, the world's lightest metal and a key component in batteries used to power a range of technologies from cell phones to laptops to electric cars. Industrial production from countries in this so-called "lithium triangle" is already high. Chile is the world's leading source of the metal, turning out around 40 percent of global supply, and Argentina is also a significant producer. Output from the Andes may soon rise after Bolivia - the country that holds an estimated 50 percent of the world's lithium reserves - opened its first lithium pilot plant in January.    REUTERS/Enrique Marcarian</p>

An overview of the Salar del Hombre Muerto, or Dead Man's Salt Flat, an important source of lithium at around 4,000 meters (13,123 feet) above sea level on the border of the northern Argentine provinces of Catamarca and Salta, October 28, 2012....more

An overview of the Salar del Hombre Muerto, or Dead Man's Salt Flat, an important source of lithium at around 4,000 meters (13,123 feet) above sea level on the border of the northern Argentine provinces of Catamarca and Salta, October 28, 2012. Argentina, Chile and Bolivia hold the planet's largest reserves of lithium, the world's lightest metal and a key component in batteries used to power a range of technologies from cell phones to laptops to electric cars. Industrial production from countries in this so-called "lithium triangle" is already high. Chile is the world's leading source of the metal, turning out around 40 percent of global supply, and Argentina is also a significant producer. Output from the Andes may soon rise after Bolivia - the country that holds an estimated 50 percent of the world's lithium reserves - opened its first lithium pilot plant in January. REUTERS/Enrique Marcarian

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<p>A view of a lithium mining camp on the Salar del Hombre Muerto, or Dead Man's Salt Flat, at around 4,000 meters (13,123 feet) above sea level, on the border of the northern Argentine provinces of Catamarca and Salta, October 29, 2012.  REUTERS/Enrique Marcarian</p>

A view of a lithium mining camp on the Salar del Hombre Muerto, or Dead Man's Salt Flat, at around 4,000 meters (13,123 feet) above sea level, on the border of the northern Argentine provinces of Catamarca and Salta, October 29, 2012. ...more

A view of a lithium mining camp on the Salar del Hombre Muerto, or Dead Man's Salt Flat, at around 4,000 meters (13,123 feet) above sea level, on the border of the northern Argentine provinces of Catamarca and Salta, October 29, 2012. REUTERS/Enrique Marcarian

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<p>Overview of a mining camp on the Salar del Hombre Muerto, or Dead Man's Salt Flat, an important source of lithium at around 4,000 meters (13,123 feet) above sea level on the border of the northern Argentine provinces of Catamarca and Salta, October 28, 2012.   REUTERS/Enrique Marcarian</p>

Overview of a mining camp on the Salar del Hombre Muerto, or Dead Man's Salt Flat, an important source of lithium at around 4,000 meters (13,123 feet) above sea level on the border of the northern Argentine provinces of Catamarca and Salta, October...more

Overview of a mining camp on the Salar del Hombre Muerto, or Dead Man's Salt Flat, an important source of lithium at around 4,000 meters (13,123 feet) above sea level on the border of the northern Argentine provinces of Catamarca and Salta, October 28, 2012. REUTERS/Enrique Marcarian

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<p>Braulio Lopez (R) and Ramon Calpanchay of Galaxy Resources lithium mining division shovel halite concentrate at the Salar del Hombre Muerto, or Dead Man's Salt Flat, an important source of lithium at around 4,000 meters (13,123 feet) above sea level on the border of the northern Argentine provinces of Catamarca and Salta, October 28, 2012. REUTERS/Enrique Marcarian</p>

Braulio Lopez (R) and Ramon Calpanchay of Galaxy Resources lithium mining division shovel halite concentrate at the Salar del Hombre Muerto, or Dead Man's Salt Flat, an important source of lithium at around 4,000 meters (13,123 feet) above sea level...more

Braulio Lopez (R) and Ramon Calpanchay of Galaxy Resources lithium mining division shovel halite concentrate at the Salar del Hombre Muerto, or Dead Man's Salt Flat, an important source of lithium at around 4,000 meters (13,123 feet) above sea level on the border of the northern Argentine provinces of Catamarca and Salta, October 28, 2012. REUTERS/Enrique Marcarian

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<p>Engineer Martin Marquez of Galaxy Resources lithium mining division checks a concentration of halite at the Salar del Hombre Muerto, or Dead Man's Salt Flat, an important source of lithium at around 4,000 meters (13,123 feet) above sea level on the border of the northern Argentine provinces of Catamarca and Salta, October 28, 2012.  REUTERS/Enrique Marcarian</p>

Engineer Martin Marquez of Galaxy Resources lithium mining division checks a concentration of halite at the Salar del Hombre Muerto, or Dead Man's Salt Flat, an important source of lithium at around 4,000 meters (13,123 feet) above sea level on the...more

Engineer Martin Marquez of Galaxy Resources lithium mining division checks a concentration of halite at the Salar del Hombre Muerto, or Dead Man's Salt Flat, an important source of lithium at around 4,000 meters (13,123 feet) above sea level on the border of the northern Argentine provinces of Catamarca and Salta, October 28, 2012. REUTERS/Enrique Marcarian

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<p>Braulio Lopez of Galaxy Resources lithium mining division carts halite concentrate at the Salar del Hombre Muerto, or Dead Man's Salt Flat, an important source of lithium at around 4,000 meters (13,123 feet) above sea level on the border of the northern Argentine provinces of Catamarca and Salta, October 28, 2012.  REUTERS/Enrique Marcarian</p>

Braulio Lopez of Galaxy Resources lithium mining division carts halite concentrate at the Salar del Hombre Muerto, or Dead Man's Salt Flat, an important source of lithium at around 4,000 meters (13,123 feet) above sea level on the border of the...more

Braulio Lopez of Galaxy Resources lithium mining division carts halite concentrate at the Salar del Hombre Muerto, or Dead Man's Salt Flat, an important source of lithium at around 4,000 meters (13,123 feet) above sea level on the border of the northern Argentine provinces of Catamarca and Salta, October 28, 2012. REUTERS/Enrique Marcarian

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<p>Geologist Mariela Hoyos (L) and her assistant Lucindo Lamas of Galaxy Resources adjust the flow of brine from the Salar del Hombre Muerto, or Dead Man's Salt Flat, which is around 4,000 meters (13,123 feet) above sea level on the border of the northern Argentine provinces of Catamarca and Salta, as they prepare for future lithium production, October 27, 2012.  REUTERS/Enrique Marcarian</p>

Geologist Mariela Hoyos (L) and her assistant Lucindo Lamas of Galaxy Resources adjust the flow of brine from the Salar del Hombre Muerto, or Dead Man's Salt Flat, which is around 4,000 meters (13,123 feet) above sea level on the border of the...more

Geologist Mariela Hoyos (L) and her assistant Lucindo Lamas of Galaxy Resources adjust the flow of brine from the Salar del Hombre Muerto, or Dead Man's Salt Flat, which is around 4,000 meters (13,123 feet) above sea level on the border of the northern Argentine provinces of Catamarca and Salta, as they prepare for future lithium production, October 27, 2012. REUTERS/Enrique Marcarian

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<p>A worker from Galaxy Resources lithium mining division puts on a mask before going to work at the Salar del Hombre Muerto, or Dead Man's Salt Flat, an important source of lithium at around 4,000 meters (13,123 feet) above sea level on the border of the northern Argentine provinces of Catamarca and Salta, October 28, 2012.  REUTERS/Enrique Marcarian</p>

A worker from Galaxy Resources lithium mining division puts on a mask before going to work at the Salar del Hombre Muerto, or Dead Man's Salt Flat, an important source of lithium at around 4,000 meters (13,123 feet) above sea level on the border of...more

A worker from Galaxy Resources lithium mining division puts on a mask before going to work at the Salar del Hombre Muerto, or Dead Man's Salt Flat, an important source of lithium at around 4,000 meters (13,123 feet) above sea level on the border of the northern Argentine provinces of Catamarca and Salta, October 28, 2012. REUTERS/Enrique Marcarian

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<p>Laundry lies drying in the sun in the area around the Salar del Hombre Muerto, or Dead Man's Salt Flat, at around 4,000 meters (13,123 feet) above sea level, in Cienaga Redonda on the border of the northern Argentine provinces of Catamarca and Salta, October 29, 2012. REUTERS/Enrique Marcarian</p>

Laundry lies drying in the sun in the area around the Salar del Hombre Muerto, or Dead Man's Salt Flat, at around 4,000 meters (13,123 feet) above sea level, in Cienaga Redonda on the border of the northern Argentine provinces of Catamarca and Salta,...more

Laundry lies drying in the sun in the area around the Salar del Hombre Muerto, or Dead Man's Salt Flat, at around 4,000 meters (13,123 feet) above sea level, in Cienaga Redonda on the border of the northern Argentine provinces of Catamarca and Salta, October 29, 2012. REUTERS/Enrique Marcarian

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<p>Flamingos walk on the Salar del Hombre Muerto, or Dead Man's Salt Flat, an important source of lithium at around 4,000 meters (13,123 feet) above sea level on the border of the northern Argentine provinces of Catamarca and Salta, October 28, 2012. REUTERS/Enrique Marcarian</p>

Flamingos walk on the Salar del Hombre Muerto, or Dead Man's Salt Flat, an important source of lithium at around 4,000 meters (13,123 feet) above sea level on the border of the northern Argentine provinces of Catamarca and Salta, October 28, 2012....more

Flamingos walk on the Salar del Hombre Muerto, or Dead Man's Salt Flat, an important source of lithium at around 4,000 meters (13,123 feet) above sea level on the border of the northern Argentine provinces of Catamarca and Salta, October 28, 2012. REUTERS/Enrique Marcarian

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<p>A view of sunset of the Salar del Hombre Muerto, or Dead Man's salt flat, at around 4,000 meters (13,123 feet) above sea level, on the border of the northern Argentine provinces of Catamarca and Salta, October 29, 2012.  REUTERS/Enrique Marcarian</p>

A view of sunset of the Salar del Hombre Muerto, or Dead Man's salt flat, at around 4,000 meters (13,123 feet) above sea level, on the border of the northern Argentine provinces of Catamarca and Salta, October 29, 2012. REUTERS/Enrique Marcarian more

A view of sunset of the Salar del Hombre Muerto, or Dead Man's salt flat, at around 4,000 meters (13,123 feet) above sea level, on the border of the northern Argentine provinces of Catamarca and Salta, October 29, 2012. REUTERS/Enrique Marcarian

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<p>A llama stands next to a cactus growing on Incahuasi Island above the Uyuni salt lake, which holds the world's largest reserve of lithium, located at 3,656 meters (11,995 ft) above sea level in southwestern Bolivia, November 7, 2012.  REUTERS/David Mercado</p>

A llama stands next to a cactus growing on Incahuasi Island above the Uyuni salt lake, which holds the world's largest reserve of lithium, located at 3,656 meters (11,995 ft) above sea level in southwestern Bolivia, November 7, 2012. REUTERS/David...more

A llama stands next to a cactus growing on Incahuasi Island above the Uyuni salt lake, which holds the world's largest reserve of lithium, located at 3,656 meters (11,995 ft) above sea level in southwestern Bolivia, November 7, 2012. REUTERS/David Mercado

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<p>A tourist sits on Incahuasi Island while looking out over the Uyuni salt lake, which holds the world's largest reserve of lithium, located at 3,656 meters (11,995 ft) above sea level in southwestern Bolivia, November 6, 2012. REUTERS/David Mercado</p>

A tourist sits on Incahuasi Island while looking out over the Uyuni salt lake, which holds the world's largest reserve of lithium, located at 3,656 meters (11,995 ft) above sea level in southwestern Bolivia, November 6, 2012. REUTERS/David Mercado more

A tourist sits on Incahuasi Island while looking out over the Uyuni salt lake, which holds the world's largest reserve of lithium, located at 3,656 meters (11,995 ft) above sea level in southwestern Bolivia, November 6, 2012. REUTERS/David Mercado

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<p>Flags of different countries fly from posts on the Uyuni salt lake, which holds the world's largest reserve of lithium, located at 3,656 meters (11,995 ft) above sea level in southwestern Bolivia, November 6, 2012. REUTERS/David Mercado</p>

Flags of different countries fly from posts on the Uyuni salt lake, which holds the world's largest reserve of lithium, located at 3,656 meters (11,995 ft) above sea level in southwestern Bolivia, November 6, 2012. REUTERS/David Mercado

Flags of different countries fly from posts on the Uyuni salt lake, which holds the world's largest reserve of lithium, located at 3,656 meters (11,995 ft) above sea level in southwestern Bolivia, November 6, 2012. REUTERS/David Mercado

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<p>A view of the crystallized surface of the Uyuni salt lake, which holds the world's largest reserve of lithium, located at 3,656 meters (11,995 ft) above sea level in southwestern Bolivia, at sunrise on November 7, 2012.  REUTERS/David Mercado</p>

A view of the crystallized surface of the Uyuni salt lake, which holds the world's largest reserve of lithium, located at 3,656 meters (11,995 ft) above sea level in southwestern Bolivia, at sunrise on November 7, 2012. REUTERS/David Mercado

A view of the crystallized surface of the Uyuni salt lake, which holds the world's largest reserve of lithium, located at 3,656 meters (11,995 ft) above sea level in southwestern Bolivia, at sunrise on November 7, 2012. REUTERS/David Mercado

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<p>A view of the lithium pilot plant on the southern edge of the Uyuni salt lake, which holds the world's largest reserve of lithium, located at 3,656 meters (11,995 ft) above sea level in southwestern Bolivia, November 5, 2012.  REUTERS/David Mercado</p>

A view of the lithium pilot plant on the southern edge of the Uyuni salt lake, which holds the world's largest reserve of lithium, located at 3,656 meters (11,995 ft) above sea level in southwestern Bolivia, November 5, 2012. REUTERS/David Mercado more

A view of the lithium pilot plant on the southern edge of the Uyuni salt lake, which holds the world's largest reserve of lithium, located at 3,656 meters (11,995 ft) above sea level in southwestern Bolivia, November 5, 2012. REUTERS/David Mercado

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<p>A Bolivian man breaks salt to be trucked away from the Uyuni salt lake, which holds the world's largest reserve of lithium, located at 3,656 meters (11,995 ft) above sea level in southwestern Bolivia, at sunrise November 7, 2012.  REUTERS/David Mercado</p>

A Bolivian man breaks salt to be trucked away from the Uyuni salt lake, which holds the world's largest reserve of lithium, located at 3,656 meters (11,995 ft) above sea level in southwestern Bolivia, at sunrise November 7, 2012. REUTERS/David...more

A Bolivian man breaks salt to be trucked away from the Uyuni salt lake, which holds the world's largest reserve of lithium, located at 3,656 meters (11,995 ft) above sea level in southwestern Bolivia, at sunrise November 7, 2012. REUTERS/David Mercado

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<p>Laboratory technicians Gabriela Torrez (L) and Bernabe Apaza analyze brine samples at the lithium pilot plant on the southern edge of the Uyuni salt lake, which holds the world's largest reserve of lithium, located at 3,656 meters (11,995 ft) above sea level in southwestern Bolivia, November 5, 2012.  REUTERS/David Mercado</p>

Laboratory technicians Gabriela Torrez (L) and Bernabe Apaza analyze brine samples at the lithium pilot plant on the southern edge of the Uyuni salt lake, which holds the world's largest reserve of lithium, located at 3,656 meters (11,995 ft) above...more

Laboratory technicians Gabriela Torrez (L) and Bernabe Apaza analyze brine samples at the lithium pilot plant on the southern edge of the Uyuni salt lake, which holds the world's largest reserve of lithium, located at 3,656 meters (11,995 ft) above sea level in southwestern Bolivia, November 5, 2012. REUTERS/David Mercado

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<p>A view of one of the brine pools that are part of the lithium pilot plant on the Uyuni salt lake, which holds the world's largest reserve of lithium, located at 3,656 meters (11,995 ft) above sea level in southwestern Bolivia, November 5, 2012.   REUTERS/David Mercado</p>

A view of one of the brine pools that are part of the lithium pilot plant on the Uyuni salt lake, which holds the world's largest reserve of lithium, located at 3,656 meters (11,995 ft) above sea level in southwestern Bolivia, November 5, 2012. ...more

A view of one of the brine pools that are part of the lithium pilot plant on the Uyuni salt lake, which holds the world's largest reserve of lithium, located at 3,656 meters (11,995 ft) above sea level in southwestern Bolivia, November 5, 2012. REUTERS/David Mercado

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<p>Piles of salt are pictured before a truck arrives to cart them away on the Uyuni salt lake, which holds the world's largest reserve of lithium, located at 3,656 meters (11,995 ft) above sea level in southwestern Bolivia, at sunrise on November 7, 2012.   REUTERS/David Mercado</p>

Piles of salt are pictured before a truck arrives to cart them away on the Uyuni salt lake, which holds the world's largest reserve of lithium, located at 3,656 meters (11,995 ft) above sea level in southwestern Bolivia, at sunrise on November 7,...more

Piles of salt are pictured before a truck arrives to cart them away on the Uyuni salt lake, which holds the world's largest reserve of lithium, located at 3,656 meters (11,995 ft) above sea level in southwestern Bolivia, at sunrise on November 7, 2012. REUTERS/David Mercado

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<p>Tourists prepare for a picnic on the Uyuni salt lake, which holds the world's largest reserve of lithium, located at 3,656 meters (11,995 ft) above sea level in southwestern Bolivia, November 7, 2012. REUTERS/David Mercado</p>

Tourists prepare for a picnic on the Uyuni salt lake, which holds the world's largest reserve of lithium, located at 3,656 meters (11,995 ft) above sea level in southwestern Bolivia, November 7, 2012. REUTERS/David Mercado

Tourists prepare for a picnic on the Uyuni salt lake, which holds the world's largest reserve of lithium, located at 3,656 meters (11,995 ft) above sea level in southwestern Bolivia, November 7, 2012. REUTERS/David Mercado

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<p>A road leads to the brine pools that are part of the lithium pilot plant on the Uyuni salt lake, which holds the world's largest reserve of lithium, located at 3,656 meters (11,995 ft) above sea level in southwestern Bolivia, November 5, 2012.  REUTERS/David Mercado</p>

A road leads to the brine pools that are part of the lithium pilot plant on the Uyuni salt lake, which holds the world's largest reserve of lithium, located at 3,656 meters (11,995 ft) above sea level in southwestern Bolivia, November 5, 2012. ...more

A road leads to the brine pools that are part of the lithium pilot plant on the Uyuni salt lake, which holds the world's largest reserve of lithium, located at 3,656 meters (11,995 ft) above sea level in southwestern Bolivia, November 5, 2012. REUTERS/David Mercado

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<p>An aerial view of the brine pools and processing areas of the Soquimich lithium mine on the Atacama salt flat, the largest lithium deposit currently in production, in the Atacama desert of northern Chile, January 10, 2013. REUTERS/Ivan Alvarado</p>

An aerial view of the brine pools and processing areas of the Soquimich lithium mine on the Atacama salt flat, the largest lithium deposit currently in production, in the Atacama desert of northern Chile, January 10, 2013. REUTERS/Ivan Alvarado more

An aerial view of the brine pools and processing areas of the Soquimich lithium mine on the Atacama salt flat, the largest lithium deposit currently in production, in the Atacama desert of northern Chile, January 10, 2013. REUTERS/Ivan Alvarado

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<p>Workers take samples from a brine pool at the Rockwood Lithium plant on the Atacama salt flat, the largest lithium deposit currently in production, in the Atacama desert of northern Chile, January 8, 2013. REUTERS/Ivan Alvarado</p>

Workers take samples from a brine pool at the Rockwood Lithium plant on the Atacama salt flat, the largest lithium deposit currently in production, in the Atacama desert of northern Chile, January 8, 2013. REUTERS/Ivan Alvarado

Workers take samples from a brine pool at the Rockwood Lithium plant on the Atacama salt flat, the largest lithium deposit currently in production, in the Atacama desert of northern Chile, January 8, 2013. REUTERS/Ivan Alvarado

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<p>A worker walks in front of brine pools at the Rockwood Lithium plant on the Atacama salt flat, the largest lithium deposit currently in production, in the Atacama desert of northern Chile, January 8, 2013. REUTERS/Ivan Alvarado</p>

A worker walks in front of brine pools at the Rockwood Lithium plant on the Atacama salt flat, the largest lithium deposit currently in production, in the Atacama desert of northern Chile, January 8, 2013. REUTERS/Ivan Alvarado

A worker walks in front of brine pools at the Rockwood Lithium plant on the Atacama salt flat, the largest lithium deposit currently in production, in the Atacama desert of northern Chile, January 8, 2013. REUTERS/Ivan Alvarado

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<p>A view of a brine pool and pumps at the Rockwood Lithium plant on the Atacama salt flat, the largest lithium deposit currently in production in the Atacama desert of northern Chile, January 7, 2013. REUTERS/Ivan Alvarado</p>

A view of a brine pool and pumps at the Rockwood Lithium plant on the Atacama salt flat, the largest lithium deposit currently in production in the Atacama desert of northern Chile, January 7, 2013. REUTERS/Ivan Alvarado

A view of a brine pool and pumps at the Rockwood Lithium plant on the Atacama salt flat, the largest lithium deposit currently in production in the Atacama desert of northern Chile, January 7, 2013. REUTERS/Ivan Alvarado

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<p>A worker walks up a conveyor belt carrying halite at the Rockwood Lithium plant on the Atacama salt flat, the largest lithium deposit currently in production, in the Atacama desert of northern Chile, January 7, 2013. REUTERS/Ivan Alvarado</p>

A worker walks up a conveyor belt carrying halite at the Rockwood Lithium plant on the Atacama salt flat, the largest lithium deposit currently in production, in the Atacama desert of northern Chile, January 7, 2013. REUTERS/Ivan Alvarado

A worker walks up a conveyor belt carrying halite at the Rockwood Lithium plant on the Atacama salt flat, the largest lithium deposit currently in production, in the Atacama desert of northern Chile, January 7, 2013. REUTERS/Ivan Alvarado

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<p>A worker protects his face from the sun as he inspects machinery at the Rockwood Lithium plant on the Atacama salt flat, the largest lithium deposit currently in production, in the Atacama desert of northern Chile, January 8, 2013. REUTERS/Ivan Alvarado</p>

A worker protects his face from the sun as he inspects machinery at the Rockwood Lithium plant on the Atacama salt flat, the largest lithium deposit currently in production, in the Atacama desert of northern Chile, January 8, 2013. REUTERS/Ivan...more

A worker protects his face from the sun as he inspects machinery at the Rockwood Lithium plant on the Atacama salt flat, the largest lithium deposit currently in production, in the Atacama desert of northern Chile, January 8, 2013. REUTERS/Ivan Alvarado

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<p>A worker for Rockwood Lithium walks among sacks of lithium carbonate produced from the Atacama salt flat, the largest lithium deposit currently in production, in Antofagasta, northern Chile, January 14, 2013. REUTERS/Ivan Alvarado</p>

A worker for Rockwood Lithium walks among sacks of lithium carbonate produced from the Atacama salt flat, the largest lithium deposit currently in production, in Antofagasta, northern Chile, January 14, 2013. REUTERS/Ivan Alvarado

A worker for Rockwood Lithium walks among sacks of lithium carbonate produced from the Atacama salt flat, the largest lithium deposit currently in production, in Antofagasta, northern Chile, January 14, 2013. REUTERS/Ivan Alvarado

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<p>A view of samples of lithium carbonate processed from the Rockwood Lithium mine on the Atacama salt flat, the largest lithium deposit currently in production, in Antofagasta, northern Chile, January 14, 2013.  REUTERS/Ivan Alvarado</p>

A view of samples of lithium carbonate processed from the Rockwood Lithium mine on the Atacama salt flat, the largest lithium deposit currently in production, in Antofagasta, northern Chile, January 14, 2013. REUTERS/Ivan Alvarado

A view of samples of lithium carbonate processed from the Rockwood Lithium mine on the Atacama salt flat, the largest lithium deposit currently in production, in Antofagasta, northern Chile, January 14, 2013. REUTERS/Ivan Alvarado

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<p>An aerial view of the brine pools and processing areas of the Soquimich lithium mine on the Atacama salt flat, the largest lithium deposit currently in production, in the Atacama desert of northern Chile, January 10, 2013. REUTERS/Ivan Alvarado</p>

An aerial view of the brine pools and processing areas of the Soquimich lithium mine on the Atacama salt flat, the largest lithium deposit currently in production, in the Atacama desert of northern Chile, January 10, 2013. REUTERS/Ivan Alvarado more

An aerial view of the brine pools and processing areas of the Soquimich lithium mine on the Atacama salt flat, the largest lithium deposit currently in production, in the Atacama desert of northern Chile, January 10, 2013. REUTERS/Ivan Alvarado

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<p>Workers from the Rockwood Lithium mine play soccer during their time off in Peine, on the edge of the Atacama salt flat in the Atacama desert of northern Chile, January 12, 2013. REUTERS/Ivan Alvarado</p>

Workers from the Rockwood Lithium mine play soccer during their time off in Peine, on the edge of the Atacama salt flat in the Atacama desert of northern Chile, January 12, 2013. REUTERS/Ivan Alvarado

Workers from the Rockwood Lithium mine play soccer during their time off in Peine, on the edge of the Atacama salt flat in the Atacama desert of northern Chile, January 12, 2013. REUTERS/Ivan Alvarado

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<p>A view of the plant where Rockwood Lithium processes lithium carbonate from brine concentrate brought from the Atacama salt flat in Antofagasta, northern Chile, January 14, 2013.   REUTERS/Ivan Alvarado</p>

A view of the plant where Rockwood Lithium processes lithium carbonate from brine concentrate brought from the Atacama salt flat in Antofagasta, northern Chile, January 14, 2013. REUTERS/Ivan Alvarado

A view of the plant where Rockwood Lithium processes lithium carbonate from brine concentrate brought from the Atacama salt flat in Antofagasta, northern Chile, January 14, 2013. REUTERS/Ivan Alvarado

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<p>A view of a church in Peine, on the edge of the Atacama salt flat, in the Atacama desert of northern Chile, January 9, 2013. REUTERS/Ivan Alvarado</p>

A view of a church in Peine, on the edge of the Atacama salt flat, in the Atacama desert of northern Chile, January 9, 2013. REUTERS/Ivan Alvarado

A view of a church in Peine, on the edge of the Atacama salt flat, in the Atacama desert of northern Chile, January 9, 2013. REUTERS/Ivan Alvarado

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